Jaime Lannister’s arc was controversial in Game of Thrones’ final season, and George R.R. Martin’s original plan could’ve changed that.
Jaime Lannister’s character arc was controversial in Game of Thrones‘ final season, and George R.R. Martin’s original plan could’ve changed that. In 2015, George R.R. Martin’s original 1993 outline for his A Song of Ice and Fire series made its way around the internet in a letter written by the author. The letter had several plot threads that were later abandoned, including an Arya love triangle with Jon Snow. However, some elements of the original outline survived to make it into Martin’s finished story, including the threat of the White Walkers and Daenerys invading Westeros to claim the throne.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Jaime Lannister was a controversial figure in Game of Thrones‘ final season. Throughout the series, Jaime constantly struggled with his romantic love for his sister, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). And it appeared that he finally left her in the Game of Thrones season 7 finale, heading to Winterfell to help in the fight against the White Walkers. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long in the final season. The White Walker threat was over in episode 3, and by episode 4, Jaime was on his way back to be with his sister. He later died after getting crushed by stones along with Cersei. It was a strange ending for a character with one of the most complicated arcs in the entire series, and it received significant criticism.
Though fans didn’t love how Jaime’s story ends in Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin’s original outline could’ve saved it. In the outline, Martin reveals that Jaime has other objectives besides his sister. In the original story, Jaime would’ve followed his son Joffrey on the Iron Throne, killing all those in the line of succession ahead of him. It’s an abrupt left turn from the character’s story in HBO’s Game of Thrones, which could’ve helped Jaime’s character development in the series.
By including other motivations, Jaime would feel more like a real person. Unfortunately, Jaime’s motivations in Game of Thrones are somewhat one-note. Over seven seasons, the character appeared to evolve to the point where he could walk away from a toxic relationship with his sister; however, the final season throws that all away when he runs back to her. But if Jaime had other motivations besides Cersei, such as seeking to rule Westeros himself or having a secret yearning for power, the character’s sudden need to abandon Winterfell and go to King’s Landing would make more sense. After all, leaving Cersei was supposed to be a big moment for Jaime. By having him go back, it diminishes a pivotal season 7 scene.
Though George R.R. Martin’s outline is drastically different from his final books, the novels also don’t feature Jaime running back to Cersei. In Martin’s novels, Jaime doesn’t want to sit upon the Iron Throne; however, he also doesn’t appear to want to go to Cersei’s aid anytime soon. In A Feast For Crows, Martin’s fourth novel in his series, Jaime even burns a letter from Cersei asking him to be her champion in a trial by combat. Since Game of Thrones ultimately made Jaime go back to Cersei, the series seemed to erase his previous journey in the show. However, providing him with a lust for power could’ve added more depth to the character’s season 8 decision.
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