I'm part of a UK-based Game of Thrones spoiler group on Facebook which was started by one of Paul's friends, and this morning one of the members linked an Esquire article which was basically 50 questions about the last episode (two mentions of the Coffee Cup, obviously.) One of those questions was akin to "Why are we supposed to be invested in Jaime and Brienne's relationship when their whole arc lasted all of two minutes?"
Hold up a second. Imma let you finish but I need to 'splain you a thing.
"If you think this has a
It is baffling to me, that people can have watched the entire show to this point and still not picked up on the fact that Jaime and Brienne has been slow-burning since season 3. Not only that, it's one of those rare-but-precious pairings where the off-screen chemistry/friendship between the actors makes the on-screen chemistry even better. (God, I really was doomed this time, wasn't I?) I have only ever seen GIF's of cast interviews, but Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are always interviewed together, as a double-act, or seated next to each other for group Q&A's. The cast of this show is MASSIVE, by this point almost a family, but these two are always together like a pair of trouble-making siblings. Plus there's that whole thread I RT'd on Twitter of him gazing at her with full hearteyes all the damn time even when they're not in character.
It is especially baffling, after all we were given in the second episode of this season, that people still didn't pick up on what was going on. How on earth can anyone watch that knighting scene and NOT interpret it as a metaphor for their feelings for each other? In fact, how can anyone watch the two of them together at all and not see what's in their faces? I mean, I know we shippers are crazy and rewatch every tiny moment to micro-analyse it, and NCW is a subtle GENIUS when it comes to face-acting and it can sometimes take a second viewing to fully appreciate that, but there have been occasions where it's been obvious even without the need to scour it with a fine-toothed comb. That moment immediately post-knighting, for example, when they're just gazing at each other. Are people blind, or just wilfully ignorant because of latent misogyny?
(Actually, don't answer that.)
This is why I'm in two minds as to how this will pan out. I am absolutely terrified that the writers will have called this arc done and just leave it as it stands, because they've reached the natural "conclusion" of both of Brienne's character arcs and Jaime's heading off to conclude his, but part of me strongly wants to believe that they won't. There was a really great bit yesterday on Thronecast (sidebar, I love that Sue Perkins gets paid to be a fangirl - best. job. ever.) where they compared Arya's training with Syrio Forel to her crowning moment of taking out the Night King, to show the journey she'd taken and how important Forel's training was. The foreshadowing in that can't be purely coincidental and it's not the first or only time they've done it.
I already complained that there wasn't enough call-backs between Jaime and Brienne (there was a bit in the drinking game but nothing we could really get our teeth into), and this is partially why I believe there will be more to come. There's two episodes left but they're good at cramming a lot in. As I stated in my last entry, all of the cast have filmed in Croatia for this season so that means Brienne is going south. NCW has apparently shared pics of where he filmed his final scenes and they look a LOT like Tarth, and he's commented on acting opposite someone he's never acted with before (so, Selwyn?).
I have been fearful of Brienne and/or Jaime dying since episode 2. Then they unexpectedly survived the third episode when the writers had every opportunity to kill either or both of them in another shock execution, because they're good at that. Then we had episode 4, and I'm focusing less here on the BTWP and the painful break-up and more on the feast scenes and the obvious chemistry between the characters. It seems antithetical, to me, for that to be the end of things, after the journey we've taken to reach this point.
I'm saying this particularly in light of Jaime's speech and the fact that no mention was made of the things he's done / not done because of Brienne, which include but are not limited to: saving her from being raped and losing his hand for it, the bath scene at Harrenhall where he reveals the story behind King Aerys (I mean FFS, it's like a MAJOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT MOMENT, two-minute arc my arse), jumping into a bear pit with one hand and no weapon to save her, the gifting of the armour and sword, NOT massacring Riverrun because she asked him nicely about it, and eventually heading north to fight for the living after Cersei broke her promise. (And then everything which happens AFTER he gets north.)
There's room for his redemption to include Brienne in a way that doesn't involve him clumsily breaking her heart so she doesn't mourn him when he dies, is all I'm saying. His approach to this whole thing is very black-and-white, because OBVIOUSLY she's going to mourn him even if she still hates him a bit for what he did, because she's loved him for years and probably predicted this would happen on some level but allowed herself to let him in anyway. I think it says a lot for how Jaime is built in terms of black and white / good and bad / light and dark. There are no grey areas for him, only polar opposites, which take the form of Brienne and Cersei. The fact that he can now make a conscious switch from good to bad indicates that he actually understands this about himself more than he ever has before; he knows that he needs to become "bad Jaime" in order to do the right thing, but he can't see that it's "good Jaime" who's made that decision in the first place.
(JESUS, what is it with me and my angsty boys? Trope hard or go home, I guess.)
And the point is, if he's reached a point of being consciously aware of that inner dichotomy to the degree that he can control it, that suggests he can overcome it. Even if Cersei dies, even if he's the one to do it, he will never be totally free of her, because he's going to have trauma after all those years of abuse and toxicity. Jaime's redemption is about more than him becoming "a good man" or doing "the right thing", it's about him finding peace with those two very different parts of himself and being able to live with them both. A month of happy solitude with Brienne is sadly not enough to undo the damage Cersei has done, and part of me hopes that after she's had time to grieve and process she will actually understand that and BLOODY WELL GO AFTER HIM. And hopefully slap some sense into him.
So yes, thank you Esquire online for giving me some sliver of hope via your reduction of this relationship to what your White Male Sensibilities interpreted it as, now go back into your cave.
I feel like I'm screaming into a void right now but I'm still having fun. :P