The Real Reason Jaime Left Brienne at Winterfell

Warning: The following post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4.

In Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode, titled “The Last of the Starks,” Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth finally delivered on their long-awaited, seasons-long promise of a deeper romantic relationship. But not long after, Jaime took off, breaking Brienne’s heart.

Brienne wasn’t alone—many fans online expressed their displeasure with Jaime’s apparent mistreatment, believing that he was simply returning to Cersei, always more in love with her than anyone else.

but how fucked up is it that poor brienne lost her v card to jamie and he went back to his toxic ex?? turns out even knights fall victim to fuck boys ://

#Jaime proved one classical thing about men in this episode. Literally making #Brienne fall head over heels, have sex and then telling her he will always be more in love with #Cersei. The level of fucboi! Jaime was my favourite character but it was sad to see this Ep. #GOTS8E4 pic.twitter.com/srbWm224ZS

Admittedly, it was rough to watch Jaime tell a crying Brienne of the things that he did for his sister, and was willing to do for his sister. But you might notice that none of the things he said were things he was currently willing to do. Everything was in the past tense.

“You think I’m a good man,” Jaime says. “I pushed a boy out of a tower window, crippled him for life, for Cersei. I strangled my cousin with my own hands, just to get back to Cersei. I would’ve murdered every man, woman, and child in Riverrun, for Cersei. She’s hateful, and so am I.”

That doesn’t sound like someone coming to terms with what he is and embracing it—it sounds like someone full of regret, and ready to do whatever he can to make it right, even if it means the potential end of his life.

When you work for the vast majority of a show to transform a character, as the Game of Thrones team has with Jaime Lannister, it simply doesn’t make sense for the storytelling to suddenly abandon that. If Jaime were simply going back to support his sister, it would entirely diminish everything we’ve seen happen to his character since the moment Catelyn Stark sent him back to King’s Landing. He truly cares about Brienne, which is why he intends to protect her from Cersei’s wrath—and a possible face-off with The Mountain—by making sure she stays behind.

Jaime decides to go back upon learning that Euron Greyjoy ambushed Danaerys, killing the second of her dragons. So how could this be a turning point for him to suddenly decide that he is who he is and he needs to go help his sister? Also, consider the fact that this comes not long after Bronn’s saunter into town, where he learned that his sister has not only tried, once again, to have Tyrion killed, but now has added Jaime to her to-do list.

Jaime knows that there are only a select few people who have the opportunity to get close to Cersei, and he’s one of them. He knows what she’s done, and he knows what she’s capable of. He also knows what it’s like to take out the person sitting on the Iron Throne.

Jaime is aware of what he has to do, and the events of episode 4 might just have been the final straw. With only two episodes left of Game of Thrones, anybody can go, at any time—and for Jaime and Cersei, well, that time’s been coming for quite a while.

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