Guys, every time I see a GIF of Jaime Lannister with tears in his eyes about leaving Brienne, I get verklempt myself. I’m just this ridiculous slew of sleep-deprived feelings today, sigh!!
I didn’t like a lot of the rest of the episode (RIP Theon’s junk and hopefully this entire storyline!) but the Jaime/Brienne stuff was pretty perfect and I think juxtaposed with the other love stories in this episode were truly stunning.
1. “I love you. I love you.” - Farewells
Jaime comes to Brienne to say goodbye, and they both know it’s probably forever, since Roose Bolton is leaving her with Locke and in the best case scenario, which Jaime hopes desperately is true, Locke gets her ransom and sends her back to her father in Tarth. Even if she finds her way back to Catelyn Stark somehow, she and Jaime are on opposite sides of the war, and the chances that this will all end with both of them alive are slender to say the least.
So Jaime comes for one last moment with Brienne, and he can’t tell her what she means to him, how much he respects her, that she’s the only person he’s ever trusted with what happened in King’s Landing, that she made him live when he wanted to die, so he says “I owe you a debt.” Brienne makes Jaime love her more because she wants only this from him: that he helps keep her promises to Catelyn Stark, because she can’t keep them any more. When Jaime swears that he’ll return the Stark girls to their mother, Brienne calls him “Ser Jaime” - and he knows that she believes that he, Kingslayer, oathbreaker, the man without honor, will keep his vows to her. The most honorable person Jaime’s ever met believes in his honor, and he loves her for it. He never needs to say the words; it’s all in his eyes and his face. Brienne can’t give him back his hand, but she’s given him something precious all the same.
2. “I am yours and you are mine. If we die, we die, but first we’ll live.” - The bearpit
I’ve always loved that Jaime is totally confident that Brienne can handle the bear; he only intervenes, as here, when he realizes that she’s essentially unarmed, facing an angry bear with a wooden sword. And his horror and Locke’s glee at the prospect tell you that, although Jaime’s done cruel things, he doesn’t enjoy cruelty the way that men like Locke and Theon’s tormenter do. It might be a small distinction, but it is an important one.
So now Jaime has to act, and he does. Remember when Jaime told Cersei he’d “kill the whole lot of them, until you and I are the only two people left in this world?” Jaime’s an all-or-nothing guy: he jumps into the bear pit, he and Brienne the only two people left in this world encompassed by a tiny circle ringed by enemies and an angry bear. This time, though, instead of killing for his lady, he’s willing to die for her. He has no weapons, no plan, just his body in front of Brienne’s, only his wild gamble that Steelshanks Walton will figure out in time that Jaime needs to live for Walton to get his gold from Tywin Lannister. When he boosts Brienne out of the bear pit, she turns right around to save Jaime in return; they’re a team now and it’s only fitting that her hands pull Jaime out of the pit.
After the rescue, Locke threatens them again; in a visual callback to their capture, Jaime lies at Brienne’s feet. Just as he did when they were captured, Jaime stands and places himself between Locke and Brienne, only now Locke isn’t just an anonymous Bolton bannerman, but the man who mutilated and tormented Jaime, and loved doing it. Yet Jaime still challenges Locke, saying that he’s bringing Brienne to King’s Landing unless Locke wants to kill him. By now, Jaime knows that Walton’s got his back, but still, I think confronting his tormentor and making Locke back down makes Jaime Jaime again. “Sorry about the sapphires!” Ladies and gentlement, the Lannister sass is back!
I missed the wonderful lines from the scene in the book (“I only rescue maidens” and “I dreamed of you”) but I think they don’t fit the more broken Jaime of the TV show, who’s also far more open about his feelings for Brienne. In the books, Jaime, though usually quite honest about himself and his feelings, is clearly very confused about his feelings for Brienne, and a lot of what he actually does for her is masked by what he thinks he’s doing. There’s no mental filter on the show, just the actions we are able to observe, and this is what I observed last night: Jaime is Brienne’s and she is his, and if they die, they die, but first they’ll live, am I right?