lunes, 24 de junio de 2013

Jaime Lannister, or how to love a bad guy.

2 comentarios

Let me start by saying there are SPOILERS all over this post, because, frankly, you cannot really talk about Jaime Lannister’s transformation without spoiling the books a little bit. The series just hasn’t given us enough yet. It starts with the hand, yes, but it’s so much more than that. There’s just so much more to Jamie, stuff we only get to really see when we finally get a POV from him, from Book 3 onwards. Stuff that made him go from one of the most hated characters in the books to a definite fan favorite, as we wait for Book 6. So, bear with me as I try to explain why Jaime Lannister is the perfect example of redemption done right in literature. 

I have many issues with George R.R Martin, and I’m still convinced that we won’t get anything that resembles a happy ending at the end of this saga. He’s got, in my humble opinion, too many characters and a plot that’s so encompassing it’s hard to keep track of. But the guy also has his strengths, and, despite the fact that the “redemption” trope has been done to death, I think that the character of Jaime Lannister is one of them.

He’s nothing but a token bad guy when we first meet him. His family, after all, comprises many of the stories “bad guys.” Tyrion has, at least, the advantage of being amusing. Jaime is just there. He’s not as smart as his father, not as manipulative as his sister, and not nearly as entertaining as his brother. He’s just another bad guy.

Well, at least until Bran catches him with Cersei. 

He becomes more than a token bad guy then, more than the Kingslayer, more than the guy sleeping with his sister, more than the ever-confident knight with the snide remarks. He dispenses with the theory that this book will be just another fantasy novel, and he becomes someone you hate.

Which is why Jaime Lannister ends up being such a surprise. 

It starts out slowly. In every interaction with Brienne. In his obvious respect for her. In the way that he lies to make sure she is not harmed. Later, after his hand is lost, it gets harder to conjure up the hate. A part of you wants him to just die, but Brienne doesn’t want that, and you end up agreeing with her. You root for him. You want him to get to King’s Landing, help free Sansa. He’s still not a hero, but he’s not at the top of your villains list, not anymore.

And then, he jumps into a bear-pit. And you can’t help but look at him the same way Brienne is looking at him. With wonder. With a twinge of affection. Because this man, who you’ve been hating for so long, has turned out to be nothing like what you thought he was. He’s turned out to be much more honorable.

And, yes, he’s still got issues. He still makes the wrong choices. But, in a way, that makes you like him more. Because now he realizes it. Now he wants to change. And, by the time Book 5 rolls around and Brienne is back, standing there, in front of him, you’re rooting for him. For the guy he’s become. The one who turned his back on Cersei. The one who tried, as best as he could, to keep his oaths.  

Some people see the relationship between Jaime and Brienne as a romantic one. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. In the end, what no one can deny is that, sometimes, the right person can change you. And, though, that, is a tried and true concept in fantasy, the way George R.R Martin gives us Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer and what he ends up becoming (and what he still has a chance to become), feels right. Feels new. It feels like, maybe, Jaime was right when he said: “There are no men like me. There’s only me.”

2 comentarios:

  1. So if I'm reading the signs right, he's fodder for the crows and ravens in the next book, right?

  2. I think he's doomed, but, then again, Martin delights in doing the exact opposite of what I think, so who knows, maybe he'll end up Lord of Casterly Rock, marry Brienne and live happily ever after.

    But ...I doubt it.


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