Let's Give Jaime Lannister a Hand

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Let's Give Jaime Lannister a Hand

Everyone, let's give Jaime Lannister a hand for helping to preserve Brienne of Tarth's chastity (among other things) on Sunday night's episode of Game of Thrones.



Seriously, people, give him a hand—because he lost one of his when he, in a fashion uncharacteristic of a Lannister, misread an opposing force and, well, choppy-chop:

("...The radius is connected to the...ugh...nothing bone...")

I know, I know, you're thinking it's about time Jaime got something. But, even though the Lannisters are all like

and Cersei and Jaime produced this little twat

you can't help but to, not necessarily compassionate, but understand Jaime's positionality in Westeros and in the eternal "game of thrones" played by all its inhabitants.

Because, as Cersei rightly tells Ned Stark, if you don't play the game of thrones you die—"there is no middle ground." And the Lannisters certainly do know how to play.

Which is why Jaime's EPIC FAIL at misreading his opponents in last night's episode was so...epic. He, much like his siblings, embodies what Machiavelli calls "virtu," not at all virtue, but the unnamable skill one needs to take power and keep it. This skill reflects one's ability to be changeable, or adaptable to the circumstances, as well as one's ability to intuit the situation and reveal (or not) one's cards accordingly.

Jaime succeeded in pursuading the men to not rape and kill Brienne, our Lady of the Butch Cloth, but he fails on his own behalf. Perhaps all that sleeping in the mud and lack of gold armor and a hairbrush has affected him. At any rate, if Jaime survives his hand-cutting, I sense the deepening of their mutual love and respect for one another.

Jaime may be a kingslayer and a defenestrator-of-young-children, but his tenderness towards Brienne reveals a part of his character that complicates the simplistic reading of him as pure "evil" in gold armor. (Note, too, that his treatment of Brienne mirrors his brother Tyrion's rescuing of Littlefinger's woman in Season/Book 2, not to mention Tyrion's respect for women in general—undoubtedly influenced by his father's treatment of his "whore bride" from Season/Book 1.) His relationship with Cersei, too, while cringeworthy to our contemporary standard and Freudian-instilled fear of incest, is genuine, and it explicitly invokes that other scandalous brother-sister real and fierce love in John Ford's notorious 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (~1633). If Jaime had taken a cue from Ford's protagonist Giovanni, a lot more shit would've gone down...believe me.

(Giovanni with his sister/lover's heart; from a 2009 NYC production.)

Lest we mention that incest was a way of keeping the bloodlines pure—a common action occuring throughout the history of kings and queens, and not just in Westeros....

(King Philip IV of Spain looks kinda like a Lannister, no?)

Humans are complicated and morality is relative, and cultural (aka "cultural relativism). Sorry, it is. Game of Thrones, especially with characters like Jaime Lannister, make this seemingly unappealing fact abundantly clear.

So, let's give it up for Jaime—because who knows how long he'll be around to receive our applause.