Jamie Lannister

From villain to hero: The character development of Jamie Lannister


Kingslayer, oathbreaker, a man without honor – these are the nicknames that Jamie Lannister is constantly called throughout the whole story of Game of Thrones. When somebody mentions the name “Jamie Lannister”, the first thing that comes to mind is that one scene from the very first episode – throwing a kid out of the tower to death so that nobody would discover his and his sister’s dirty secrets. Although the kid didn’t die and Jamie’s actions even helped him to find his real identity and become the Three-eyed-raven, Jamie’s unforgivable actions labeled him as a villain for the audience and this label remained until the last episodes.

However, people adore villains, and Jamie is a kind of a bad guy who has many attractive personality traits and deserves so much affection from GOT fans and not only. People who usually watch the tv series would agree that Jamie’s character is in the list of villains that are loved way more than the heroes. Walter White from Breaking Bad, Steve Harington from Stranger Things, Prince Zuko from Avatar, Ben Linus from Lost, and the list goes on. Jamie takes an honorable place between them. The reason why people like them unconditionally is maybe because they are perfectly written characters and we unconsciously get attracted by their well-developed story. If you are going to read why Jamie Lannister one of the best-written characters in the Game of Thrones and haven’t watched the finale yet, pay attention that there will be SPOILERS ahead.

Meeting with the Kingslayer

We are introduced to Jamie Lannister in Winterfell in episode one, as a queen’s brother. We soon find out that he’s in a secret relationship with her sister, he is involved in the death of the Hand of the King, the only merit he ever had is that he brutally killed his own king. Also, while attempting to escape, he killed his cousin and pushed a young Bran Stark from the rooftop, paralyzing him and didn’t even feel sorry for him. We realized that he was not a man of honor and his arrogant attitude towards the Starks or towards anyone except Cersei, made people consider him a jerk. However, things change in the middle of season 3 and we see how the many difficulties in his life affected his character for good. This is why we can certainly talk about the Post-traumatic growth of Jamie Lannister who ended up saving people, fight for his rivals, and being one of the most decent people of Westeros.

The turning point

Everything started when he was captured by Robb Stark. The proud prince of Lannisters had to face the worst things and situations he could ever imagine. There we find out that a self-centered, arrogant man actually has human feelings and can feel empathy towards a stranger. While being escorted to King’s Landing by Brienne of Tarth, they were captured by the Boldon soldiers. Unexpectedly, he began to worry that Brienne would be raped and humiliated by them and decided to save her. Later, we see that his attempts of saving Brienne were the reason for his biggest loss in – Locke cut off his hand which was Jamie’s main weapon and he was left without a hand forever. Maybe it was the turning point of his character – he had to find a way to continue living, adapt to his new life, and survive. It was something he had never done before.

But the scene after which people actually started loving him was a bathroom scene with Brienne, were Jamie recounted the story of slaying the Mad King and we realized that he had reasons for everything bad he has done. “Tell me, if your precious Renly commanded you to kill your own father and stand by while thousands of men, women, and children burned alive, would you have done it? Would you have kept your oath then?”. Jamie was right. He killed the king to save his father and later, he risked his life and returned to save Brienne. Actually, everything he has ever done was intended for saving his loved ones. We can certainly say that Brienne played a major role in his transformation, making him realize he was a human after all. Turns out that losing his hand and meeting Brienne of Tarth was the biggest turning points in his character storyline.

After returning to King’s landing, he continues doing things for her sister whose actions are wrong and he knows it but things are different. There is a tension between the twins and everybody knows that he isn’t the same. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the sinner turned into a saint – Jaime raped Cersei in season 5, making some of the fans believe that all his progress had eventually disappeared but his character development continued as the writers made him suffer more – he’s son committed suicide, his daughter finally admitted she knew that Jamie was his father but died in his hands eventually. Jamie was finally getting the happiness he deserved but Myrcella’s death broke something in an already broken man. Even Cersei chose her plans over him and after all these things Jamie felt that he didn’t belong to the world he was in. He was feeling down and miserable.

This was the reason why he decided and made a promise to fight for the living. Although in the finale season after leaving Brienne for Cersei people though that the writer’s ruined his character, actually, it may be the right thing to do because we all knew that he always loved Cersei. “Things we do for love” is one of his most common phrases, which is why taking this step and choosing Cersei was something predictable from him.

In conclusion, Jamie had come a long way and was one of the most complicated characters on the show. He was called a man without honor but was the one who saved thousands of lives and died saving his queen. He was an anti-hero, a villain everybody hated but ended up being a hero and one of the most decent characters on the show. Now thanks to Brienne, people of Westeros remember him as a man, a knight, and a hero who was ready to sacrifice everything he had for the ones he loved. Brienne is the one who understands the tragedy he went through in life and gives him a happy ending so that everyone would know he was more than a Kingslayer which proves to us once again how much she still loved him even at the end of the road.


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