I haven't posted on this blog in a zillion, because I have spent the last eight months or so relocating our family to a small farmette in Southern Oregon and painting and planting and fixing... and that was after the selling and the buying and the packing and the moving and there was even a blizzard.
WINTER WAS HERE, Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But I had to write this and I had to park it somewhere, so here it is.
Please note -- I have loved Jaime and Brienne since season 2. Season 3 made me really happy, and then every scene after that paired the two of them together was like icing on the cake. So. That's a thing you know now. But I loved Game of Thrones.... LOVED IT. And I'm working past the sour taste in my mouth from episode 5, but I wanted to post this before tonight's final episode.
Oh, and I also did not spend a lot of real estate here talking about why sending Jaime back to his sister just so he can die with her in the dungeon of the Red Keep was completely out of character for the Jaime of Season 8, so step off with that noise. Head to Twitter to find my thoughts on that, because I've had a rough week over there.
These are my thoughts on the final season of the Game of Thrones and how I think it should have ended. Fight me. (I'm kidding... everyone can think what they want. It's just a TV show. Anywhooooo...)
At the end of season 7, I watched in horror as Cersei very nearly gave the Mountain the order to kill Jaime. It was *right there* – she was pissed, super pissed, that he had once again taken Tyrion’s side and he wasn’t falling in line behind her. She hated it when Jaime thought for himself, but that’s no surprise – she’d spent their lives belittling him, telling him he was the stupidest Lannister, using him, lying to him, manipulating him, even using sex when they were old enough. Her nature was evil, and the only thing in her world she could control was Jaime. She was the abuser and he was her victim. Yes, men can be victims too. Deal with it.
The Lannister family had an evil streak in it – I mean, just in the show it was in Tywin, then Cersei, and then Joffrey. All evil to their core. Jaime, Mycella, Tommen, various cousins we met – they didn’t have that streak, but it’s important to note that their personalities were seen as weak by the other half of the family – people who despised anything that appeared less than. That’s why Cersei was able to walk all over Jaime for years, because she was the dominant one. It wasn’t because they were twins – that’s just what she told him to keep him in line. Which leads me to her ultimate lie – that she was pregnant.
I believe she just thought she was pregnant. Or maybe she was and lost the baby after he left. Maybe she was sliding into perimenopause… that can happen in a woman’s 40s, and when that starts, your periods stop being regular. But in order for her to even think she was pregnant, she would have had to have missed at least one period, maybe two to be sure – and that put her at 3 months pregnant at the end of season 7.
(NOTE: End of Season 7, Cersei is around 3 months pregnant)
(ALSO IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: Everyone forgets that time passing has never been shown well on the show – it takes a FULL MONTH to travel from King’s Landing to Winterfell ON A GOOD JOURNEY.)
Jaime left King’s Landing at the end of season 7 (THANK THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW), and it took him at least a month to get to Winterfell, and I would argue it took him even longer, because – he was alone. He had no squire, probably no money – he was nearly beheaded in the map room of the Red Keep, so at the end of season 7, he fucking ran. (And that was the MOST BEAUTIFUL SCENE EVER – the sight of Jaime Lannister on a horse, above King’s Landing as the snow flurries fell, riding off guided by one thing – his need to get back to Brienne. I cheered, I cried. Run, Jaime, run!!!)
Anyway, Jaime only had his horse and sword. He had no wagon of supplies, no food, no water. So, even if it took him a full month to make the journey, what was he eating? He would have been needing to hunt EVERY DAY just to eat. Not just hunt, but build a fire, cook, figure out where to sleep, take care of his daily needs. There were various pubs to eat at and rooms to rent to sleep in along the way (Hi, Hot Pie!) – but would he have been able to do that? The Kingslayer? Traveling the King’s Road as war was imminent? He would have been noticed. That was not an easy journey and it still took FOREVER when you have squires and soldiers and wagons of food and supplies, none of which Jaime had.
801 -- Jaime rides into Winterfell’s courtyard at the end of episode 801. Bran’s waiting for him. Online, people made jokes about how someone forget to bring Bran inside, but he was obviously waiting for someone, “an old friend.” (Of course, someone pointed out to me that if Bran knew Jaime was coming, he would have known WHEN he was coming, so why did Bran sit in the courtyard for a week or however long he was out there? But, whatever… marking time is not one of D&D’s strengths. They really need to use a big white board or something.)
(SIDE NOTE -- My heart melted at the sight of Jaime Lannister riding into Winterfell’s courtyard. My thought was, “He made it! He’s free!! Finally!”)
802 – Jaime came to Winterfell because that’s where Brienne was. End of story. Had Brienne traveled to Tarth or Dorne or wherever, he would have gone there. But he knew Brienne was at Winterfell, and he knew she was planning on fighting the army of the dead, and he had to go to her and fight with her to defend of the innocent – BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT A KNIGHT DOES. And the only thing that Jaime ever wanted to be was a knight. He never wanted to be king, he wanted to be a knight in the king’s guard. He’d once told his father that he never had any intention of marrying, which was why he joined the king’s guard, but all of that had changed after he met Brienne in season 2 and fell in love with her in season 3.
Yes, I will die on this hill, so suck it.
Episode 2 was lovely – I should have rewatched it again before writing this, but I’ll just go off my warm fuzzies and tell their tale anyway as I remember it.
Jaime was brought before Dany, Sansa and Jon, because they had to figure out what to do with the Kingslayer who had fallen into their lap for some reason. He gives them the bad news – Cersei is not sending any soldiers to fight the Night King’s army. Dany is pissed at Tyrion, because he had assured her his sister was. Sansa was still angry with Jaime because he fought with Ned in season 1, and everything that season culminated in Joffrey killing Ned for treason – big picture: the Lannisters killed Sansa’s father. But Dany also has a big problem with Jaime, because he actually did kill her father, the Mad King.
(And that leads me to a side beef with D&D – nowhere in any episode, and it should have happened in that episode, did Dany ask Jaime why. Why did he kill her father? Because we knew why – because the Mad King had been planning on using wildfire and blowing up King’s Landing. Jaime didn’t want half a million innocent people to die, so he killed the king. Done. It seems that Dany might have, I don’t know, ASKED HIM why the reason was…. Because he would have told her. In fact, telling her WHY he killed her insane, murderous father, might have saved lives in King’s Landing. Maybe Dany would have thought, “Oh, shit…. I don’t want to be just like my father.” But maybe not. Whatever. Moving on.)
But Brienne is at this trial of sorts. She’s listening to all of this and soon can’t stay silent. She stands and addresses Sansa and Dany, telling them that she supports Jaime, she trusts him with her life, and that she would fight by his side any day. The look on Jaime’s face is relief mixed with admiration and love. He knew she was going out on a limb to save his bacon, which is good, because we all love Jaime’s bacon too. But even if they’d decided to execute him right then and there, he would’ve died happy because he knew at that moment that there was at least one person in the entire world who believed in him, loved him, thought of him as a good and honorable man – the only thing he ever wanted to be, had he not grown up in the toxic hot mess that was his childhood home.
After Brienne says her piece, Sansa is convinced. She trusts Brienne more than anyone in the world, and so Brienne’s words are enough for her and she wants to let Jaime stay. Dany asks Jon what he thinks, and he says they need every man they can get. So, thankfully, Dany lets Jaime stay, even though she’s not happy about it.
Brienne and Jaime in episode 2 are a thing of beauty. The scene where he and Tyrion are talking up on one of the walkways, Tyrion is joking about coming back to life and going to King’s Landing to kill Cersei himself – but all Jaime can hear is Brienne in the distance coaching the sword practice below. He is drawn to the other side of the walkway, sees her below – taller than any man in the yard. She’s amazing, magnificent. We all love Brienne so much because she is just that outstanding. (Thank you, Gwendoline Christie, for bringing her to life for us!!! You are loved!)
He can’t stay on the wall. He appears in the yard at her side, talking to her about the upcoming fight, the soldiers, whatever – while she’s getting agitated because she’s waiting for him to insult her, since that has always been their thing. But he’s done with that. He’s done with teasing her, insulting her, making little jabs at her for whatever reason… he wants her. He wants to be with her, wherever that ends up.
Because this kind of honesty is new to them, he places their relationship in terms of the upcoming battle. He says, “I came to Winterfell because…” and then pauses. He can’t quite say, “Because you were here,” so he says he came to fight under her leadership… and she accepts that. He even admitted that his skills were not up to speed anymore since he lost his right hand – he’d told others that, too. His left arm just never gained the same accuracy, his instincts were off. (I was worried about him at this point and didn’t really want him fighting in the battle at all, but…)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s amazing long glances and the love just pouring out of his eyes every time Jaime looked at Brienne was my undoing during this episode. Toward the end we had the amazing scene of them sitting around the fire, on what they were all sure was their last night on Earth. First Jaime and Tyrion were there (I’m SO GLAD Tyrion and Jaime were together at Winterfell, more on that later), and then Brienne and Podrick walked in. Jaime practically falls getting up so fast, “My lady…” Tyrion’s looking at him like, “Who are you?”
Jaime gets her a chair, encourages her to stay by the fire. Tormund comes in and does his usual slobbering in Brienne’s direction, but she’s not having it, and Jaime actually looks pretty relaxed, like, “I win over that man.” ROFL I wasn’t even picking up any jealous vibes there – Jaime was feeling pretty secure at this point, which made sense because of everything he and Brienne had been through. He knew her. Like, really knew her. And he’d told her things he’d never told anyone else. He knew Tormund didn’t even know her at all, that they hadn’t shared anything in this life, and that Brienne was not stupid enough to be flattered by a slobbering drunk Wildling (no offense to Tormund – I love his character, but Brienne just doesn’t, and that’s okay.)
All of this is leading to what Jaime does – he knights Brienne. He takes out his sword, she kneels, and he knights her. It was magical.
“In the name of the warrior, I charge you to be brave. In the name of the father, I charge you to be just. In the name of the mother, I charge you to defend the innocent. Arise, Brienne of Tarth, knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”
After that, Brienne truly smiled for the first time and it was GORGEOUS!!!
803 – the Battle of Winterfell
This episode was so intense for me, because I had no idea who would still be alive on the other side. Because I subscribe to HBO through Amazon Prime, I can watch it at 6 p.m., because I’m on the West Coast. (WOO!) So, at 6:01, I grabbed my Kindle Fire and ran into the darkest room in my house and watched the entire thing with a clenched stomach. I really did have a stomachache when it was over, but the bottom line is, Jaime and Brienne survived the battle!
They started the battle side-by-side facing the enemy outside the walls of Winterfell. They fought side-by-side as they found themselves up on a battlement, fighting back-to-back, saving each other numerous times, and ended the battle inside the castle, backs against a wall, fighting the endless onslaught of the dead, right next to their lovely son Podrick, who also survived the battle. *whew*
They survived. THEY SURVIVED!!! I was so happy!!!!
Before this episode aired, people online predicted that Brienne would die because “her arc was finished, she was a knight, so dying in battle is the only thing she wanted…” Uh, no. That was not the only thing she wanted. I answered back, “Her arc is not done – has she slept with Jaime? No.” People told me that would never happen.
804 – The battle is over, everyone is in the main room eating and drinking and celebrating the fact that they lived. This scene is one of my favorites in the entire series --- Jamie and Tyrion are sitting at a table across from Brienne and Podrick, heads bent over food and wine, laughing, talking, telling stories, teasing each other. It was magical.
At first, Brienne refused the wine. Jamie put his hand on hers and told her that it was the perfect time to drink, because they fought death and won. She drinks. They get merry. It’s beautiful. They’re playing Tyrion’s “Truth? Then Drink” game, and it’s hilarious. At one point, we get a shot of them from Dany’s POV… a clear shot of Tyrion and Jaime laughing over something, and it was magical! I was SO GLAD that they got this time together at Winterfell!!
For probably the first time, Jaime and Tyrion were able to let their guards down and just enjoy hanging out as brothers – drinking, telling tales… no King’s Landing, no court, no Cersei, no whores, no governing, just them and their friends rejoicing that they were still alive. The brothers deserved that time together after so many years of defending each other, secretly meeting just to freaking TALK to each other, ugh…. Growing up with Tywin and Cersei and even Joffrey hovering over them had to have been exhausting. Jaime and Tyrion were never allowed to be friends at any time in their ENTIRE LIVES – they always had their roles to play, they always had Cersei busting up their relationship. See? EXHAUSTING.
Winterfell allowed them to just be brothers. (Oh, that reminds me of the funniest line from episode 2 when Tyrion and Jaime were standing up on the wall… they’re looking into the courtyard below and Tyrion says something like, “So… we’re going to die… at Winterfell.” As in, “See how far the Lannister brothers have fallen.” ROFL So hilarious.)
So Tyrion’s game was still going on, when Tyrion’s turn comes up. He’s staring at Brienne, squints his eyes, and says very soberly, “You’re a virgin.” Jaime immediately jumps to her defense, claiming that it’s in the past and that’s not how you play. Tyrion amends what he says, but is still saying that Brienne has never made love to a man… or a woman.
Podrick immediately takes a drink of wine because he knows something’s about to happen. Brienne’s done with the game, because she’s embarrassed, and stands to leave. Tormund is there, blocking her path, but she demands he moves, and she walks away. Before Tormund can even think about following her, Jaime is up, blocking him, and Jaime goes after Brienne. Finally.
She’s in her room, freaking out, he’s at the door with two cups and a bottle of Dornish drink. He tells her she never drank to the truth, and those are the rules. He complains the room is hot and starts taking his jacket off, then tries to untie his shirt. Brienne wants him, we know this, Jaime wants her, which we also know, but watching them fumble their way through the scene, through the wine and the heat of the room and the stupid shirts that don’t want to come undone – the relief of them finally kissing just sent my heart soaring! BOOM! THAT’S what I’m talking about!!!!
But this is where the story shown in the show is lost on me, after this, it was like the writers just freaking gave up on Jaime and Brienne and everything they’d been building since SEASON THREE.
So, that’s why I’m going to just write my own ending here, because since D&D had no source material to go off of, and GRRMartin had stepped back from the show, letting them do what they want (since they were doing that anyway), what they produced for HBO was nothing short of the own incest-obsessed fanfiction. That means any of us can write our own fanfiction and it’s all valid. When (if) George ever finishes the books, we’ll see what he has to say, but until then … this is Cynthia’s version of events.
(NOTE – this is just a narrative, not full-on fanfiction with setting and dialog…. I’m just wanting to get this down in order to outline what I think would have made sense, but I’m also trying to get this out before the final episode airs tonight… so this is all off the cuff, just a mishmash of the thoughts that have been running through my head during these last few episodes. I may forget characters you think are important, but that’s only because I have my own key characters that I care about and so they are my focus. Hi, Braime stan here.)
The best part about episode 4 is that Jaime and Brienne finally get together in a real, adult relationship. This was a first for BOTH of them… Brienne was a virgin who’d been teased her entire life, Jaime had only ever been with his awful sister who’d spent their lives talking down to him, lying to him, manipulating him – ugh, I can’t stand what Cersei did to Jaime.
Anyway, people online were making one-night stand jokes, but they were living together in Winterfell for weeks. The night after the battle when he walked into her room and they made love for the first time was just the first night of many. He essentially moved in with her at that point, it was in the open, everyone knew, Jaime and Tyrion had a whole conversation where Jaime even pointed out it was time for Tyrion to flip him some shit about it, but Tyrion was genuinely happy for his brother – finally, Jaime was HAPPY.
JAIME WAS HAPPY.
Where I would have gone with this –
Dany and company head to King’s Landing on ships (Dany rides her dragon, I guess, whatever), while the armies prepare to walk to King’s Landing.
REMEMBER – walking to King’s Landing takes at least one full month. Oh, let’s also check on how pregnant Cersei should be by now – 3 months pregnant at the end of season 7, Jaime rode to Winterfell (five weeks?), prepared to fight the army of the dead (two weeks?), fought the dead, recovered from fighting the dead (two weeks?), and everyone prepared to head to King’s Landing…. Conservatively, that adds another… (doing time math) over two months, especially since Jaime, Arya, and the Hound all head to King’s Landing at about the same time, and traveling back to King's landing adds ANOTHER four weeks....
That’s at nearly seven months since Jaime left King’s Landing, and Cersei would definitely be showing. But it the show, when Dany arrives – Cersei is not six or seven months pregnant. Lena Headey is a very slim woman and she would have definitely had a baby bump. My theory on this is that Cersei either lost the baby or mistook perimenopause for being pregnant, and so there you go. No baby. No Jaime baby, no Urine squid.
Back to my thoughts: Jaime does leave Brienne – for one reason – he wants her to stay in Winterfell so that she stays safe, because he knows what he’s about to do is a suicide mission. The thing about Jaime is, he loves the man he is with when he is with Brienne, but he DESPISES the man he was when he was with Cersei. And that makes sense, because he was Cersei’s pawn and punching bag in the show and in the books, and he’d finally broken out of that bullshit cycle. Good for Jaime!
His plan is to go to King’s Landing to get Cersei off the throne, because he knows she has to go. Maybe he wants her safely out of there, maybe he doesn’t care – all he knows is the only way to fully squash his past is by ending Cersei’s reign so he (and the Seven Kingdoms) can start a new life. He rides away. Arya and the Hound have left Winterfell also.
Sansa, who is already upset over losing Theon, finds out Jon is going south too, and she is terrified for him. Brienne is worried for Jaime, then they realize Arya is gone as well, and they assume she’s headed south to kill the queen. Sansa and Brienne head to King’s Landing together to at least try and save the people they love and somehow keep the peace, or at least pick up the pieces. Bran is the Stark left in Winterfell, even though he tries to tell people he’s not Bran anymore. Shut up, Bran, and just watch the place for a second, okay? The adults have things to do.
(The problem with how it played out on TV was there was no actual showdown rich with that dialog that the show was famous and beloved for. There was only dragon fire and screams. I wanted these characters who haven’t seen each other in years to meet face to face and have it out once and for all. So… back to my thoughts…)
In King’s Landing, Cersei is in the Red Keep with Qyburn and the Mountain. Jon and his troops are outside somewhere. The bells have rung, and the Golden Company has surrendered. While Jon and Dany are outside, inside the throne room or the tower, Jaime and Brienne step into the room with Sansa behind. Twin swords drawn, Jaime asks Cersei to surrender while Brienne backs him up. Cersei doesn’t surrender, but it’s because she is only focused on one thing – Jaime and Brienne together, facing her, and Sansa’s regal stare coming from between their shoulders would have been an added bonus for me.
The reason I thought FOR SURE Jaime and Brienne would make it to King’s Landing together was this – the ONLY THING in the entire world that would absolutely KILL Cersei was for her to see Jaime in love with someone else. That’s it. Jaime was the only thing in her life she was ever able to fully control, and so her seeing them together, really together, that would be the event that would flip that switch in her brain and she would just wig the fuck out.
Maybe she says something sarcastic about them, about Brienne, something designed to hurt Jaime. Maybe she said something snide about how she would prefer Sansa on the throne to that “dragon rider whore” – but she’s backed against a corner and knows it. She would know it’s over for her – no children, no Jaime, no family, and there were armies in the streets of King’s Landing who were ready to take her off the throne.
Also, when Jaime sees her – he notices she’s not pregnant at all. Yet another lie, which he points out. In fact, this would be a good time for him to air some grievances with her in general – “you never loved me, you don’t even know what love is, because now I do, and I’m telling you what we had was not love…”
Cersei gets MEGA pissed and tells the Mountain to kill Brienne… “Let’s see how you like that, brother… the blood of your beloved whore washing across the floor of the Red Keep.” Blah blah blah. The Mountain squares off to go after Brienne, and of course Jaime’s having none of that and steps in to also fight against the Mountain. Cersei smiles, knowing that her undead bodyguard won’t die as easily as a normal man, and she’s willing to sacrifice Jaime as long as Brienne dies too.
What she doesn’t notice is that Tyrion is there. Maybe he steps out from behind Sansa. Maybe he was in the corridor listening to everything that was said. But he is there, with a knife, and satisfies the Little Brother prophecy when he stabs his sister to death.
The Mountain is visibly shook when he realizes what just happened, just in time for Arya and the Hound to bust in. The Hound, Brienne and Jaime take the Mountain down. Cersei’s reign is over.
Now… what to do about the throne?
Let’s see… those present in the Red Keep are Brienne and Jaime, Arya and the Hound, Sansa and Qyburn. Wait, someone would have killed Qyburn because he was such a weasley little prick. So, he’s dead too.
But, while all of this was going on, Jon and Dany and Davos and Grey Worm, etc. have had time to make it through the city and to the Red Keep (or the throne room, whatever). (Notice – I don’t have Dany and Drogon destroying the city and killing literally THOUSANDS of innocent lives, because that was FUCKING STUPID.)
So now there’s much talking and posturing and whatnot --- but essentially, it’s Jon’s throne. Dany does not have a claim to it. Sansa and Arya stand together, flanked with the Hound on one side and Jaime and Brienne on the other. They now all know that Dany doesn’t have a claim to the throne, and she is pissed about that. Jon and Tyrion are watching this all go down… then Tyrion stands with his brother. This enrages Dany and she orders Grey Worm and whoever else she brought with her to kill them all. Wicked sword fight breaks out, but the Starks have too many excellent fighters on their side and they easily slay Dany’s fighters, including Grey Worm.
At this point, I don’t really care what happens with Dany – I would be happy if she popped outside and flew off on her dragon, or Arya could kill her. Either way, she knows she lost. Check that, she’d probably have to die. I don’t think she’d ever understand that she isn’t winning this one.
Now Cersei is out of the way, Dany is out of the way, Jon is the king.
Jon, however, doesn’t want to be king. He tells an assembled mass of citizens that he thinks that because he is half Targaryan and half Stark, his child by any wife would be Starks as much as Targaryan – so let the ruling family from this day forward be the Stark family.
And he believes that the best Stark to lead the Seven Kingdoms is Sansa Stark.
Everybody cheers their new queen.
Jon returns to Winterfell to rule the North after asking Tormund to bring Ghost back to him. Arya and Davos and the Hound are now free to do whatever they want. Tyrion and Sansa marry (again) and rule together, reunifying House Stark and House Lannister forever. Jaime and Brienne marry, split their time between Casterly Rock and the Sapphire Isle, and raise ten amazing beautiful, blond children who all grow up to be the greatest swordsmen/women Westeros has ever seen.
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