Falling for a Game of Thrones couple is like asking for heartbreak, but that hasn’t stopped fans from pledging an oath to stand by the star-crossed duo that is Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth. They’ve come a long way since their journey through the Riverlands. In fact, they’ve come so far that Brienne now carries a Valyrian steel sword that he gave her on her hip. That sword, Oathkeeper, seems destined to come into play in season seven . . . but not in the way we might hope. We suspect Brienne is going to kill Jaime before the season ends, and shatter everyone’s hearts in the process — but it might be because Jaime leaves her with no other choice.
The Kingslayer, aka Jaime, is in an impossible situation. Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne after burning the Great Sept of Baelor to the ground. She hasn’t earned the title of the Mad Queen just yet, but she’s well on her way. Meanwhile, Tyrion is serving as Hand to Daenerys, who very much wants to take the Iron Throne from Cersei. This won’t be the first time Jaime has been torn between his two siblings, but this situation is far more fraught than anything that has come before. The Lannister family is hopelessly fractured, and no matter which way Jaime turns, he stands to betray someone he loves.
Enter Brienne. The Lady of Tarth is all about keeping her oaths, and she reminds the Kingslayer in season six that she will defend Sansa and her kin, no matter what. Her honor will compel her to fight Jaime if they ever meet in battle. Currently, Brienne is at Winterfell with the Starks, far from the looming battle for the Iron Throne, but if Jon allies himself with Daenerys in hopes of her bringing her army north to fight the White Walkers, all that could change.
We suspect Brienne is going to finally see some battlefield action, and when she does, she’s going to reunite with a bitter and broken Jaime, fighting for a cause he doesn’t really believe in. Stubborn as he is, Jaime will give his Lady of Tarth no choice but to fulfill her vow to protect Sansa and her family. Queue the sound of thousands of hearts breaking as Brienne plunges Oathkeeper into Jaime’s heart.
Before you dissolve into tears, let’s examine all of the breadcrumbs the show has dropped foretelling this distressing ending over the past six seasons.
“We Don’t Get to Choose Who We Love”
Not long after their first meeting, Jaime tells Brienne you can’t choose who you love. His words resonate much later when it becomes clear that she loves the Kingslayer. Even Cersei can see that Brienne is smitten with her brother. In his own way, it seems Jaime loves Brienne, too, but he can’t disentangle himself from Cersei. His love for his sister drives him to do terrible things, including shoving an innocent little boy out of tower window. Now it’s going to compel him to stay by her side as Westeros burns around them.
Jaime isn’t the same man he once was, but it’s hard to imagine him giving up on Cersei, no matter how dark her reign becomes. At the same time, Jaime can’t kill his little brother to save his sister. Love is going to doom Jaime, because it’s been driving his actions his entire life. The season seven trailer shows the knight charging across a fiery battlefield in what looks to be a suicide mission. While HBO sneakily doesn’t show what he’s charging toward, it’s a safe bet that Daenerys’s vast army is on the other side, and if she allies herself with the Starks, at least a few of Jon’s heavy-hitters will be fighting for her — that would include Brienne.
The moment Jaime gives Brienne the sword his father has forged for him is loaded with meaning. In a metaphorical sense, Oathkeeper is Jaime’s honor, and Brienne is keeping it safe. Given the position he’s currently in, Jaime is sure to find himself once again compromising his values for a questionable monarch this season. And, it’s important to note, when Brienne and Jaime reunite in season six, he refuses to take the sword back. He tells her, “It’s yours. It will always be yours.”
Of course, this portentous exchange leads to Brienne reminding him that if they should ever meet in battle, she will be compelled to fight him. She’s sworn to Sansa, and he’s sworn to his sister — no matter how they may feel about each other, Jaime and Brienne are still on opposite sides. There’s definitely a battle brewing in season seven, and it would be shocking if all the hints about Brienne using Oathkeeper against the man who gave it to her never amount to anything.
Jaime and Brienne’s story in A Song of Ice and Fire is on a completely different path than it is on Game of Thrones, but the characters may end still end up in a similar place. When they are last seen in the books, Brienne is leading Jaime to a near-certain doom, even though she’s not happy about it. Their journey is bound to end in blood, and while there’s no way for the show to have the characters end up in the exact same scenario since Lady Stoneheart was left on the cutting room floor, they still seem to be heading for a fateful final meeting.
In both scenarios, Oathkeeper seems to be the key. The Valyrian steel sword is given to Brienne out of love and respect, but it also represents her innocence. Jaime tells her about the danger of vows in season three. His own attempts at being honorable are complicated by the disparate sides he’s sworn oaths to. In the baths of Harrenhal, he warns Brienne about the dangers of split loyalties. It’s past time for that conversation to pay off, and there’s no better way for it to do so than by having Brienne face the ultimate choice — preserve her honor or spare Jaime’s life.
Dying by the blade he gives to Brienne would be a poetic ending for a complex character like Jaime Lannister. While seeing this relationship come to such a tragic end isn’t high on anyone’s list of priorities, Game of Thrones seems to have been laying the groundwork for a battlefield meeting between these two for quite some time. Season seven feels like the right time to bring their journey together to a close, and no one should be surprised if it ends with Brienne once again doing her duty.