Of the main characters in Game of Thrones, Jamie Lannister is one of the most difficult to gauge. On the one hand, he started off as what one might consider a villain due to his handling of Ned Stark along with pushing Bran Stark out the window. Let’s not even get into his incestuous relationship with his sister. However, as the story progresses, we see a deeply conflicted man who must contend with his duty as a King’s Guard, his obligation to his family, his love for both his sister and brother and his respect for Brienne of Tarth. While Jamie’s story has veered off into Dorne which defies his storyline in the books thus far, we can use the clues in season 5, the books and what we know about him to make some conjectures about his fate in the upcoming season.
Last time we viewed Jamie, he was clutching the poisoned body of his daughter, who declared her knowledge of him as her father and his devout love for him. Considering the prophecy setup at the beginning of the series with Cersei Lannister traveling back in her memories with her encounter with the witch who bespoke of her children’s ill destiny, more than likely we can assume that Myrcella is dead. Of course, the primary reason for her poisoning is to instigate a war between Dorne and the Lannisters.
Undoubtedly, Cersei will be provoked upon learning of her only daughter’s death. But how will Jamie feel in all of this? Part of the issue is that he volunteered for this particular mission in recovering Myrcella from Dorne. While he learned about his daughter’s feelings towards him, the thing is that Jamie is far more rational about politics than Cersei. On top of that, Jamie will have the uneasy responsibility of caring for Trystane Martell as he will represent Dorne in the Small Council. No doubt Cersei will want to start the war with the Martells to avenge their daughter (assuming she has some form of access to Tommen) as well as continuing her pursuit over their little brother Tyrion. Add to the fact that she was utterly humiliated by the city, it will be pretty clear that her sanity is lacking.
Up until now, Jamie has done much of Cersei’s bidding. However, history has proven that each time he is sent away, something tragic befalls Cersei or himself (such as his capture, the near falling of King’s Landing to Stannis, the loss of his hand and now Myrcella’s death, which probably could’ve been avoided if he stayed with Cersei). So I feel that season 6 will be the make-it-or-break-it season between the two Lannisters, where Jamie either will declare his absolute love for Cersei or denounce her as being insane and carve out his own destiny away from her.
In the TV show, we see that Jamie’s decision to go to Dorne as independent as Cersei planted a huge guilt trip in him for not saving Joffrey, allowing Tyrion to escape after murdering their father and abandoning her during the siege of King’s Landing. In the books though, Jamie’s mind set is far different. There is more tension with him and Tyrion because he reveals that he setup the whore who was Tyrion’s first love. Also, Cersei does not guess that Jamie abetted Tyrion’s escape. Instead, one of the major turning points in the book is that he leaves King’s Landing once again but this time to hit the Riverlands to try and ensure the peace after the infamous Red Wedding fallout. When Cersei calls for his help before her trial, Jamie ignores her plea, discerning that Cersei’s mind is long gone. Instead, he encounters Brienne of Tarth, who is used by Lady Stoneheart to set a trap for Jamie. The resolution to Jamie’s fate has not yet been decided as that will continue in The Winds of Winter.
But I think we should use the book as the guiding light for Jamie’s mental state when it comes to his sister. I think Season 6 will show a mentally and emotionally tormented Cersei who does nothing except plot revenge. Since Jamie is her closest confidant, Cersei will showcase her insanity in full, which may even horrify the typically loyal Jamie. Furthermore, Qyburn’s incessant fawning over Cersei may serve to alienate the pair as Cersei’s only other value in life is unwavering loyalty. These elements will serve as the impetus for Jamie to leave Cersei to her fate in King’s Landing, even though chaos may break out at any second for her as well as help the show realign Jamie’s story arc with A Dance with Dragons.
I’ve heard some small rumors that Jamie might pop up in the Riverlands in matching his storyline to the books. While Lady Stoneheart might be long gone for the hope of bringing back Michelle Fairley, there’s still a chance that Jamie might reunite with Brienne. Brienne’s storyline is in a far weirder state because of her supposed slaying of Stannis at the end of episode 10 in season 5. But the fact that Jamie did promise to return Sansa to her family. Perhaps, he wants to fulfill one oath in his life and decides to go north in reuniting with Brienne while using the placating of the Riverlands as a cover to escape his sister.
However, there is an argument for Jamie staying with his sister as a result of their daughter’s (probable) passing. One could say that Jamie has more motivation than ever to stay by Cersei’s side as she is very vulnerable along with Tommen. However, we’ve seen Cersei mishandle him on more than one occasion. She is the user in most cases whenever he’s around. Perhaps, with the revelation that Lancel had a relationship with her, Jamie will feel stunned. There’s also Qyburn whom I believe no one in the court outside of Cersei trusts nor likes. Maester Pycelle, being still alive despite his fate at the end of A Dance with Dragons, as well as the rational Kevan Lannister, may convince Jamie of Cersei’s mental degradation as a result of being locked up. A simple trigger might be the only requirement to severe the thin remnants of their fragile connection.
Again, no one said that Jamie deals with the easiest of decisions. Something we may see is that when Cersei’s trial does begin and most likely requests for a Trial by Combat, she will provide the greatest insult to Jamie by denying him the ultimate honor of defending her and use the monstrous, nearly inhuman Ser Robert Strong (who is constructed by Qyburn no less). That could be the trigger point, especially if Cersei’s champion wins and she declares some odd reward for Qyburn (such as her bed side).
Something I did propose in a previous blog was how Daenarys will invade King’s Landing and attempt to utilize her knowledge of Tommen’s true heritage as a way to banish Cersei. I don’t think Jamie will be around for that and that Cersei alone will be forced to contend with Daenarys. Instead, I feel that Jamie’s destiny is larger in possibly dealing with the White Walkers. We still have to see what more capabilities he has with his golden hand. So far we know that he has a great defense mechanism. Will that play a larger part in fighting the White Walkers?
I think the original handshake between Jamie and Jon Snow was symbolic. It might mean that they meet again, under far different circumstances. Both might be more balanced out with Jon Snow sharing more of Jamie’s cynicism and Jame being more receptive to Jon’s accomplishments as a (former) member of the Night’s Watch. Nonetheless, it’s possible Jamie may turn further north to find Sansa in helping Brienne fulfill her oath. That might lead Jamie with Sansa, Brienne and possibly Podrick (if he isn’t dead by this point) to find Jon Snow.
At any rate, I cannot see Jamie sticking around King’s Landing for much of the season. Instead, I see him being driven away by Cersei and finding Brienne since she probably can understand him better than his sister (both are warriors). He will ignore the pleas of Cersei for the final time and hope to create a new life for himself in moving in his own direction, separate from Cersei’s plight.