Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season seven, including speculation of future events.
“Spoils of War” — possibly one of the best “Game of Thrones” episodes of all time — ended with a worrying cliffhanger. Jaime Lannister, knocked into the water thanks to a heroic act from Bronn, was sinking to the bottom of a river. His heavy armour and golden hand were weighing him down and Jaime seemed to make no move to free himself from drowning as the screen faded to black.
But there’s almost no way Jaime is dead.
“Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss know how to surprise viewers with major character deaths, but a major player like Jaime would never die offscreen with such little fanfare. Plus, the general rule for “Game of Thrones” is if there’s no body shown, there’s no confirmed kill.
Since Bronn was the one who intervened when Jaime was about to get himself roasted alive by Drogon, we can guess that the sellsword will also rescue Jaime from drowning. In the preview for next week’s episode, we see Daenerys addressing a group of defeated soldiers. It’s possible Jaime will be among them, or maybe he and Bronn will sneak away before Daenerys starts threatening to burn people.
The cliffhanger with Jaime is a parallel to a scene on the fifth season where viewers nearly thought Jaime’s little brother Tyrion had drowned.
Tyrion went into the water during a battle with the Stone Men of Valyria, but Jorah Mormont saved him at the last moment. As with Tyrion, this “drowning” moment came at a point in both their storylines where they weren’t nearly ready to leave the series.
Jaime’s final moments on “Spoils of War” seemed to be an echo back to the conversation he and Bronn had at the start of the episode when Bronn asked Jaime why he didn’t seem happy about the victory at Highgarden.
“You’ve just won the biggest prize in the world, what could you possibly have to be upset about?” Bronn asked.
Then Bronn asked for a castle — the reward promised to him back on the fifth season when Jaime recruited him to come to Dorne. Now after only giving Bronn a big bag of gold, Jaime told him he wouldn’t want a big castle like Highgarden anyways.
“The more you own, the more it weighs you down,” Jaime said.
“Oh is that why you’re so f—— glum, eh?” Bronn replied. “All your new riches weighing you down?”
By the episode’s end, Jaime’s golden hand and heavy armour is literally weighing him down in the river. That was the likely intention behind the “cliffhanger.” You aren’t meant to think Jaime is dead or dying, but instead reflect on the ways this episode has changed Jaime’s character.
Towards the beginning of “Spoils of War,” you could sense Jaime’s good heart — whether it was him dwelling on Olenna’s warnings about Cersei or him trying to temper Randyll Tarly’s apparent penchant for flogging soldiers.
But Daenerys’ choice to attack with Drogon cemented Jaime as a firmly anti-Targaryen player in this game. He slayed Daenerys father, the Mad King Aerys, when he believed innocent lives were at risk. Now he has seen that Daenerys (in his mind) is no different, and he will risk everything again to kill the last known heir of Aerys.
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