Also, content notice for juvenile death.
The Mother is merciful, but Mother’s Mercy did not go easy on the Lannisters. Cersei is caught in a trap of her own making, but her daughter? No, Myrcella was punished for other people’s mistakes, and her grandfather’s abuses. In her punishment, Jaime also suffered.
This is the guy who’s always loved his family but threw away his chance to be a family man when he was too young to know any better.
How did that work out for him?
In the course of being imprisoned by the Starks, and losing his right hand on the way back, he realizes something: he wants to be present for his family, and that includes his children. He’s never been able to call them his children. Then his oldest child dies, and Jaime doesn’t miss him. What does that mean?
Jaime had seen him born, that was true, though more for Cersei than the child. But he had never held him. “How would it look?” his sister warned him when the women finally left them. “Bad enough Joff looks like you without you mooning over him.” Jaime yielded with hardly a fight. The boy had been a squalling pink thing who demanded too much of Cersei’s time, Cersei’s love, and Cersei’s breasts. Robert was welcome to him.
And now he’s dead. He pictured Joff lying still and cold with a face black from poison, and still felt nothing. Perhaps he was the monster they claimed. If the Father Above came down to offer him back his son or his hand, Jaime knew which he would choose. He had a second son, after all, and seed enough for many more. If Cersei wants another child I’ll give her one … and this time I’ll hold him, and the Others take those who do not like it. Robert was rotting in his grave, and Jaime was sick of lies.
Martin, George R.R. (2003-03-04). A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) (pp. 843-844). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Partly it means Joffrey was impossible to love for anyone but Cersei. But it also means Jaime has never been able to be a parent to his children, and he means to change that.
His voyage to Dorne is a chance to change the role he plays to his family, and for a little while, he does. What is it like when he finally gets Myrcella alone long enough to find out she knows the truth? How does he feel when she embraces him?
He’s going to cherish every moment with his daughter. He loves being with her, he loves holding her, and he’s so proud to call her his child. No one will get to stand between him and his children ever again.
And how many moments does he get to enjoy with Myrcella?
Seconds. Mere seconds are all the time they spend together before she succumbs to poison. Jaime gets to hug his daughter once before she’s dying in his arms.
This is what he realizes, after Tyrion is arrested but before he follows their father into the privy with a crossbow:
I’ve lost a hand, a father, a son, a sister, and a lover, and soon enough I will lose a brother. And yet they keep telling me House Lannister won this war.
Martin, George R.R. (2003-03-04). A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) (p. 1005). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
But it can still get worse. It can always get worse.
His father’s dead, his brother’s a fugitive, and he doesn’t yet know that his sister is on trial for her life, on charges that could very well land Jaime in serious trouble if he shows his face in the capital again. Now he adds his daughter to the list of family members he’s lost.
Yet they keep telling him House Lannister won the war.