Hi there, fellow Game of Thrones-loving nerds.
I may have mentioned a few times on this blog, working on an essay? And when that essay was finished, certain things would become clearer?
I’ve finished the essay.
I also mentioned, once, that I don’t really “ship” Jaime/Brienne, so much as look forward to the relationship happening? GRRMartin ships Jaime/Brienne. I simply enjoy the way he ships them.
Of course it might be a bit difficult to argue that I “don’t really ‘ship’ Jaime/Brienne” now that I’ve written this essay.
I’ve also made an iBooks copy, so those who have Apple devices can enjoy it in iBooks. It’ll look basically the same as the PDF version, except the internal links will actually work as links. Click here to download the iBooks version of the essay.
I will also post it here on this blog, one section at a time. I won’t post the entire essay in one entry because I’m not a complete sociopath and WordPress might have a meltdown if I tried.
Now some of you may be wondering: okay, what is the point of this essay, and why should I take the time to read it?
Well. If you like the idea of Jaime and Brienne being romantically involved, but you’re not quite sure it’ll happen, this essay is for you.
If you keep hearing from all us weirdos who seem to think these two will get together, and you don’t understand why we think so, you may find this essay helpful.
If you want them to be together, but you’re afraid they won’t live long enough to make it happen, you may appreciate this essay.
If you’ve enjoyed my “I Enjoy This Too Much” entries, you may appreciate this essay.
If you’re convinced that Jaime/Cersei is the True Love for the Ages, and that Jaime/Brienne could never possibly go beyond friendship, then this essay will probably not convince you, but if that’s how you feel, I assume you’re not reading my blog.
Time to let my Ego Flag fly: this is the Master Case for Jaime and Brienne getting together. I’m sure some other fans have written essays on a similar theme, but they are not this one. This is the only shipping essay for Jaime/Brienne that you will ever need to read. This is, put crudely, an analysis of how GRRMartin ships Jaime/Brienne. And I also put the relationship in context. Oh, yes, I do love context. Pull up a chair and I will answer all your questions.
To paraphrase a certain Lannister: There are no nerds like me. There’s only me.
With all that posturing out of the way, here is the introduction to the Master Case (there may be some weird punctuation in here, resulting from having pasted the text in from the PDF file):
Introduction: War of Five Kings
When the newly crowned King in the North sent his mother, Lady Catelyn Stark, on a diplomatic mission to treat with fellow Five Kings contender Renly Baratheon, they had a highly valued prisoner in a cell at Riverrun in the form of Jaime Lannister. When Lady Stark returned to Riverrun, her visit with King Renly had not yielded the results her son had desired, but she brought with her one of the late Renly’s guards as her new sworn sword: a noblewoman from the Stormlands called Brienne of Tarth. No one objected to Catelyn bringing a sword-wielding young lady into service at King Robb’s base, but Lady Stark experienced one, serious sticking point with her son, which was how to arrange her daughters’ safe return to her custody. Rather than wait for Robb to collaborate with her on a viable set of terms to present to the Lannisters, Catelyn took matters into her own hands and arranged a secret prisoner exchange: her loyal Brienne would escort their sought-after captive Jaime Lannister south to King’s Landing, where she would give him back to his family in return for Sansa and Arya Stark, whom she would escort back to Riverrun to reunite with their mother. It was a good plan except that it was completely untenable in every way that counted.
At the time that she placed Jaime under Brienne’s protection and sent them south, Catelyn didn’t know that her brother Edmure would soon pull the rug out from under the prisoner exchange by sending ravens to Roose Bolton with the news of Ser Jaime’s “escape” from his captivity. Catelyn didn’t know that her daughter Arya had long since fled the Red Keep and none of the Lannisters had the slightest clue where she was. Catelyn didn’t know that her daughter Sansa would be forced into marriage with Tyrion Lannister. Catelyn didn’t know that Jaime would be taken captive along with Brienne by a sellsword company previously in service to Tywin Lannister, and that he would depart from their captivity with a bandaged stump in place of his sword hand. Catelyn certainly never anticipated that she and Robb would be murdered by their erstwhile allies the Freys and Boltons before Jaime and Brienne got as far as King’s Landing. She didn’t live long enough to find out King Joffrey died of poisoning, that Tyrion was arrested for his murder and that Sansa disappeared with Dontos Hollard to avoid similar accusation and arrest. In short, there was nothing about the prisoner exchange plan that worked out except that Brienne did, eventually, escort Jaime back to his family at the Red Keep.
Most of all, Catelyn Stark could never have imagined that her sworn sword and her prisoner would be the best of friends at the end of their journey. She never expected that they would be forced into each other’s arms by their new captors, that they would come to trust and respect each other, understand each other, inspire each other, and even develop a mutual attraction that surprises each of them as much as it would surprise anyone else. Lady Catelyn can be forgiven for assuming that there could be no two people within the Westerosi nobility with less in common, but war has a way of making partners of the oddest pairs. Their bond is the unintended consequence of Catelyn’s determination to bring back her daughters in defiance of her son. It is a consequence of Brienne swearing her sword to Catelyn, and of Jaime facing the Starks in battle, neither of them ever intending or expecting to forge such a connection with anyone, yet there they are.
This essay, then, will be an analysis of the romantic storyline between Jaime and Brienne. It is arranged in stages of roughly chronological order, further divided into categories of foreshadowing and development. While I have written the essay based on evidence from the books, it is not necessary to have read the books before reading this essay. I do recommend having the books available for reference, especially A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows, preferably in Kindle format, but I intend the essay to be just as accessible to Unsullied fans as it is to book readers. Each stage is followed by a compilation of citations with page numbers. I will start with a quick introductory section to see how Jaime and Brienne are characterized before they meet, and there will be seven stages of their romantic storyline and its surrounding context, from their first interactions in A Storm of Swords to their last appearances in A Dance with Dragons. Seven kingdoms, seven gods, and seven levels of Jaime and Brienne getting closer.
Ready for this? Here we go.
Stage 0: Before They Meet
These are Catelyn Stark’s dealings with her son’s prize prisoner and the blue-armored girl she found in Renly’s camp. Brienne is adorably starry-eyed, almost comically naïve.
“Because it will not last,” Catelyn answered, sadly. “Because they are the knights of summer, and winter is coming.”
“Lady Catelyn, you are wrong.” Brienne regarded her with eyes as blue as her armor. “Winter will never come for the likes of us. Should we die in battle, they will surely sing of us, and it’s always summer in the songs. In the songs all knights are gallant, all maids are beautiful, and the sun is always shining.”
Jaime does not appear in A Clash of Kings except for the scene in which Catelyn decides to cut him loose, and in that scene, he is just as defiantly cynical as ever.
“You think I fear death?” That seemed to amuse him.
“You should. Your crimes will have earned you a place of torment in the deepest of the seven hells, if the gods are just.”
“What gods are those, Lady Catelyn? The trees your husband prayed to? How well did they serve him when my sister took his head off?” Jaime gave a chuckle. “If there are gods, why is the world so full of pain and injustice?”
“Because of men like you.”
“There are no men like me. There’s only me.”
I’m sure Catelyn thinks there’s not the slightest risk of any surprises in putting Jaime under Brienne’s protection for a prisoner exchange. There’s no way these two could become friends, and Seven Gods forbid they should become involved beyond friendship. It’s literally, physically impossible for them to bond, yes?