In which I hardly even notice who isn’t there.

As a good Game of Thrones fan, I had to stay up well past my bedtime last night. I took an assignment for FanSided with a morning deadline, which was okay this week because I don’t have work today. The practical upshot was that I basically watched the episode twice in a row; first time without interruptions so I could live-Tweet at the same time as all the other Stateside nerds, and second time so I could take screencaps for my Monday morning article.

I also drank a lot of wine last night. Like, a really ridiculous amount of wine, so I was nice and buzzed when I wrote my new slide show. In retrospect, I’m surprised at how coherent it is. 5 Questions Answered in Episode 6. (SPOILER warning for my peeps who haven’t had a chance to watch the episode yet.)

We didn’t get the Castle Black crew, which was a bit annoying, but we DID get the King’s Landing crew. While the events with the Lannisters and Tyrells may have been frustrating, let it never be said the story isn’t moving forward.

How do I say this?

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Jaime Lannister is no longer in the Kingsguard! I repeat: Ser Jaime has been released from his vows!

The episode could have done with a bit more Uncle Kevan. He was standing there very sternly next to Tommen while he told Uncle Jaime to get out of Dodge, and I would like to know to what extent it was Kevan’s idea to send Jaime on his way.

I could have done without the Twincest snogging, and I’m a bit frustrated that Jaime still hasn’t found out his sister was fucking Lancel while Jaime was imprisoned by the Starks, but Seven Hells, he is out of the Kingsguard. Which means he’s allowed to marry and inherit just like any other nobleman. Come to think of it, this should make him the new Lord of Casterly Rock.

So basically, this is what Jaime has to show for his troubles in storming the Sept:

  1. Tommen and Kevan tell him: “You’re free to marry and inherit and we don’t want you here in the capital anymore!”
  2. Cersei’s all like: “I don’t need you here for my trial, you can go on an adventure with Bronn and leave me alone with FrankenGregor.”
  3. Oh, and also, Brienne and Podrick will show up at Riverrun and meet with the Blackfish.

Of course the Lannisters don’t know about Brienne’s mission to recruit the Tullys to Jon and Sansa’s cause, but she’ll be there, and Jaime will be there, freshly released from his Kingsguard vows.

Jaime keeps on trying to be loyal to his family, and it keeps on not working. How has he been rewarded for his efforts over the past three seasons?

  1. He comes back to King’s Landing without his sword hand; his sister pushes him away.
  2. He wants to stay true to his Kingsguard vows, which realistically means he’s still giving up his autonomy to serve the family’s interests; his father disowns him.
  3. He saves Tyrion’s life by arranging his escape: Tyrion kills their father.
  4. He shows up to bring Myrcella home alive: Myrcella dies anyway.
  5. He tries to bring Tommen’s queen home with her dignity intact: Tommen and Uncle Kevan basically hand him the keys to Casterly Rock and tell him to fuck off from the capital.
  6. He wants to be there for his sister’s trial; his sister doesn’t need him.
  7. In summary: all of his family are either dead, estranged, or essentially shoving him back into the arms of the woman carrying his Valyrian steel sword.

The sword, in terms of what it represents to Brienne and Jaime, functions much like an engagement ring. I’ve actually had this symbolism in mind for a few months now. Those of us with dirty minds like to joke about the sword being a phallic symbol, but really, it’s more like a ring. It’s this very expensive, distinctly branded thing that Brienne carries around with her, and it says something about her loyalties. Look closely at the hilt, and there’s the Lannister lion. That sword says someone in House Lannister cares about her, and that relationship occasionally gets her into trouble.

So, when Brienne storms out of his tent at Riverrun, it’ll probably be that she’s pissed off at him for insisting on besieging the Tullys rather than joining them in supporting the Starks. And he will insist on besieging the Tullys, up until he gives up on trying to serve House Lannister on his sister’s terms because someone finally makes him understand that he is House Lannister, and his sister never really loved him.

At the equivalent stage in Jaime’s arc in the books, his Kingsguard vows still apply; he’s still wearing the white cloak when he takes the army up to the Riverlands. The last we heard of him in Dance, however, he’d left his army to ride off somewhere with Brienne, and I honestly think that departure is effectively his desertion of the Kingsguard and the Lannister army. That the show has decided to take Jaime out of the Kingsguard just before he reconnects with Brienne suggests that yes, he is all done with the white cloak. He will make decisions unaffected by his vows.

I’m a bit worried about where he’ll be at the end of the season; not that I’m worried he’ll die, or he won’t make the right decision in the end, more that I’m worried he’ll end the season on an annoying cliffhanger. But I’m even more convinced now that Jaime’s not going back to King’s Landing before it gets blown up.