After the tension of Game of Thrones’ previous battle-heavy episode, this week’s, “The Last of the Starks,” seemed like it wanted to reward viewers’ angst with a bit of heavy fan service ... though these moments came and went.
[Ed. note: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.”]
A strong contingent of internet denizens has shrugged off the bawdy Tormund in favor of their favorite pairing: Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. And tonight, those “Oathsex” shippers — named for the Oathkeeper sword that Jaime gifted to the knight from Sapphire Isle — got their wish ... for a little while, at least.
After years of trust exercises and hardship, a drinking game (led by Tyrion, natch) was enough to help these two turn their mutual respect into something with a little more chemistry. Jaime and Brienne first met when he was a prisoner of Catelyn Stark; Catelyn entrusted Brienne with Jaime as a bargaining chip for Sansa and Arya, who were being held at King’s Landing. When her mission went terribly awry and they both were captured, Jaime protected Brienne, a move that cost him his right hand.
Since the beginning of this season, Thrones writers have teased fans with the possibility of Jaime and Brienne finally getting it on. In season 8, episode 2, the two had a tense moment in the training yard at Winterfell. Brienne confronted Jaime, saying, “This is the longest conversation we’ve had without you insulting me.”
“I came to Winterfell because I’m not the fighter I used to be,” Jaime says. “But I’d be honored to serve under your command, if you’ll have me.”
Later, Jaime gave her an even greater gift than his respect: He anointed her as a knight of the Seven Kingdoms, fulfilling the lifelong dream of a woman who felt like she never belonged. It was after that and the subsequent Battle of Winterfell, fighting side by side with Jaime, that Brienne let herself be vulnerable enough to sleep with him.
While their pair-up happened with very few words, everyone watching was screaming in celebration. It seemed even sweeter when Jaime decided to stay in Winterfell with Brienne. Sure, he probably couldn’t show his face in King’s Landing without getting murdered for desertion, but we also hoped that he wanted to snuggle in that giant pile of furs.
But Game of Thrones can’t let anyone be happy, including the shippers the show just rewarded. After hearing the tide of battle has turned, Jaime reflects on his feelings — and sneaks out on a peacefully sleeping Brienne. He may not be ready to leave his sister behind, showing what a twisted hold Cersei still has on him. Even as a surprisingly tearful Brienne (for those who think this is out of character, realize what she just went through with him) begs him to stay, Jaime reflects on all the terrible things he’s done for his sister.
“The things we do for love” is a phrase that represents the shackles of the Lannister siblings’ toxic relationship. Jaime can’t escape, and it may be his undoing.