Honour and Morality in Westeros


Commander of the Kingsguard. Son of the Hand of the King. Kingslayer.

Jaime Lannister is a character I continue to gain affection for, both in the novels and in the TV show, as the story develops and exposes what’s under the facade of his public profile within Westeros.

I’m particularly fond of the actor, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who plays Jaime because I think he brings a gritty realism to the character. Some amateur actors can fall into the trap of thinking that their character is a good or bad character and play it up accordingly as to whether they’re supposed to be the Face or Heel of the show.

Jaime is one of those characters that is neither.

He is between both good and bad because the decisions he make, whilst reprehensible to some, are the right moral decisions for him to take (at least talking about the murder of The Mad King). 

There’s an interesting scene where Jaime, from Season 2 or A Clash of Kings, where he’s talking to Catelyn Stark whilst imprisoned by Robb Stark and he’s talking about morality, oaths and honour within the world of Westeros.

If you are easily offended please do not click the link below. It includes swearing and profanity, and includes spoilers from Season 2 of Game of Thrones if you have not watched the season yet (or read the book), so you read this content at your own impetus: 

Jaime: Any Knight would have done the same.

Catelyn: You are no knight, you have forsaken every vow you’ve ever took.

Jaime: There’s so many vows. They make you swear and swear: Defend the King. Obey your Father. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. And what if your father despises the King? What if the King massacres the innocent? It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or another. Where did you find this beast? (talking about Brienne of Tarth)

Catelyn: She is a truer Knight than you will ever be, Kingslayer.

Jaime: Kingslayer. What a King he was! Here’s to Aerys Targaryen, the second of his name, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, and to the sword I shoved in his back.

Catleyn: You are man without honour.

Jaime: Do you know, I’ve never been with any woman but Cersei so in my own way I have more honour than poor old dead Ned. What was the name of that bastard he fathered?

Catleyn: Brienne.

Jaime: No, that wasn’t it. Snow. Bastard from the North. Now, when good old Ned came home with some whore’s baby. Did you pretend to love it? No, you’re not very good at pretending. You’re an honest woman. You hated that boy didn’t you? How could you not hate him? A walking talking reminder that the honorable Lord Eddard Stark fucked another woman. 

See the scene between Michelle Fairley’s Catelyn Stark and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Jaime Lannister:

 

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