Could Jaime be the true hero of 'Game of Thrones'?
In both the books and the TV show, Game of Thrones has dealt with the idea of rebirth and heroes destined to restore balance to the world. George R. R. Martin delves deeper into the history and mythology of 'Azor Ahai', the heroic figure who forged the sword 'Lightbringer' to defeat 'The Great Other'.
He lived thousands of years ago, and he is said to be reborn as "the prince that was promised".
Looking at the show, and the clues given as to the prince's return, many have wondered who this hero will be. Melisandre believed that it was Stannis, and was proven wrong, later claiming that it's Jon Snow. It's later revealed that the phrase "The prince that was promised" is actually gender-neutral in High Valyrian, so the "prince" could be Daenerys too.
But what if the hero of the series is not Jon Snow nor Daenerys, but Jaime Lannister?
It sounds bonkers at first, as this is the man who pushed a child out of a window in the first episode. Yet Jaime has come a long way since then, and some fans have interpreted the myth to mean he is the prince that was promised. Beginning with the tale of how Azor Ahai forged 'Lightbringer', Redditor DalianAtkinson and byrd82 show that Jaime followed the same path. As described in the second Game of Thrones book, 'A Clash of Kings', the story goes:
"To fight the darkness, Azor Ahai needed to forge a hero's sword. He labored for thirty days and thirty nights until it was done. However, when he went to temper it in water, the sword broke. He was not one to give up easily, so he started over."
Humbled by the loss of his sword hand, and after his confession to Brienne in the baths about why he killed The Mad King, Jaime shed his 'Kingslayer' persona. He was no longer driven by the same egotism, yet he was held back from becoming a great man by his love for Cersei. As DalianAtkinson puts it: "It was Jaime’s first attempt to forge himself as the metaphoric blade Lightbringer which could save the world and he broke".
"The second time he took fifty days and fifty nights to make the sword, even better than the first. To temper it this time, he captured a lion and drove the sword into its heart, but once more the steel shattered."
After he previously failed to become his best self, Jaime released Tyrion from prison as he didn't believe he had killed Joffrey. Tyrion shot their father Tywin (the Lannister lion) in the heart and fled. Cersei later chastised Jaime for being indirectly responsible for the death. "Jaime failed to 'forge the blade' and remained under Cersei’s influence," the user explains, "continuing to fulfil his role as the 'glorified bodyguard'".
"The third time, with a heavy heart, for he knew before hand what he must do to finish the blade, he worked for a hundred days and nights until it was finished. This time, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to bare her breast. He drove his sword into her breast, her soul combining with the steel of the sword, creating Lightbringer, while her cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon."
According to this user, this hardest stage occurred in the season 7 finale. After Cersei reveals her plans to betray Daenerys, he sees her for what she is and abandons her. He leaves King's Landing and heads to meet his destiny in the battle for the living. "In fleeing the capital Jaime broke his lover's heart but he, the blade, did not break," DalianAtkinson describes, "He rode away to fight. Lightbringer, at last, was forged."
To summarise, the user explains that "In the bathtub's water Jaime (the blade) broke. He returned to Cersei. In freeing Tyrion & seeing Tywin (the lion) killed = Jaime (the blade) broke. He returned to Cersei." After this, the sword is finally forged on the third attempt. You can find a much more detailed version of this theory in byrd82's original Reddit post here.
To me, this feels like a typical Game of Thrones twist on the fantasy genre. Rather than a valiant knight in shining armour saving the day - the real hero is one that, while he certainly looks the part, is far from a saintly figure. Leaving Cersei, Jaime is free to serve someone who will bring peace to the kingdom - whether that ends up being Jon Snow, Daenerys, or both.
Speaking of Game of Thrones theories, have you read the fan who may have discovered The Night King's master plan?