Ser Jaime Lannister, also known as the Kingslayer, is an anointed knight of House Lannister, and serves as a member of the Kingsguard for King Aerys II Targaryen and later King Robert I Baratheon, as well as Robert's legal sons, Joffrey and Tommen. He is the twin brother of Cersei Lannister and the older brother of Tyrion Lannister.
Appearance and Character
Jaime holds many of the usual traits of House Lannister, with blonde hair and green eyes. He has a tall frame, and very comely features. He is considered very handsome with a cutting smile. He wears the white of the Kingsguard when on duty, but also wears the colours of House Lannister, as well as his signature gold armour with a lion helm. Jon Snow thinks that he is what a king ought to look like - strong, handsome and charismatic.
In the eyes of many, Jaime has one of the worst reputations of any knight in Westeros, even to compare with the likes of Gregor Clegane: the reputation of a man who swore sacred vows to a king, and then shattered those vows by killing said king. He is perceived as being arrogant, cruel, deceitful, sarcastic and dishonourable to an extreme - anyone with a perception of personal honour appears to hate Jaime in this regard, and only ever refer to him as the Kingslayer. Jaime is arrogant and sarcastic, and has proven capable of murder and deceit in pursuit of his objectives, but he is one of the most complicated people in the Seven Kingdoms. The real reason he killed King Aerys was because the psychopathic king sought to obliterate the entirety of King's Landing with wildfire, and had commanded Jaime to kill his own father, and therefore Jaime committed his heinous crime (which he views sometimes as his greatest act) with honourable motivations.
Jaime has always been supremely skilled in combat, which is his singular interest - he understands, but does not care much for political manoeuvring and would rather be a soldier than anything else. A master swordsman who was renowned even as a young age, Jaime is not unbeatable (which he himself admits) but has the instincts and experience of a warrior. When he loses his sword hand, he is shocked and traumatized, having relied on his fighting skills for so long, but he becomes more reliant on his wits than before and even becomes less arrogant and more respectful of others - however, he maintains the pride and temper of a lion. Though not on the same degree as Cersei, he can be truly scathing towards people he doesn't like.
An extremely complicated aspect of Jaime's personality is the fact that he loves Cersei - he has never in his life slept with another woman but her, and she considers him utterly devoted to her. Throughout the War of the Five Kings, Jaime is motivated by this love - his acts of attempting to murder Brandon Stark, his violent attempts at escape from Brienne Tarth, and his actions throughout their journey are spurred by his love for his sister. When he finally returns to King's Landing, and begins to realize the woman Cersei has become and how people expect him to act, he begins to doubt the severity of his love, which is made excruciating when he learns from Tyrion that Cersei has betrayed him to other men, including their cousin Lancel, who is openly considered to be a very poor imitation of Jaime.
Jaime is also one of the very few Lannisters to have any respect or adoration for Tyrion, whom he has cared for all of the man's life. He respects Tyrion's intelligence and selflessness, and does not hate him for being a dwarf, unlike both their father and especially their sister. However, this love is essentially decimated when Tyrion vengefully kills Tywin, only made possible because Jaime released him. The tragic irony of this is that the murder of Tywin Lannister was partly because Jaime also revealed that the woman that Tywin had damaged, who had been Tyrion's lover, was not a whore; this caused Tyrion's hatred and contempt for their father to become uncontrollable and motivate him into his heinous act.
There are very few people that Jaime genuinely respects - he does not hold his father in truly high regard, nor does he mourn for the Mad King, and he is openly hateful of the Freys and Starks. He considered Robb Stark to be his enemy, and is frustrated by being unable to finish him off when he was captured. He has resented Eddard Stark ever since the Sack of King's Landing, as the northerner decided to judge Jaime from what he saw rather than actually hear what Jaime had gone through. Jaime understands the cunning and machinations of other people who play the game of thrones, and is actually quite intelligent in his own right. The difference from Cersei is that Jaime knows the boundaries of decorum, even with people he doesn't like, and is able to maintain at least some civil conversation with them. Despite all of this, he is remarked to be the least like Tywin out of the latter's sons, and that he rather shares the qualities of Tywin's brothers - he has Kevan's sense of loyalty, Gerion's charisma and Tygett's fighting skills. He favours combat and charm, rather than political savvy.
Jaime was born the eldest son of Lord Tywin and Joanna Lannister, and the twin brother of Cersei Lannister; he entered the world holding on to Cersei's foot. When they were born, King Aerys II Targaryen gifted them their weight in gold and invited them to court when they were fit to travel. It is known that they visited court as children.
Jaime was raised by Tywin to become Lord of Casterly Rock, but he was bored with the idea of administration: his interests lay almost solely in combat, and he was a prodigy swordsman from a young age. He was inseparable from Cersei when they were children, for they slept in the same bed and each of them was constantly mistaken for the other. They played in the bowels of the Rock frequently, even disturbing the caged lions kept by their grandfather Tytos. From a young age, Cersei and Jaime experimented sexually, but on one occasion they were caught by a servant, who informed their mother. Joanna put them in separate chambers when she learned of the incident, and threatened them with their father finding out if they were caught doing what they were doing again.
Shortly afterwards, Joanna died giving birth to Jaime and Cersei's brother Tyrion, a misshapen dwarf. Because of his completely unwilling involvement in Joanna's death, both Tywin and Cersei hated Tyrion his entire life, but Jaime developed a keen affection for his brother, always treating him kindly and like a true brother. Elia and Oberyn Martell once visited Casterly Rock from Dorne with a proposal of marriage between Elia and Jaime, but Tywin refused the Dornish, for he already had plans for Cersei and Jaime with regards to marriage. When Jaime and Cersei were ten, they attended the tourney for the birth of Prince Viserys Targaryen, and Tywin suggested that Jaime squire for the crown prince Rhaegar of Dragonstone, but King Aerys refused him.
Jaime was sent to Crakehall at eleven, where he squired for Lord Sumner Crakehall for four years alongside Merrett Frey. It is implied that, while Merrett Frey tormented and bullied other squires, he failed miserably when he tried to do the same to Jaime - it is implied that the two of them fought and Merrett obviously lost to the young lion. On one of Jaime's few visits to the Rock, he was furious when Cersei was brought to King's Landing by their father. He won his first melee at thirteen. He was sent to Riverrun shortly after, since Tywin planned to marry Jaime to Lysa Tully, but throughout the visit Jaime ignored Lysa, more interested in asking for stories about the War of the Ninepenny Kings from the legendary Ser Brynden Tully.
When Jaime turned fifteen he joined Lord Crakehall in the campaign against the Kingswood Brotherhood, where he committed various acts of bravery: he saved Lord Crakehall from Big Belly Ben and even fought the Smiling Knight, a psychopathic madman who would soon be struck down by Ser Arthur Dayne. For his actions during the campaign, he was knighted by Ser Arthur, who was a member of the Kingsguard to King Aerys. He later returned to Casterly Rock, planning to visit his sister along the way, where Cersei informed him that Tywin intended to marry him to Lysa, even inviting Lord Hoster Tully to the capital to discuss the matter. Cersei made the suggestion that Jaime join the Kingsguard, replacing the recently-deceased Ser Harlan Grandison, but at the same time this would lead to Jaime renouncing all claim as the heir to Casterly Rock since the Kingsguard hold no lands.
Cersei seduced Jaime and they had sex that night, with Jaime consenting to his sister's plan. Tywin was furious when a raven arrived at Casterly Rock declaring that Jaime had been named to the Kingsguard, and that he was to present himself to King Aerys at the Tourney of Harrenhal, to don his cloak and take his sacred vows. The plan pretty much failed, as a furious Tywin resigned as Hand and took Cersei with him back to Casterly Rock, while Jaime was left with the king.
At Harrenhal, Jaime was elected to the Kingsguard by Lord Commander Gerold Hightower in 281 AC, making him the youngest knight to be raised to the order. However, Aerys sent him back to the capital to protect Queen Rhaella and Prince Viserys, meaning Jaime could not participate in the tourney as he had hoped. This caused Jaime to realise that the king had not named him to the Kingsguard because of his reputation and skill, but rather because it would insult Tywin, with whom the king had a terrible relationship; the only remaining male heir Tywin had was his malformed son Tyrion. Long afterwards, Tywin called Jaime his heir, always incensed by seeing Jaime wearing white instead of his house colours.
Jaime would serve Aerys for two years, and became disillusioned and bitter with the prospect of knighthood, witnessing the Mad King's cruel and monstrous nature. He witnessed the execution of Brandon Stark, heir to Winterfell, and his father Lord Rickard, standing at the foot of the Iron Throne and witnessing the whole incident. To try and cope with the trauma, Jaime 'went away inside', focusing on the memory of Cersei as opposed to the terrible things he was forced to witness. He found no sympathy from his sworn brothers, including Ser Gerold Hightower, who reminded him that he swore to protect the king, not judge him. He advised people to go away inside afterwards in order to deal with harsh reality.
When Robert's Rebellion broke out, Jaime remained in the capital. When Robert Baratheon proved to be much more than a mere rebel, and an actual threat, Aerys devised a plan with his pyromancers, placing caches of wildfire throughout King's Landing, planning to incinerate the whole city rather than lose it to the rebels. Jaime went on to witness the dismissal of two Hands of the King, one of whom was burned alive, and was kept close by throughout because Aerys didn't trust his new addition to the white swords. Jaime would go on to witness Aerys rape his queen Rhaella due to his arousal from watching men burn alive, forced to stand guard throughout the incidents. Jaime protested to Ser Jonothor Darry about this, stating that they ought to protect Rhaella, but Darry retorted that they weren't supposed to protect her from the king.
Jaime pleaded with Prince Rhaegar Targaryen to take Jaime with him to face Robert on the Trident, suggesting that the other sworn brothers could protect the king effectively enough. Rhaegar refused Jaime's pleas, stating that Aerys wanted Jaime as an unspoken hostage in case Lord Tywin rebelled alongside Robert Baratheon. Jaime reacted with fury to this, but Rhaegar confided in him that he planned on calling a great council when the war was won, and made Jaime promise to keep Rhaegar's wife Elia and their children safe from the rebels.
These plans never came to fruition, for Prince Rhaegar was killed by Robert on the fords of the Trident; the Targaryens were doomed. Tywin Lannister and Eddard Stark were riding with their forces to the capital. Tywin's primary concern was that Aerys would murder Jaime out of spite, but also that Jaime would act impulsively or rashly. When the matter was brought to council, Lord Varys counselled Aerys to keep the gates of the city closed, but the king ignored the Spider and instead listened to Grand Maester Pycelle, who convinced him that Tywin had come to protect him from the rebels. Aerys opened the gates, and Tywin's army wreaked havoc on King's Landing.
Jaime was the only member of the Kingsguard in the capital - Ser Gerold Hightower, Ser Oswell Whent and Ser Arthur Dayne had vanished south, Ser Barristan Selmy was wounded at the Trident, and Prince Lewyn Martell and Ser Jonothor Darry were dead. Because of this, Jaime was left with the responsibility of defending the city. Knowing that fighting back was a lost cause, he pleaded with the king to parley with the rebels, but the Mad King scornfully refused him, commanding Jaime to bring him Tywin Lannister's head to prove his loyalty. The messenger that brought this command also let slip that Wisdom Rossart of the pyromancers was with the king, which led to Jaime realising that Aerys' wildfire plot was in motion.
Jaime started by killing Rossart, then moving straight to the throne room to confront the king. When Aerys saw that there was blood on Jaime's sword, he mistook it for Tywin's, but Jaime answered that the blood belonged to Rossart. Aerys turned coward and fled for the Iron Throne, but Jaime hauled him off and ended the life of King Aerys Targaryen, the Second of His Name, with a slash across the throat.
Jaime was discovered by Ser Elys Westerling and Lord Roland Crakehall moments after he slew the Mad King, thwarting any chance that Jaime would have to allow someone else to claim responsibility. Jaime told them to spread the word that Aerys was dead, and that anyone who yielded were to be spared. When Crakehall asked Jaime who they ought to choose as the new king, Jaime considered either Prince Viserys, or Rhaegar's son Aegon, with Tywin as Hand, but since both of them shared Aerys Targaryen's blood and the same probability of being madmen, Jaime announced that he didn't care, before returning to the Iron Throne and see for himself who would claim it. Eddard Stark found Jaime seated on the Iron Throne, with his golden sword across his legs; Jaime gave up the throne to the northerner, proclaiming it as an uncomfortable throne, and Ned Stark kept the throne for Lord Robert. Jaime went on to hunt down and kill the other pyromancers privy to Aerys' plot.
Jaime was allowed to remain in the Kingsguard by Robert, despite Ned Stark's fierce protest. Robert pardoned Jaime instead of sending him to take the black, alongside Lord Varys and Grand Maester Pycelle, and he served in the Kingsguard thereafter alongside Ser Barristan Selmy. Jaime attended Robert's coronation feast, where Robert japed about the fact that men now called Jaime 'Kingslayer', a name which clung to him throughout Westeros and Essos. Jaime sees Aerys' death as his finest act, and has never disclosed his motivations behind it to anyone.
Jaime was among the honour guard that brought Cersei to the capital to marry King Robert in 284. Jaime won the tourney held in celebration of the wedding, but on the morning on it they had sex and continued their relationship in secret. Cersei would use Robert's hunting trips as an opportunity to spend time with her twin brother. When they visited Greenstone to visit the king's family, Jaime followed Robert and found him sleeping with his cousin. Jaime and Cersei slept together that night, and conceived their first child Joffrey. They would have two other children, Myrcella and Tommen, afterwards, but to the Seven Kingdoms, they were Robert Baratheon's children. Cersei became pregnant by Robert on only one occasion, but she had Jaime find a woman to cleanse her of the baby.
When his brother Tyrion was thirteen, they went on a nightly ride from Lannisport to Casterly Rock and encountered a fourteen-year-old common girl named Tysha, who was being harangued by outlaws. Jaime fought off the men, while Tyrion comforted the girl at an inn and fell in love with her. They secretly married, but eventually the septon who carried out the ceremony informed Tywin of the marriage a fortnight after. Tywin forced Jaime to lie to Tyrion about the whole thing, claiming that Tysha was a whore and that the outlaws were bribed by Jaime, planning for Tyrion to have a woman of his own for a change. It is unknown if Jaime found out at this point what punishment Tywin devised for Tyrion and his wife, but the whole incident traumatized Tyrion. Jaime viewed this as the one time he was ever cruel or unkind to his younger brother.
Jaime's involvement in the Greyjoy's Rebellion is never mentioned in the books (it is briefly in the show), though as a member of the Kingsguard and a Lannister (the Greyjoy's initiated the rebellion by burning the Lannister fleet) it is all but certain he did have some involvement in putting down the rebellion.
A Game of Thrones
Jaime rides north when Robert Baratheon decides to replace the recently deceased Jon Arryn with Lord Eddard Stark as Hand of the King. He is amongst those that sit at the high lords table for the celebratory feast, entering the great hall alongside his younger brother.
Jaime uses the abandoned tower of Winterfell to secretly meet with his sister. Here they talk about the appointment of Eddard and the threat that Lysa Arryn poses. Bran Stark overhears them and then witnesses them having sexual intercourse in the tower. For this Jaime throws him out of a high window. Four days later, however, he is informed by Tyrion that Maester Luwin believes that Bran is going to live. He rides during the Hand's Tourney, where he easily unhorses Lord Bryce Caron and Ser Andar Royce, and later defeats Ser Barristan, reaching the final four of the competition. At the feast after the first day of fighting, Jaime tries to calm King Robert, but is instead pushed to the ground. Jaime jousts the following day, coming up against Sandor Clegane. Jaime gets the better of Sandor on the first pass, but on the second, he is thrown from the saddle.
For the attempted murder of Bran Stark, Tyrion is falsely arrested; in retaliation, Ser Jaime confronts Eddard Stark in the streets of King's Landing. When Ned argues that any attempt on his life will only give Catelyn cause to kill Tyrion, Jaime orders his men to kill the northern guards. Ned is gravely injured during the brawl that follows, but does indeed survive, while Jaime flees the city and heads to Casterly Rock.
During the early stages of what becomes the War of the Five Kings, Jaime wins a number of battles, at the Golden Tooth and Riverrun. At the same time, after King Robert's death and Joffrey's coronation, Ser Barristan Selmy is dismissed from the Kingsguard, making Jaime the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
During the Battle of the Whispering Wood, despite eventually losing the battle, Jaime attempts to cut down Robb Stark himself, killing Eddard and Torrhen Karstark before being taken prisoner. When brought before Robb after the battle, many of Robb's bannermen are desirous for Jaime's execution, and the Kingslayer is routinely protected from them, especially Rickard Karstark, who lost two sons to Jaime's sword.
A Clash of Kings
Tyrion promises to achieve Jaime's release upon being appointed as acting Hand of the King. Tyrion forms a plot to have Jaime broken out, but the plot is foiled by the untimely arrival of Edmure Tully. As this violates the laws of captives, Jaime in transferred from holding worthy of his station to the dungeons. Also in his absence, and without his knowledge, Cersei takes their cousin Lancel into her bed and makes him her lover.
Jaime is visited by Catelyn Stark, who interrogates him and gets him drunk. He confesses to being the father of Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella, but denies being the architect of the attempt on Bran's life, as he would have done it himself otherwise. Eventually, however, Jaime steers the conversation towards Brandon Stark and his father Rickard. He tells Catelyn the gruesome story of how the two men died at the hands of the Mad King, and how the Kingsguard present did nothing about it. He then taunts Catelyn with the existence of Jon Snow, proof that Ned Stark loved another woman. Catelyn angrily orders for Brienne of Tarth's sword.
A Storm of Swords
Jaime is released from custody by Catelyn, in defiance of her son, out of a desperate attempt to exchange the Kingslayer for her two daughters. Along with his fellow captive and cousin, Ser Cleos Frey, he is escorted by Brienne of Tarth. Jaime later shaves his head but keeps his beard, so that he is not recognized. He hates Brienne on sight and they frequently trade barbs.
They evade capture several times by a hunting party sent by Robb to recapture Jaime, but are unable to shake off their pursuers for long. On the way to Duskendale, Ser Cleos is killed during a skirmish with bandits. Jaime steals his sword and attacks Brienne, having grown tired of being her captive. The two of them engage in a vicious battle, and Jaime is shocked to realize that the woman is a match for him. The fight is interrupted by outlaws of the Brave Companions commanded by Vargo Hoat.
Vargo believes that his commander, Roose Bolton of the Dreadfort, is considering siding with the Lannisters following the Battle of Blackwater Bay. In order to stop this, Vargo has Jaime's hand cut off. Jaime is traumatized by his maiming, having relied on his fighting ability all of his life. He descends into a depression, until Brienne compels him to continue on living so that he can take revenge.
After arriving at Harrenhal and being taken into Bolton's custody, Jaime and Brienne share a bath. While in a mad fever, Jaime divulges his side of the Sack of King's Landing and how he slew the Mad King. While dining, Roose Bolton explains that Jaime will be released if he does not blame the Leech Lord for his maiming. When Jaime agrees, he is released, but Brienne is left behind for the entertainment of Vargo Hoat. However, Jaime returns to Harrenhal and rescues Brienne from Hoat.
Jaime learns on the road about the Red Wedding. When he returns to King's Landing, he learns also of his son Joffrey's death at the Purple Wedding. Upon his return, he is confronted by Ser Loras Tyrell, who has joined the Kingsguard. When the Knight of Flowers accuses Brienne for Renly's murder, Jaime persuades him to imprison her rather than facing her with bare steel. He then proceeds to the Sept of Baelor to see Cersei at last, consequently meeting Osmund Kettleblack, who aggressively mistakes him for a peasant. When he finally meets Cersei, they have sex next to Joffrey's dead body.
After this encounter, Jaime and Cersei's relationship begins to crumble to the ground. Jaime's imprisonment and relationship with Brienne has influenced Jaime quite significantly. Tywin procures a Valyrian steel sword for Jaime, the twin of another sword forged from Ice, but Jaime is only angered because his once-unparalleled skill has been taken from him. Father and son argue ferociously when Jaime refuses to resign from the Kingsguard and become the future Lord of Casterly Rock, leading to Tywin disowning Jaime. Jaime later calls a meeting in the White Sword Tower to analyse his Sworn Brothers and enforce the duties of the white cloak on them.
Jaime gives the Valyrian steel blade to Brienne, naming it Oathkeeper and tasking her with finding Sansa Stark. He provides her with gold, a horse and armour of her own, along with a letter sealed by King Tommen as she will be doing the king's service. When Tyrion is accused of Joffrey's murder, and both his conventional trial and his trial by combat end disastrously, Jaime is convinced of his brother's innocence. He ambushes Lord Varys and demands his aid in freeing Tyrion. During the escape, Jaime confesses to Tyrion about the incident between Tyrion and Tysha years ago - that she was not a whore, and that she loved Tyrion. Shocked, awed and furious at this, Tyrion hits him and falsely claims responsibility for Joffrey's murder. During this showdown, Tyrion tells his brother that Cersei has cheated on him repeatedly with Ser Lancel Lannister and Osmund Kettleblack. Jaime leaves, therefore not seeing Tyrion sneak into the Tower of the Hand and murder their father with a crossbow.
A Feast for Crows
Ser Jaime is amongst those contacted after Tywin Lannister is found dead. Jaime climbs down the shaft to investigate the secret passages, and Cersei laments sending the crippled Jaime. He then rejects Cersei's request of becoming Hand of the King, and gets slapped by her for embarrassing her in front of Qyburn, Puckens, Hoke, Shortear and the Kettleblacks. Jaime stands vigil over his father's corpse in the Great Sept of Baelor. He struggles throughout the book with how responsible he might be for his father's death, but even more with Tyrion's final taunt that Cersei had betrayed him by having sex with several other men, whilst he has remained completely loyal to her throughout.
At Tywin's funeral, Jaime comforts an upset and despairing Tommen, who cannot stand the stench of Tywin's corpse, but they are interrupted when a furious Cersei confronts them about Tommen's weakness. He also makes a failed attempt to try and reconcile Cersei and Kevan, as the latter leaves the capital with Tywin's body to return to Casterly Rock.