Game of Thrones is many things. It's a fantasy story about dragons. It's a political intrigue drama on par with House of Cards. It's a story about how the weather is coming to kill us while our leaders play stupid power games. It's a story about conquest and rebellion. But most of all, it's a character-driven tale about identity. Over the last seven seasons, it's been about characters discovering who they truly are inside, what kind of person they want to be. And now a new Game Of Thrones Season 8 clue suggests one character, Jaime Lannister, will spend Season 8 learning what many of our characters have already figured out: You can't change your core self.
Characters have tried to deny their core selves over the seasons. Arya is the most obvious: Trying to erase her identity because being a Stark became too painful after losing nearly all her family. By the end of Season 6, though, she knew she couldn't do it. A Girl was Arya Stark of Winterfell, and there was no changing it.
Season 8 will test what's in a name for Jon Snow when he finds out he's really Aegon Targaryen. People will certainly look at him differently once they know. But Jon Snow already knows who he is deep down. He died learning it once already. It's hard to imagine a name change will alter his core self.
And then there's Jaime.
Jaime's core has always been Cersei. Speaking to Vanity Fair about his decision last season to walk away from his sister in the Season 7 finale, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime, admitted he knew it was coming.
That was great, because then you know ... She’s actually almost ready to kill him, it seems for a second, and that breaks his heart, because his whole life has been about her.
But what does this mean going into Season 8? Coster-Waldau is very philosophical about the challenges ahead.
Can we redefine ourselves? Most people have moments in their life where you go, ‘Can I really, fundamentally change?’ ... The core of him has always been Cersei. ... When that’s taken away, what are you then? What’s left? Is there anything left? When he leaves, obviously he has no idea. He doesn’t know the answer to that question.
But Game of Thrones, over and over, teaches us people don't change, not fundamentally. In some cases, they literally can't change, even when their lives, and the well-being of thousands, depend on it. Coster-Waldau seems aware Jaime may have walked away from Cersei at the end of Season 7, but it was a moment of cold rage that drove him. Will it stick?
I’ve almost been married 20 years — June 6th will be our 20th anniversary — and I’m very, very lucky. I have a wonderful wife. But over 20 years, there are times where you have fights. You can be so angry that for a second in your passion and anger you can go, ‘Oh, f*ck this.’ Of course, three seconds later, you go, ‘No, no, no. What am I doing? What am I thinking?’ ... I think the fundamental emotions are the same in every relationship. As a setup for the season we’re shooting now, it was just amazing.
(Coster-Waldau then apologizes to his wife when she reads this for comparing their relationship to Jaime and Cersei. Smart man.)
Will Jaime be able to find a new version of himself, freed of Cersei in the six short episodes before the show comes to an end? Or will he wind up turning back to the man he's always been deep down, and return to her before it's all over?
Game of Thrones Season 8 will turn up eventually in 2019 on HBO.