Salon Says You Can't Like Jaime Anymore, So Suck It

I... disagree with this post from Salon, but more because I think that there's a big difference between liking an asshole character and "rooting for him." I'm not rooting for the hound, but the Arya/Hound Dream Team is still fantastic.

The article shoots itself in the foot a bit by opening with an argument that unfortunately is not a given:

By the final episodes of Breaking Bad, there was no doubt in most people's minds that Walter White was a bad man. He was no longer an anti-hero. He was a straight-up villain. [...] And yet, there was still some debate over whether it was OK to root for him, and even those of us who wanted him to die found some satisfaction in the fact that he took out others along the way and ultimately died in a kind of peaceful and fitting way. It wasn't satisfying in a revengeful way; it was satisfying in an almost romantic way.

Nope. Twitter was absolutely rife with people still calling Walter a hero and Skyler a meddling bitch. So many people were arguing that Walt was still a good man that Vince Gilligan had to come out and basically explain to them why they were wrong. It's not only not a given, but so much not a given that the show's creator had to explain the reality of the show and its lead character to his fans.

Jaime is essentially the opposite of Walter White, however. He starts out one-dimensional, evil, sneering and smug. And over time, he's become more complex, sympathetic and interesting. Until last week's episode, Jaime was on a path to redemption, and I suspect they're still going to try to play that hand. And as a book reader, I can't quite help the fact that I've already come to like Jaime as a character and it's hard for me to divorce how I feel about that character (and who he was up until last night's episode) and how I feel about a scene that I personally felt was out of character and poorly conceived.

The Salon article goes on to argue that we're overlooking Jaime's past crimes because of last season's buddy comedy with Brienne, but I disagree again. What the book did a better job of establishing is that after getting his hand cut off, Jaime feels that he's no longer Jaime. The hand that killed all of those people, the hand that shoved Bran out of the tower, etc. is literally gone. Because of the fact that the show doesn't do voice-overs, it's harder to get a character's internal struggle and mindset across, but this loss of identity is the reason why this character has any claim to redemption — what made him powerful and feared has been taken away. He can't even beat Bronn in a sparring match. And when he can't be the great warrior, what is he left with? That's a pretty compelling turning point, and I think it is natural to want to see where that goes, and to hope that he can be redeemed.

I agree that the rape makes this difficult, though, because until now Jaime has not been a violent asshole since his hand was removed. That's where the writers fucked up, and it will definitely make it harder to overlook his past crimes when he's committing new ones.

But ultimately, whether or not Jaime is anti-rape, and whether or not this moment was out of character and harmful for his redemption, my problem was less about Jaime specifically and more with a scene that came off as the writers and show runners looking for a way to "punish" a conniving female character.

It's interesting that so many people want to talk so much about Jaime while forgetting that this moment potentially makes Cersei more complex as well — she's now been raped by two men who promised to love her. Will we delve into that at all?

Somehow I doubt it.