The pulse-pounding ending to season 7's "Spoils of War" wasn't just Game of Thrones
' best (or second best) choreographed battle, it was also the first time in the show's history that two "main" characters were facing off against each in a fatal clash. (Stannis and Tyrion's forces did brawl at the end of season 2 but at that point Stannis was a supporting character, at best.) The battle between Dany and the joint Lannister/Tarly forces was one where it really felt that Daenerys, Jaime or both was going to die.
"Spoils of War" didn't definitely kill off one character, leaving things off in a cliffhanger. Things don't look good for the one-handed Lannister. Jaime was last seen sinking to the bottom of a large pool of water. Jaime was saved from being burned alive but his armor might prove to be his drowning doom. The question isn't really whether Jaime could die but it's if HBO's Game of Thrones should let him die.
Why Jaime Should Die
The truth is that it will be very hard, logically, for Jaime to survive his latest battle. Jaime was sinking far too quickly and had way too heavy a suit of armor to think that he would be able to strip out of it and swim to the surface before drowning. However if Game of Thrones was able to have The Hound bounce back after seemingly breaking every bone in his legs and being left for dead, Jaime should be able to swim ashore.
More importantly though Jaime's death, while sudden, would serve as a nice end to his character. It's tragic and wasteful as he died trying to be heroic and failing but that is Jaime in a nutshell. Jaime has always been a figure that has done what he believes is right and been damned for it. Whether it was killing the Mad King or trying to save Brienne from the Bolton men, Jaime has always fallen short of a heroic ideal. Jaime is a bit of an idiot, a brave and brash idiot. Tyrion knew that Jaime was going to charge Dany from the second he saw he saw his brother alone on his horse and that is because the moment fit Jaime's character perfectly.
Jaime going out in an (almost) blaze of glory is strangely a far more happy fate for him than the alternative. Game of Thrones
keeps dropping hints that Jaime will eventually be the one to stop Cersei's reign of madness by killing her and obviously that will not end well for her brother/lover. In a interview with Entertainment Weekly,
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau didn't give up if his character died in the battle but he did admit, "It's not going to end well for Jaime Lannister, I can't imagine."
He's right. No matter how Jaime's story comes to an end, it doesn't look good for him. Jaime either dies at the bottom of a pool, drowned in his own armor or he lives another day to become even more miserable. Jaime hasn't just grown increasingly sympathetic as the series has gone along, he's also become much more somber. It really would be better for Jaime if he went out driving toward his enemies and not whatever more tragic fate awaits outside of a battlefield.
Why Jaime Shouldn't Die
There is something undeniably anti-climatic about "Spoils of War" being the last time Jaime is on screen. Jaime is not only a fan-favorite character, at this point, he has a lot of unfinished business. Game of Thrones kills off a lot of character but usually only when their story has reached a proper end. Jaime still has the knowledge that Olenna murdered Joffrey, not Tyrion. Game of Thrones has certainly had major characters die knowing something they should have shared, Ned with Jon's true parentage for instance. It does feel like a missed opportunity for Jaime to not talk to someone, whether it be Tyrion or Cersei, about this new information before he dies.
Olenna's final words to Jaime were an amazing way for the character to go out but the best thing about them was the implied effect they would have on the rest of the series. This news rattled Jaime in "Spoils of War" and should continue having repercussions for the rest of the family, until the series' end. If Jaime and Olenna are both dead, so does the truth about Joffrey's murder. Littlefinger certainly isn't telling anyone.
If Jaime does survive there are also two equally interesting story options open to the show. Either Jaime gets captured again by his enemies, this time by Tyrion instead of Robb Stark. Or he somehow survives to slink back to King's Landing. Of the two, the prisoner plot is way more compelling.
Tyrion and Jaime have had far too little time on screen together and the show could use much more of the Lannister brothers being together, especially in light of what has just been revealed to Jaime. There would also be something poetic about Jaime and Tyrion meeting again while one of them is in chains again. Jaime freed Tyrion so he could flee to Dany's court, it would be fascinating to see how Tyrion would respond to being in the opposite position.
"Spoils of War" saw the long-awaited reunion between the Stark children, but everything that happened was really expected. A reunion between the Lannister brothers is much more unpredictable and dramatic. Game of Thrones season 7 has seen a ton of reunions and pairings that fans have wanted and waited for years. It would only make sense to add Jaime and Tyrion to that list.
(Image courtesy of HBO)