The weirdest power couple in Westeros is Jaime Lannister and Cersei Baratheon, twin brother and sister who have sex with each other. It’s not just a casual thing — they love each other. Their complicated relationship becomes extra complicated thanks to the events of “Game of Thrones,” however. This is the story of those complications.
When “Game of Thrones” kicked off, Cersei was queen to Robert Baratheon’s king. Jaime, meanwhile, was a member of King Robert’s Kingsguard. As part of the Kingsguard, Jaime was forbidden from marrying or taking an inheritance — convenient for his relationship with Cersei because it meant they were usually near each other.
Unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, Cersei’s children were not fathered by King Robert — Jaime was the real dad. The Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, discovered this, noting that it was a big deal because it meant Robert’s heirs were not actually heirs. But while Jon Arryn’s death makes Cersei and Jaime look guilty, they actually don’t know who killed him.
In the series premiere, Jaime and Cersei travel with the king to Winterfell, where Robert recruits Ned Stark to be his new Hand. While there, the child Bran Stark catches Cersei and Jaime hooking up at the top of Winterfell’s tower. Jaime throws Bran out the window, crippling him.
Back in King’s Landing, Ned Stark soon picks up the trail left by Jon Arryn and confronts Cersei about it. She doesn’t deny that her children are Jaime’s. In the North, an assassin is sent to finish off Bran but is foiled by his direwolf. Catelyn tries to find out who sent the assassin, and is told by Littlefinger that the dagger used in the attempt belonged to Tyrion Lannister. In response, Catelyn takes Tyrion captive and brings him to trial in the Vale. In King’s Landing, Jaime fights and wounds Ned, demanding Catelyn free Tyrion. Robert demands they end this conflict, but is killed by a boar on a hunting trip soon after.
Ned attempts to expose Cersei and Jaime, but gets locked up and then executed by the new bastard king Joffrey. The execution kicks off a four-way, continent-wide war between the Lannisters, Robert’s brothers Stannis and Renly, and Ned’s son Robb, the King in the North. All because of Jaime and Cersei’s incestuous relationship.
Jaime, known as the best swordsman in the Seven Kingdoms, goes off to war, leaving Cersei behind in King’s Landing as queen mother. Jaime is captured by the Starks, and it will be years before Cersei and Jaime see each other again. Cersei takes up with her young cousin Lancel in Jaime’s absence, and ruminates on how Joffrey’s insanity is probably her and Jaime’s fault.
Catelyn Stark frees Jaime and charges Brienne of Tarth with returning him to King’s Landing in hopes that the Lannisters will free her daughters, Arya and Sansa, in kind. Jaime’s journey home is a long one, full of winding detours — and he loses his sword hand along the way. Jaime returns to Cersei broken, with none of the arrogant swagger that had previously defined him. The change threatens their relationship. Cersei indicates that she may have fallen out of love with Jaime while he was gone.
Their son Joffrey is poisoned at his wedding feast, deepening the tensions. Cersei is, of course, angry, and demands Jaime kill Tyrion, assuming he was responsible. Jaime refuses, they yell a lot, and then Jaime forces himself on Cersei in the sept next to Joffrey’s body.
Cersei and Jaime continue not getting along for much of Season 4, but they tentatively start to drift back together near the end, despite her murderous rage toward Tyrion that Jaime definitely does not share. Jaime freeing Tyrion from his imprisonment, after which Tyrion murdered their father Tywin with a crossbow, drives them apart again.
When it becomes clear that their daughter Myrcella, who lives in Dorne and is set to marry Prince Trystane to firm up the crown’s alliance with the country, is in danger, Cersei lashes out at Jaime for not being a father to their children. Jaime, taking this as a challenge, travels to Dorne with Bronn in hopes of retrieving Myrcella and protecting her. He fails, however, as Myrcella is poisoned by Elaria Sand as they set sail back for King’s Landing.
While Jaime is in Dorne, Cersei is imprisoned by the Faith Militant for her past sexual relationship with Lancel. She is forced to atone by walking naked through the streets of King’s Landing from the Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep, a humiliating experience.
That “atonement” combined with the death of Myrcella hardens Cersei against the world but softens her to Jaime. She decides they will be together once more, everyone else be damned. It’s time for them to look out for their own interests, because at this point, with their father dead, two of their three children dead, and Tyrion on the other side of the world, nobody else is going to watch out for them or their last son, King Tommen. From here out, it’s Jaime and Cersei against the world.
When King Tommen declares a partnership between the crown and the Faith of the Seven, he also removes Jaime from the Kingsguard and exiles him from King’s Landing. Thus Jaime and Cersei are separated for the first time in Season 6 — as Jaime leads a Lannister host to Riverrun to end the threat of the Blackfish and House Tully, and help the Freys take back the castle.
Having successfully, and peacefully, removed the Tullys from Riverrun, Jaime is determined to return to King’s Landing and reunite with Cersei. Meanwhile, Cersei is hatching some kind of plot with Qyburn to remove the High Sparrow from power.
In the Season 6 finale, Tommen commits suicide by jumping out of the high tower — harkening back to Bran’s fall at the hands of Jaime — after Margaery and countless others are killed by his mother in a wildfire explosion, the culmination of Cersei’s plan to eliminate her enemies. This means that all of Cersei’s children are gone, leaving her to sit the Iron Throne. Jaime returns to King’s Landing just in time to watch her crowned in a grim and ominous ceremony.
Season 7 sees more strain between Cersei and Jaime. Cersei is courted by Euron Greyjoy, who wants to marry her and gain the Iron Throne. He brings Cersei’s enemies, Ellaria Sand and her daughter, Tyene, as well as Yara Greyjoy, to King’s Landing as a gift to prove his worth.
Jaime isn’t happy about the prospect of someone else marrying Cersei, even if she says the whole thing is an act to get Euron as an ally in the war against Daenerys.
Jaime and Cersei are at odds again when the pair brilliantly anticipate Tyrion’s move and leave him Casterly Rock while they attack Highgarden and Lady Olenna. Jaime convinces Cersei that Lady Olenna’s death should be painless, although Cersei wanted to torture her. Olenna reveals to Jaime in her last moments that it was she who killed their son, Joffrey.
When Jaime finally makes it back to King’s Landing after the Lannister loot train is attacked, he tells Cersei that against dragons and Dothraki, there’s no way they can win the war. But Cersei doesn’t think they can do anything but fight, while Jaime is leaning more and more toward trying to find a way to peace.
Jaime secretly meets with Tyrion about seeking a truce to fight the Night King, but Cersei finds out. She considers his meeting with Tyrion a betrayal. Jaime tells Cersei that it was Olenna who killed their son and not Tyrion, but Cersei doesn’t much care. She reveals to Jaime that she’s pregnant with another of their children, and warns him not to betray her again.
Jaime isn’t happy when Cersei reveals that she was lying when she agreed to a truce with Daenerys and Jon Snow. She also reveals that she doesn’t plan to send her troops north to fight the Night King. Jaime is furious, seeing the Night King as an existential threat that’s more important than anything else, and he refuses to break his word to go north and fight. When Cersei momentarily seems like she might order the Mountain to kill Jaime for his disobedience, the pair have a serious falling out. Jaime leaves King’s Landing alone and heads for Winterfell.