(Spoilers ahead for the “Game of Thrones” Season 7 finale.)
Throughout Season 7, a break between Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) and her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has been brewing. In the finale episode, “The Wolf and the Dragon,” their growing rift finally tore completely, with Jaime leaving King’s Landing and his sister.
Does that mean Cersei and Jaime are done for good, their relationship completely ruined? It seems likely, given what we know about Cersei — even if her love for Jaime has been a driving force in her life up to now.
A lot of the distance growing between Jaime and Cersei can be attributed to their pasts. As Jaime revealed to Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) way back in Season 3, Jaime hates being called “Kingslayer” and treated as an oathbreaker. He’s leaned into the role of a dishonorable person largely because it was thrust upon him, but his time spent with Brienne helped convince him that he didn’t have to be the arrogant bad guy that he was during the first and part of the second season.
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That’s been playing out in Jaime’s character ever since. He helped Brienne on more than one occasion, even when they were technically enemies. Though he threatened to kill Edmure Tully’s (Tobias Menzies) baby in order to get him to surrender Riverrun, that actually seemed like a smart ploy to save lives rather than a real threat at infanticide. And finally, there’s Jaime’s departure from King’s Landing itself — he gave his word that he would help fight the White Walkers, and that’s what he plans to do. His honor means something to him.
Cersei, on the other hand, has lost just about everything. People have controlled her life and her body, and murdered her children. Her response to what she’s suffered is to demand absolute loyalty and destroy anyone who opposes her. She values her children more than anything, and now that Jaime is gone, she just about has nothing to lose. That one last thing — the baby in her belly — possible being the thing that keeps her from being too torn up about Jaime leaving. Remember what she said as he was leaving, after he said that if all she cares about is her family then she needs to care about him, the last of her family members on her side: “There’s one more yet to come.”
Cersei has hardened to the world throughout the course of “Game of Thrones,” but more than just looking out for the child in her womb there are signs she still has a chance to soften. She easily could have had both Tyrion and Jaime killed in the finale — Tyrion even dared her to give the order, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. For as much as she’s raged about Tyrion over the years, there’s still something holding her back. And there will likely always be something holding her back from truly going after Jaime.
But while we know Jaime and Cersei have an intense bond and love for each other, it seems doubtful either would go back to the other despite that. But one thing we know about Cersei is she doesn’t take betrayal, or even moderate disloyalty, very well. She told Jaime earlier in Season 7 not to ever betray her again — the previous “betrayal” to which she referred being a clandestine meeting with Tyrion under King’s Landing, which is a pretty harsh way to describe that. Knowing how tough Cersei is about dealing with people she perceives as enemies, it seems possible that even if Jaime did come back, Cersei may just have the Mountain waiting for him. But given that she didn’t take the opportunity with Tyrion or Jaime this week, she certainly comes off as a wild card moving forward.
So is that the end for the Lannister twins? On “Game of Thrones,” you should never say never, but the evidence is stacked pretty highly in favor of the break being permanent.
What’s really going to shake things up is when Cersei’s war for Westeros meets the one Jaime is riding north to fight. Eventually, it seems, they’ll have to grapple with being on opposite sides for the first time ever.