Game of Thrones may be an epic fantasy series, but its core structure is built on very real, albeit amplified, human relationships and emotions.
In the cruel universe of GoT, friendships are the bedrock of betrayal and romantic relationships are doomed to fail. But the one thing it manages to genuinely carve out is the nuance that makes up a sibling relationship.
Through the years, the series showed us extreme sibling rivalry with the Clegane brothers and an uncomfortable to digest incestuous relationship with Lannister twins — Jaime and Cersei. However, it also managed to balance the scale with the unconditional love and mutual respect shared by brothers, Jaime and Tyrion.
Episode 5 gave us some heartfelt moments of despair. But the emotional centrepiece of the episode was the poignant farewell between the two Lannister brothers.
Not only was this the perfect goodbye for a beloved character who’s close to his end, it also served as mutual acknowledgement of how wonderful they’ve been to each other.
If it weren’t for you, I never would have survived my childhood. You were the only one that didn’t treat me like a monster. You were all I had,
Tyrion says, as he bids Jaime goodbye. This serves as testimony to their loving and supportive relationship. In the first act, Tyrion passes the test of loyalty to Dany when he weeds Varys out as a traitor. But immediately after, it is evident that he’s ready to risk his life and loyalty when it comes to saving Jaime.
Succinctly put by Tyrion, Jaime has been his lifelong support system.
We first see glimpses of this when we’re introduced to the two at Winterfell. They’re essentially raw versions of themselves who haven’t come into their own. But their mutual love is evident as is the hatred Cersei has for Tyrion. Jibed and jeered at for being a dwarf, Tyrion’s only solace was his protective big brother, who could always see beyond his disability.
Jaime’s loyalty is eventually repaid when Tyrion comes to his rescue when the world shuns him for losing his combat hand. He’s the only one who helps him overcome his lost self-esteem by getting him to re-train and switch his sword-hand.
Even in the worst times, they’ve afforded each other unwavering support. We see the first glimpse of this when Jaime attacks Ned Stark and holds him at ransom for Tyrion’s release in the first season. Back then, he was far more unlikeable but his motivation of protecting his brother shone through.
Later in the series, Jaime even throws himself under the bus in order to save Tyrion from the unfair trial he was going to get. He tries to strike a deal with his father — giving up his position in the King’s Guard to become heir to Casterly Rock in return for his brother’s release.
However, this doesn’t work out thanks to Shae’s testimony and Oberyn Martell’s hubris. But Jaime still risks everything to let Tyrion escape and get a new chance at life.
A perfect foreshadowing of Tyrion helping Jaime escape later in the series, the gesture is symbolic of how their relationship is the one constant that remains no matter how much changes all around.
After Tyrion aligns with Daenerys, him and Jaime end up on opposite warring sides.
There is an implied animosity between them owing to the sides they’ve chosen. But in one particular moment, when Drogon is about to spit fire around where Jaime is standing, Tyrion gets evidently concerned for his brother’s safety.
This subtle act speaks volumes about how they’ve remained loyal to each other. Despite everything around them changing to the extent that they’re on opposite warring sides, these two have managed to rise above their alignments and remain devoted to each other.
While both Jaime and Tyrion lie in a morally ambiguous grey area throughout the series, they truly brought out the best in each other.
Although different, their lives were parallels of each other especially when it came to their selfless pursuit of the betterment of the people.
Jaime took it upon himself to kill the Mad King, Aerys to save the lives of many.
And later on, Tyrion risks being executed for treason if it meant saving the people from the ‘Mad Queen’.
In their own questionable way, both fought with external forces and their inner selves for the greater good.
Amidst all the bloodshed and overall gloom of the series, this was a relationship that genuinely stood strong and made it out of many a war and battle. Even the armistice which was achieved mid-war between team Cersei and Dany was thanks to the two brothers still standing by each other.
Jaime’s eventual demise may have seemed unfair for several reasons, but the final goodbye he got with his brother is a fitting conclusion to what was the best part of both their lives.
Apart from acknowledging his love, Tyrion, who was always Jaime’s moral compass, finally accepts his and Cersei’s relationship before helping him escape. This is a fitting conclusion to Jaime’s journey that has come full circle — having gained unconditional support from the brother he supported throughout his life.
In his final moments, our hearts cried for Jaime. But what made it even more heartbreaking and, at the same time, satisfying was his final and emotional goodbye with his brother.
Jaime and Tyrion were not perfect individuals. But together they were the purest and most wholesome sibling duo that stood through in a universe where no relationship is sacred.