If you’ve only seen the show Game of Thrones or not read all of the Song of Ice and Fire books, you might think I’m off my gourd. If you’ve never done either of those things, you haven’t got a flipping clue what I’m talking about.
Let’s back up for a moment. Assuming you know who Jaime Lannister is, you know that on the surface, he his an arrogant jackass who pushes children out windows. You know he’s known as the Kingslayer for killing King Aerys II Targaryen. And you know he’s been having a nearly life long incestuous affair with his twin sister, Cersei. Not the guy you want to be seated next to at the next family wedding, right? You would be right on all those counts, Jaime is all of those things.
Without getting into spoilers from the book, Jaime is also a lot more. I don’t want to give a lot a way for those that either haven’t read the books or haven’t read all of them. The gist is that after Jaime leaves the Stark camp with Brienne, she rubs off on him. Brienne is the anti-Jaime. They are both knights, but where he only takes his vows somewhat seriously, she’s devoted to them to her core. If she promises to do something, come hell or highwater, she’s going to do it. Jaime starts to reflect on himself and it affects him later on in the series.
That’s not what I mean though.
Jaime began life as a squire in his youth and was inducted into the Kingsguard at age 15, the youngest of any goldcloak. He does this for Cersei who manipulated the situation to get Jaime out of a marriage. This backfires when because her father becomes upset at the King for taking his eldest (and by his estimation, only) son into the Kingsguard. Goldcloaks swear for life, forsaking all lands and titles. Tywin picks up and leaves King’s Landing and his position as Hand of the King, and returns to Casterly Rock with Cersei. Jaime as a teenager in the Kingsguard witnesses the Mad King continue to become more mad and more cruel, especially with the rebellion that rose up around Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark. At the sack of King’s Landing the Mad King raves all day and sets his newly appointed Hand, a pyromancer, to burn the city, as he would rather murder a whole city than allow it to be taken. Aerys II had already killed his previous Hand by burning him alive when he dared argue with this plan. At all of seventeen years of age, Jaime Lannister, faced with a mad king who is ready to kill himself and everyone in King’s Landing, finally steps up, killing the pyromancer hand, and the mad king.
So while Jaime Lannister is a jerk, a murderer, and an arrogant piece of shit, he also had the bravery to stand up to his King at at seventeen and strike him down, saving a whole city of innocent people. How many grown men would have done the same? Not many. Certainly most didn’t bother. We don’t know for certain that saving the city and innocents was Jaime’s motivation for killing Aerys, but it seems so. For being able to stand up to a King, for doing the right thing and saving countless lives, that is why Jaime Lannister is the bravest man in Westeros.