Tower of the Hand

The Unforgiven and the Irredeemable

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10/9/2007 4:10:00 PM ET
It seems so long ago, but the Jaime Lannister we were first introduced to isn't the one we know now. In A Game of Thrones, we saw Jaime as the twincest-loving thug who tossed Bran from a tower, as the outraged brother who killed Jory Cassel in front of Eddard, as the savage soldier who cut down two Karstark boys in a failed attempt to slay Robb. Jaime was the villain of the story, the rising threat to our beloved Starks.

But A Clash of Kings changed that perception with one chapter: Catelyn VII. That's when Catelyn--and we as readers--first recognized the possibility that Jaime's infamous sins were not the result of his lacking moral values. We discovered more and more of his sordid past in A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows, and, while Eddard, Catelyn, and others correctly judged him guilty, we understood his motives and many of us began to root for him.

So explain this to me: how can so many readers accept Jaime for slaying a king, attempting to kill children, breaking oaths, and betraying family, yet continue to condemn other characters for crimes no worse than poor judgment? By burning Cersei's plea for help at the end of AFFC, does that heighten Jaime's chances of redemption? Or is he risking his salvation because he is forsaking someone that still defines him, for better or worse? Is Jaime even worthy of redemption, if not forgiveness?

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