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Was Jaime right to push Bran?


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#1 KingslayerHodor

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:38 AM

The vast majority of people hate Jaime because of what is in their opinion his greatest crime: pushing Bran out the window. They often claim that it's disgusting for Jaime to attempt to kill a child for the sake of his family. In this thread, I want to argue that it isn't so clear whether it was wrong for Jaime to push Bran out of the window. I don't want to defend this action, but I at least want to show that it isn't as obviously wrong as everyone thinks it is. To start with, I want to consider the two major perspectives on morality in normative ethics: utilitarianism and Kantian ethics.

 

Utilitarianism (to be more precise, act utilitarianism) is the view that an act is morally right if and only if it an act maximizes the good. I don't want to get into how the goodness of this act would be evaluated (some distinguish between the expected amount of goodness as a result of an action vs. the actual amount of goodness). Now, it's plain here how Jaime had reason in pushing Bran out of the window. He had 5 lives to save: his own, Cersei's, Joffrey's, Myrcella's and Tommen's. Killing Bran would prevent 5 other lives from being lost. 

 

Kantian ethics is not concerned with the consequences of an action: it says that one ought to do the right thing for the sake of itself. So, for example, you should help a grandma cross the street because it's the right thing to do. And you should avoid wrong things for the same reason. Kant himself argued that you have a special duty to protect your family as opposed to protecting a stranger. It's not hard to see how this would play out: you have a special duty to protect 5 family members as opposed to protecting 1 stranger. 

 

Many people have argued that Jaime was wrong in pushing Bran out of the window simply because he was risking an affair with Cersei, since they were risking the lives of their family and themselves. Now, I don't want to deny that Jaime and Cersei were foolish in doing this. But I think this is wholly irrelevant. It doesn't matter if they were having an affair, because it doesn't change the value of Jaime's action at that very moment. That is, his having a risky affair with Cersei doesn't make his family's lives any less valuable.

 

Now that I've presented the major philosophical perspectives, I want to ask everyone a question. What would you do if you were in Jaime's situation? Would you push Bran out of the window to save yourself, your sister-lover and your family? I'm sure everyone on this thread isn't so clear on what they'd do. Many are likely to push a child out of the window to save themselves and their family. This isn't even surprising, since evolution has shaped us to care more for ourselves and our family rather than a stranger's child. 

 

Something I find really funny is the major double standard exhibited in some of the posts I've seen. Now, Jaime is considered to be this evil, awful character, while Ned, who is considered the paragon of morality by the vast majority of the people here, isn't even so sure what he'd do:

 

If it came to that, the life of some child I did not know, against Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon, what would I do? Even more so, what would Catelyn do, if it were Jon's life, against the children of her body? He did not know. He prayed he never would.

 

Jaime's actor thinks the same way I do. He doesn't think Jaime is a bad guy, either:

 

And we know that if Bran tells anyone about this Cersei will die, all the beautiful kids that Jaime and Cersei have, and also, by the way, this whole orphanage they’ve all been raising, they will all die. The fact that Jaime pushes this little monster out the window and tries to kill him — he didn’t have a choice. It was either this little monster kid, or all these orphans and Cersei. One of the things I love about that scene is when Jaime says, “The things I do for love” and then he pushes Bran out. He’s not proud of it, but at the time he knows there are no other options. He knows that if Bran tells anyone, it’s over. He’s going to die, she’s going to die. It would mean the end of the Lannister family. It’s not because he’s an evil psychopath. It’s not something he’s proud of, but he has to do it.

 

My point is just he’s not a bad guy in my world. I’m not saying he’s a good guy. He’s just a human being. He’s a human being who’s put in a world where choices can have extreme consequences, where he has been forced to deal with life and death, and that’s made him who he is.

 

I hope I was able to at least somewhat convince you that it's not so indefensible for Jaime to push Bran out the window. There are many ethically sound ways to justify his action, and even Ned himself isn't sure what he would do. If we are going to give Jaime crap at all for his crimes, we should do it for killing Ned's men--which was pretty unnecessary and immature, but done out of anger--rather than pushing Bran to his death.


Edited by KingslayerHodor, 14 May 2014 - 06:38 AM.


#2 Ser Barristan the Badass

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:20 AM

I see what you mean but to be honest he shouldn't fuck his sister in the first place. I love Jaime cos he is a complex character but I can never forgive him for this. Although I think he already got punished for it when he got his sword hand cut off which was the most important thing for him. 


Edited by Ser Barristan the Badass, 14 May 2014 - 07:21 AM.


#3 jet199

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:30 AM

The trouble is that the main reason Jaime pushes Bran is because Cersei wants him to. This is underlined by GRRM having Jaime tell us that he would have killed Arya just because Cersei wanted him to. Jaime is not that worried about Bran as he knows that Bran probably doesn't understand what he saw and if Bran does tell it would give Jaime an excuse to kill Robert and declare his live publicly, which is what AGOT/ACOK Jaime fantasies about doing.

#4 Dofs

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:39 AM

As despicable act as it is, I don't hate Jaime because of it at all, because I'm pretty sure the majority of people would do the same and every single person would think of doing it, if they were in Jaime's place.

 

 

The trouble is that the main reason Jaime pushes Bran is because Cersei wants him to. This is underlined by GRRM having Jaime tell us that he would have killed Arya just because Cersei wanted him to. Jaime is not that worried about Bran as he knows that Bran probably doesn't understand what he saw and if Bran does tell it would give Jaime an excuse to kill Robert and declare his live publicly, which is what AGOT/ACOK Jaime fantasies about doing.

I am pretty sure GRRM defended Jaime not once in his interviews about the whole Bran situation exactly because releasing him would mean death for Cersei, their children and him.



#5 Drogon'sWrath

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:39 AM

I understand the fact that if Bran told, he, Cersei, and their children might have died.  From that perspective alone, I'm not convinced I wouldn't do the same thing.  However, I can't justify his actions and here's why.

 

1) He and Cersei put themselves in the position of possibly getting caught by having sex in Winterfell.  They put themselves at great risk to get caught.  It would have been their own fault had Bran seen them, gotten away unseen, and then told.  I can't really sympathize with them in this situation because they were doing it in an unknown place where they would be at higher risk of getting caught.  Just imagine if someone were to walk through the door instead.

2) Like jet199 above said, Jaime pushed Bran because Cersei wanted him to.  He did it reluctantly, and it seems as if the primary reason of pushing Bran wasn't to save himself but to please Cersei, which is consistent with Jaime's character at the time.

 

Given the above points, I can certainly understand Jaime's pushing of Bran, but I cannot justify it.


Edited by Drogon'sWrath, 14 May 2014 - 07:40 AM.


#6 Nettles

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 07:56 AM

Kantian ethics or not, this is Martin's world and Jaime violated guest right, the number one sin in Westeros. He ate Ned's bread and salt, then defenestrated his son. I believe fornication and incest are also considered breach of guest right. Jaime is doomed. 

I get your point, that's why I am not going to discuss christian ethics and get into verbal gymnastics. 

 

What would I have done in his situation? I am an only child and don't engage in behaviors that would enquire such actions. 

 

IIRR Cersei told him later he shouldn't have done it. That Bran didn't know what he saw and she would have threatened him into silence. It was in the chapter they were discussing the blade and it transpired it was Jeoff who had sent it to make his daddy proud.

 

The problem with Jaime is he often acts before he thinks. Flings kids out of windows, jumps into bear pits, has sex next to son's corpse....etc., etc..



#7 Greywolf2375

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:10 AM

Kantian ethics or not, this is Martin's world and Jaime violated guest right, the number one sin in Westeros. He ate Ned's bread and salt, then defenestrated his son. I believe fornication and incest are also considered breach of guest right. Jaime is doomed. 

I get your point, that's why I am not going to discuss christian ethics and get into verbal gymnastics. 

 

What would I have done in his situation? I am an only child and don't engage in behaviors that would enquire such actions. 

 

IIRR Cersei told him later he shouldn't have done it. That Bran didn't know what he saw and she would have threatened him into silence. It was in the chapter they were discussing the blade and it transpired it was Jeoff who had sent it to make his daddy proud.

 

The problem with Jaime is he often acts before he thinks. Flings kids out of windows, jumps into bear pits, has sex next to son's corpse....etc., etc..

I think you're a little overstating what guest right represents to Westeros.  It's not a law on the books, it is a tradition. 

 

"fornication and incest" in no way harm the host, those actions wouldn't break guest right.



#8 Dofs

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:41 AM

I understand the fact that if Bran told, he, Cersei, and their children might have died.  From that perspective alone, I'm not convinced I wouldn't do the same thing.  However, I can't justify his actions and here's why.

 

1) He and Cersei put themselves in the position of possibly getting caught by having sex in Winterfell.  They put themselves at great risk to get caught.  It would have been their own fault had Bran seen them, gotten away unseen, and then told.  I can't really sympathize with them in this situation because they were doing it in an unknown place where they would be at higher risk of getting caught.  Just imagine if someone were to walk through the door instead.

2) Like jet199 above said, Jaime pushed Bran because Cersei wanted him to.  He did it reluctantly, and it seems as if the primary reason of pushing Bran wasn't to save himself but to please Cersei, which is consistent with Jaime's character at the time.

 

Given the above points, I can certainly understand Jaime's pushing of Bran, but I cannot justify it.

1) The problem I have with this argument is that ok, it was their fault for being in that tower in the first place so what Jaime was supposed to do? Tell Cersei 'Fine, it's our fault for being here, let's meet tomorrow with our children in afterlife'?

2) Seriously? To please Cersei? :huh: And why would Cersei be pleased if Bran would die? Oh, because she would still be alive. 



#9 Melisandros Megas

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:45 AM

Let's see here:

Jaime defenestrated Bran because:
Cersei wanted him to,
To protect family honour and
To delay the metaphorical shit hitting the metaphorical fan.

Ned killed Lady because:
Cersei wanted him to,
To protect family honour and
To delay the shit hitting the fan.

#10 TheSnape

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:57 AM

This and going after Arya are actually the only morally wrong acts I can find Jaime doing.

 

Although it is a quite wrong act.

 

And Jaime has done so many selfless, brave, honorable things since I've all but forgiven him. Or at least think he would be a good heir to Casterly Rock if Tyrion dies



#11 TheButcherCrow

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:03 AM

In a meta sense I find it strange that people get angry at Jaime for attempting to murder Bran.  It's like getting mad at Judas for betraying Jesus or the Jews for not saving him.  If Jesus doesn't die on the cross then there is no eternal salvation, Judas & the Jews were just playing their part.  Similarly, if Jaime doesn't push Bran, Bran is never in a coma, never meets Bloodraven & Westeros is destroyed by the WW.  In a non-meta sense, are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!?!?!  No.  No no no no no no no no no, it is NEVER acceptable to murder an 8yr old.  The OP acts as if Jaime had no choice, that if he doesn't push Bran then Cersei & his kids die immediately, that's not true.  He could have took Cersei & the children & fled tyo Essos.  He could have simply threatened Bran, the kid's EIGHT ffs!!  The other choices he had may have been very difficult to make but he had a choice and basically he chose the easy option.



#12 CorporalHicks

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:14 AM

He doesn't have to explain himself but pushing an innocent child out the window to save your skin from a situation that YOU put yourself in is one of the scummiest things I can think of.



#13 Dofs

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:14 AM

In a meta sense I find it strange that people get angry at Jaime for attempting to murder Bran.  It's like getting mad at Judas for betraying Jesus or the Jews for not saving him.  If Jesus doesn't die on the cross then there is no eternal salvation, Judas & the Jews were just playing their part.  Similarly, if Jaime doesn't push Bran, Bran is never in a coma, never meets Bloodraven & Westeros is destroyed by the WW.  In a non-meta sense, are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!?!?!  No.  No no no no no no no no no, it is NEVER acceptable to murder an 8yr old.  The OP acts as if Jaime had no choice, that if he doesn't push Bran then Cersei & his kids die immediately, that's not true.  He could have took Cersei & the children & fled tyo Essos.  He could have simply threatened Bran, the kid's EIGHT ffs!!  The other choices he had may have been very difficult to make but he had a choice and basically he chose the easy option.

Well, GRRM believes he had no options. I tend to agree with him. You can't flee to Essos from Winterfell with king wanting you dead. And exactly because Bran is eight, he can't be threatened or bought. After being threatened Bran would very likely run to his parents and tell them everything.



#14 Gerd

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:22 AM

Let's see here:

Jaime defenestrated Bran because:
Cersei wanted him to,
To protect family honour and
To delay the metaphorical shit hitting the metaphorical fan.

Ned killed Lady because:
Cersei wanted him to,
To protect family honour and
To delay the shit hitting the fan.

 

Disobeying cercei which is queen could very well mean death unless the king orders against it . In jaime's case he and the cercei were in the same shit in case  he didn't do what she wanted . And i doubt he was protecting honour , he was just protecting his familiy , mainly cersei and himself in my opinion . He acts on impulse . Jaime has come a long way since the start , but this act was unforgivable .

In a meta sense I find it strange that people get angry at Jaime for attempting to murder Bran.  It's like getting mad at Judas for betraying Jesus or the Jews for not saving him.  If Jesus doesn't die on the cross then there is no eternal salvation, Judas & the Jews were just playing their part.  Similarly, if Jaime doesn't push Bran, Bran is never in a coma, never meets Bloodraven & Westeros is destroyed by the WW.  In a non-meta sense, are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!?!?!  No.  No no no no no no no no no, it is NEVER acceptable to murder an 8yr old.  The OP acts as if Jaime had no choice, that if he doesn't push Bran then Cersei & his kids die immediately, that's not true.  He could have took Cersei & the children & fled tyo Essos.  He could have simply threatened Bran, the kid's EIGHT ffs!!  The other choices he had may have been very difficult to make but he had a choice and basically he chose the easy option.

I think that you can't predict what would happen . IMHO if jaime didn't push bran and he talked , bloodraven might simply find someone else and bran still hasn't saved westeros until now . On the other hand you could simply assume that stormlanders and northmen would have marched against lannisters . You could assume that the tyrells would have sided with robert seeing as with cercei dead they would want to marry robert to margaery , making the lannister cause a lost one . Maybe robert may be generous to stannis this time giving him casterly rock and we wouldn't see stannis with melisandre . In this scenario ned , robert , robb are all alive . They would be of great help in the upcoming apocalypse , you can also add to that barristan who would still be a kingsguard . Aegon had he still decided to land on westeros with a force small as his would have been crushed instanteniously . The realm would be united in the face of the apocalypse instead of constant wars right and left . 

All in all you cannot predict so easily what would have happened


Edited by Gerd, 14 May 2014 - 09:25 AM.


#15 LROSyke

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:30 AM

Hahah. No.

Jaime is a tool and his death will be satisfying. The Kingslayer must go.

#16 Hanzo Hasashi

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:37 AM

To put it simply: Jamie was doing something fucked up by banging Cersei and he knew it, got caught, and should have faced the music.  Instead he took the cowardly route.

 

If your whole family is suddenly at jeopardy, guess who put them there?  YOUR dumbass by taking a selfish risk in the first place.  Shit pisses me off.....that scene has been overshadowed by how much Jamie we've seen since then, but after rehashing that event in this thread, I can't wait to see that dude get murked.  He absolutely deserves it.


Edited by Hanzo Hasashi, 14 May 2014 - 09:38 AM.


#17 Winterfell's Revenge

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:43 AM

As despicable act as it is, I don't hate Jaime because of it at all, because I'm pretty sure the majority of people would do the same and every single person would think of doing it, if they were in Jaime's place.

 

 

 

 

 

This is the biggest load of BS I have ever read.



#18 Hellothere

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:46 AM

 

 

This is the biggest load of BS I have ever read.

 

Depends what the poster means.  If the position was "kill this child you just met to save your own 3 children", then they have a point.



#19 TheButcherCrow

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:48 AM

 

All in all you cannot predict so easily what would have happened

I'm not claiming that it is easy to predict, I simply wished to attempt to illustrate that Jaime had choices.   As for whoever said  "you can't flee to Essos from Winterfell when the king wants you dead" I'm calling ,BS.  Robert was away hunting, presumably with a decent amount of his retinue, it would have been difficult to flit but not impossible.  You could make for Eastwatch and cross from there.  It would have been hard, dangerous but it would have had some measure of honour. Shock horror Jaime chose the quick, easy & dishonourable option.  I also need to take issue with the assumption that on the word of an eight yr old Robert would execute his wife, children, brother-in-law and start a civil war with the richest man in Westeros. I don't think that's guaranteed by any means.



#20 Sweetgirl205

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:50 AM

Jamie often acts before thinking. He probably acted out of the easiest way to make sure Bran never said told what he saw. Jamie isn't a bad guy, but I don't think he is a hero either.