This is not going to end well, but I had to share this thought of mine somewhere.
I have seen many people applaud GRRM for Jaime's character arc, making a guy they despised when he shoved Bran out of the window into the guy they cheered for. Alternatively, people say "yeah, Jaime is pretty cool now, but he shoved a kid out of the window, nothing could redeem him after THAT"
Let me preface this by saying that I adore children and that Bran is my second favorite character of asoiaf. However, I have never found that particular act villainous (in comparison for, say, Jaime's willingness to harm Arya just because Cersei asked him to)
At the start of GoT, many people hate Jaime. The hate is unjust even from their limited knowledge (that king seriously deserved to burn). It's VERY unjust when you take into account the fact that Jaime killed him to save King's Landing. The Starks are the heart of this hate, Ned the first person to judge Jaime.
The realm insults him, the king mocks him, literally the only people who stand by Jaime are his family. As he says himself, he is a warrior, Cersei's lover and nothing else.
Cersei is a light of his life, his sun, stars and moon all together. Bran is a kid of man he hates.
Bran spilling the beans about the incest would mean:
- the end of Jaime
- the end of Cersei
- the end of their children (although at that point he cares about them more as extension of his love's happiness)
- the end of Lannister family (Robert's pretty non-discriminative in his wrath)
Bran's death means... Bran's death.
Now could there be other means of securing Bran's silence? Probably, but neither of those would be sure. What's even more important, Jaime is not really a thinker until his hand gets chopped off. When threatened, he acts entirely under the flight-or-fight response, which is geared towards fight in his case (see: aerys)
So he kills a kid of a man he hates to save his love, to save their children, to save his family. Even Ned Stark, in fact, thinks he might have done the same. Hell, he thinks Catelyn might have done the same (and Catelyn would - see: Jinglebell). Is that a perfect hero? No. Is that a grey act but not black? I don't think how that could be debated. In fact, regarding the act himself, I would take Jaime over person who let their family die because he just couldn't harm an innocent kid.
Of course, there is a fact Jaime doesn't show remorse for Bran's fate for a looong time. That is, I believe, a bit more like a "villain". But we should note that Jaime was, at that point, dead inside, a deeply bitter man who only lived for short interactions with his family, bursts of adrenaline during the fights, and most of all Cersei. When he comes alive again, he starts thinking back
The point of this post was: life in Westeros is cruel, and sometimes you have to choose. Dismissing Jaime just like that with quick emotional judging because of an act which wasn't even the worst thing he has done is, I feel, unfair to Martin's world's greys.
Edited by Berelyn, 10 October 2013 - 08:08 AM.