A lot of things happened in A feast of Crows – the fourth installment of the book series – A song of Ice and Fire. (Popularly known as Game of thrones).
A belligerent queen (Cersei) assumes an absolute power of the Westeros. And as we know, the absolute power corrupts. A girl’s (Arya) journey into the strange land of Braavos after seeing her mother and brother brutally murdered in a wedding. An honest warrior (Brienne) who is ready to give her life for the oath she gave to someone who is no more alive. A dorne princess (Arianne) who seduces a man from the night’s watch in her plans to take over Westeros. And finally, an oathbreaker’s (Jaime) transformation on the path of penitence who sees the world in a new light after outlaws mercilessly cut his good hand.
And it is this journey of redemption of Jaime Lannister, from an arrogant knight to an empathetic human which steals the show in my view.
In this book, we come to know, how Cersei manipulates Jaime, from the very young age, into believing that everything else dims in the light of their love. He kills and fights and goes to far-off lands by her single command. He gives up everything, even the right to treat his sons and daughters as his own, for they were born out of incest with her. He longs to be called father, be hugged, be treated like one. But no, he sacrifices everything for love.
Before Jaime sets free Tyrion says, “Cersei is a lying whore, she’s been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon boy for all I know.. ” These words echo in Jaime’s ears throughout the book. At times he believes them. But ignores them for the most part. Even when there were signs of it in front of his own eyes. “Tyrion was lying,” he would comfort himself by saying this.
Such was the power Cersei had over Jaime.
But then, Tyrion’s word did their work. They lodged a doubt in his mind, a thorn in his heart. And with that, his original, more core nature came out.
He gave up Cersei’s offer to become the hand of the king. Takes in new boys under his aegis and makes them his squires. Protect a badly beaten house servant and provides her protection and a place to live. “Treat Pia well,” he asks one of his squires Peck. And then he ended the siege of Riverrun without shedding a blood.
And this transformation is complete when Cersei, after captured by the men of high septon, writes a passionate letter to Jaime, asking him to come at once, and save her. Read the excerpt –
Cersei licked her lips, shivering. “Come at once. Help me. Save me. I need you now as I have never needed you before. I love you. I love you. I love you. Come at once.”
“As you command, ‘I love you’ thrice?” Qyburn, asks.
“Thrice,” she had to reach him. “He will come. I know he will. He must. Jaime is my only hope.”
When Jaime read Cersei terse message, he was in Riverrun, completed the siege of Riverrun. On being asked by the maester that whether he wish to answer, Jaime says, “No, Put this in fire.”
. . .
So we find that the Jaime’s character is meticulously layered by George RR Martin, the master storyteller, along with other story arcs that never fail to inspire and surprise any reader.
This series is a must-read, not only for the brilliant story and the amazing world that GRRM creates but also for the brilliant prose he writes, that makes the reading a pleasure.
. . .
People often ask me why I read so many books. The main reason is that not only books help you experience (vicariously) things you otherwise would never even imagine, they also help you focus better and appreciate the practice of sitting in a place and sticking to a target. What else I learn?
To find out read my all time favorite post on the life-learning I got from reading sixty books in a year.
Also published on Medium.