Beyond The Wall

Two Major 'Game of Thrones' Characters Finally Got the Hookup They Deserved

jaime and brienne game of thrones
HBO
This post contains spoilers up through the fourth episode of Game of Thrones Season 8. Visit Beyond the Wall, our official Game of Thrones hub page for recaps, theories, spoilers, explainers, and the best episodes of all time.

Game of Thrones didn't entirely stray away from fan service in the fourth episode of its final season, "The Last of the Starks." And what momentarily great fan service it was. Of the ships that have defined the show, the one wishing that Brienne and Jaime would simply get it on already has been the loudest. Now, they have. But this being Thrones, it's a bittersweet union.

Yes, Brienne and Jaime finally have sex. It all starts -- as many hookups do -- with a game of "Never Have I Ever," Westerosi-style, featuring Jaime, Brienne, Pod, and Tyrion as the players. Tyrion tells Brienne, "You're a virgin." Brienne's embarrassed, and announces she has to pee. Jaime follows her, icing out her other suitor, Tormund, in the process. (Don't feel that bad for Tormund, despite his claims of a broken heart. He finds someone else quickly.)

Jaime appears at her door as she's putting wood on the fire, complaining about how hot it is, like something out of a bad TV show. (Turns out Brienne's Northern skills are the perfect way to heat things up -- metaphorically.) Jaime starts trying to unbutton his shirt when Brienne offers to help. He goes for her tunic at the same time. "I've never slept with a knight before," he says. She responds, "I've never slept with anyone before." They kiss ferociously. When the camera cuts back to them, Brienne is sleeping peacefully while Jaime stares up at the ceiling, a hint of regret in his eyes.

These two have provided the series one of its most thoroughly fulfilling partnerships. They met way back when Brienne was serving Catelyn Stark and her mission was to return the prisoner Jaime to King's Landing. Along the way Jaime lost a hand, but gained a heart. (Aw... but seriously.) As they survived capture by Roose Bolton's men, their bond grew from antagonistic to surprisingly tender.

With Brienne, he lost the cocky emotional armor he wore proudly in early episodes. In one crucial -- and, let's face it, sexy -- scene, he got in a bath with her and opened up about his nickname Kingslayer, describing how he killed Aerys II Targaryen to prevent further destruction. The moniker that Brienne threw around to taunt him framed him as a betrayer. He wanted her to know he acted for the good of humanity.

For Brienne, her tryst with Jaime is just one more bit of wish fulfillment the series has bestowed upon her in these last hours. In "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," Jaime knighted her, allowing her to assume a title that she had always been denied. Here, she gets to act on all that latent sexual tension. On Jaime's side, it's an entirely different story. His romantic life has been entirely defined by his incestuous relationship with his sister Cersei. 

At first, sleeping with Brienne seems like it solidifies Jaime's break with Cersei and her tyrannical ways. But, alas, it's too good to be true. By the end of the episode, he's headed back to King's Landing, having broken Brienne's heart and returning to his one true love: his sister, Cersei. "She's hateful," Jaime tells Brienne. "And so am I." 

As soon as Jaime hears that Daenerys, furious that Euron Greyjoy has murdered Rhaegal, is heading to King's Landing to attack Cersei, he shifts allegiances once again. Brienne wakes up in the middle of the night and realizes he's packing his bags. She pleads with him to stay, telling him that he's a good man. "You don't need to die with her," she cries through tears. "Stay here. Stay with me." He replies that he's not a good man, and starts to list all of the terrible crimes he has committed in the name of his sister. "I would have murdered every man, woman, and child in Riverrun for Cersei," he says, then goes.

In the end, he thinks he's powerless to resist the evil that courses through his blood. He loves Cersei that much. Still, he goes back to serve a queen who has branded him a traitor, and told her new boyfriend, Euron, that the baby she's carrying is his. Cersei is fickle, so who's to say she'll give her brother a welcome reception? Or maybe she'll leave Euron in the dust.

But does this mean we've seen the last of Jaime and Brienne two together? It seems like showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are setting them up for one final confrontation. If that does come to pass, it will likely have a tragic outcome.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her @ezwrites.