Among the many elements of Game of Thrones' conclusive nature in its final season was a controversial finale for Jaime Lannister. The character appeared to be heading down a path of redemption after making vile decisions early on and before the show began. However, the writers decided that Jaime's love for his sister Cersei was too strong for any other path. As a result, he ran home to die with her, leaving Brienne devastated and abandoning the final steps of his path toward redemption. Now, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has opened up about his character's final moments and decisions.
"Bronn appears and Jaime realizes he was sent there by Cersei to kill him and Tyrion — it’s this strange reality check," Coster-Waldau told HBO. "Cersei has a way of making sure you don’t forget about her. That act is such an extreme thing. I don’t think Jaime believes Bronn is going to kill them; because Bronn is a businessman."
As a matter of fact, this paired with Sansa's manipulative comments regarding Cersei were the turning point for Jaime, in a direction opposite that of what many fans were rooting for. "Then Sansa says, 'I always wanted to be there when they execute your sister,'" Coster-Waldau explained. "He knows that Cersei’s provoked Daenerys so much, and she’s underestimated her enemy — usually Cersei’s the one people underestimate. His whole life has been about trying to protect Cersei, and trying to be close to her. He loves her — it's unconditional love, it’s so ingrained in him. Jaime and Bronn were together when the Lannister army was attacked by the dragons — they saw first hand what Dany can do. If you go against dragons you are going to die."
Still, Coster-Waldau defends his character from critics saying he never cared for Brienne despite the two characters having laid together toward to the end of the series after developing a tight relationship across several seasons. "In a different world, Jaime would’ve stayed with Brienne," Coster-Waldau said. "What he has with Brienne is something different — it’s a very pure, innocent love. There is a part of him that wishes he could not be who he is. It’s one of those things we do in Game of Thrones. You have this idea of what you want these characters to do — it’s supposed to end well for these two, they’ve been through so much together — but that’s not how it goes. The most extreme of all these scenes is a couple seasons back, when Myrcella tells Jaime she knows he’s her father and she’s glad he is. He has this moment of happiness, and then the second after she dies in his arms."
In fact, Jaime's death should not have come as a surprise, at all. "Bronn asks him, 'How do you want to go?' Jaime says: 'In the arms of the woman I love.' That is where he dies," Coster-Waldau explained. "The whole world is falling down around them; it’s a poetic thing."