It was the look that iced over Winterfell.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), arriving North to fulfill his pledge to fight for the living, spots Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) across the courtyard in the closing moments of the Season 8 premiere of “Game of Thrones.” His face says it all: “Oh, shit.”
Of course, Jaime should be freaking out. He is the reason the Starks and the Lannisters don’t get along in the first place, seeing as he kicked off their feud by pushing a 10-year-old Bran out of a window after the young lad caught him in the act with his twin sister, Cersei (Lena Headey), back in the show’s pilot episode. Bran survives the fall but is left paralyzed. Then, an assassin comes to finish the job wielding the Valyrian steel dagger supposedly owned by Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), leading Bran’s mother, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), to assign blame to the whole Lannister family.
When Catelyn captures Jaime at the end of Season 1, he confirms Bran didn’t fall from the tower ― Jaime pushed him.
“l hoped the fall would kill him,” Jaime states, never revealing the reason for his terrible act. (Back then, not many knew about his and Cersei’s incestual romance.)
In Episode 2 of Season 8, which aired Sunday, Jaime and Bran finally come face to face to talk over the incident that incited one of the central conflicts of “Game of Thrones.”
“The things we do for love,” Bran ominously states in front of everyone in the great hall during Jaime’s trial of sorts. Although he doesn’t tell anyone about their little secret, Bran, all the wiser, does alert Jaime to the fact that his push led the crippled Stark boy to become the Three-Eyed Raven.
“I’m sorry for what I did to you,” Jaime tells Bran, going on to explain why he’s not such a bad guy anymore.
“You still would be if you hadn’t pushed me out of that window, and I would still be Brandon Stark,” Bran responds. “I’m something else now.”
Jaime has had quite a transformation throughout the series, going from the “Kingslayer” to a true heroic figure by way of his various interactions with characters like Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), Tyrion and Bronn (Jerome Flynn). And although Cersei has had a tight hold on him, he finally leaves her to fend for herself in King’s Landing in Season 7 when she lies about heading North to fight in the Great War between the living and the dead.
Of course, Bran’s situation is a very different one. Following the events of Season 1, he embarked on an epic journey with Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and co. and eventually became the all-seeing Three-Eyed Raven. His newfound skills make that past incident with Jaime a bit less important.
So, why was Bran waiting up all night in the freezing cold for Jaime? What does he need from his mortal enemy?
Bran didn’t tell anyone the truth about his fall from the tower because he knows the North needs Jaime in the war against the dead. And, being privy to Bran’s visions, perhaps Jaime knows he will play a bigger part in that war, too. (Like, by protecting Bran or his siblings, maybe?)
Still, Jaime clearly reveals in Sunday’s episode his fear that, if the living survive the Night King’s attack, Bran will eventually tell the Seven Kingdoms the truth.
Bran responds in the way only Bran can: “How do you know if there is an afterwards?”
Touche, dear Raven man.