I have finished the chapter in the “A Game of Thrones” yesterday, where the character Bran is pushed off the window of an old building by the character Jamie Lannister.
I must say there are a lot said about this event by others (check the internet); it is a horrible thing to attempt to murder a 7-year old child (Bran). In cold blood and with no remorse or contemplation observed or expressed by Jamie.
Long story short, Bran likes to climb over trees/buildings and one day, despite the efforts of his mom, Lady Catelyn and others around him, he manages to climb over an old building, once half destroyed by a natural event and now is vacant. As he climbs outside the building, he hears a conversation, which is related to his father, Ned Stark. He cannot deduce the individuals by just their voice so he, even though is a little bit scared, looks thru the window with an awkward and difficult grip on the outside wall. There he sees, without understanding what exactly is happening (in the book, Bran thinks that a man and a woman was “wrestling”), the characters Jamie Lannister and Cersei Lannister/Baratheon having an intercourse. The fact that Jamie and Cersei are twin brother/sister and that Cersei is married to the King Robert, the situation is of course pretty nasty, immoral, and as such being a witness to this act puts Bran (unknowingly) at a very dangerous position.
Cersei once sees Bran becomes quite anxious, they stop, and Jamie goes towards Bran. Cersei declares that “he saw them”. Jamie first puts him at ease by giving Bran a hand to stabilize his grip of the wall, and then initiates a cozy conversation by asking him how old he is. Bran tells Jamie his age, and I assume by thinking that he is safe from the fall (that he saw as the danger; the innocence of kids are so amazing…), loosens his other grip off Jamie’s arm. Cersei, perplexed with Jamie’s help of Bran, reacts negatively and feels the urge to remind Jamie. Jamie turns to Cersei, says the famous “The things I do for love” and while loathing also pushes Bran off the window.
Loathing, but no apparent remorse.
We face, for the first time, directly the character of Jamie as a practical and cruel one. In a single paragraph for that matter.
Literally, in the book it was a very simple description of a scene. As if it is a regular thing to do in life, a regular thing to write in a novel.
The HBO series differs a little bit from the book. In the series, Cersei’s anxiety is well emphasized and palpable. I believe Cersei’s more pronounced reaction and anxiety was added to create a “thrill” to the scene and it did work; I could see how desperate Cersei felt. Additionally, the Jamie character is annoyed by Cersei’s behavior/talk/reminders but does not show any feeling of loathing or dislike for pushing Bran off the window; he is very comfortable making this decision to silence the little child and attempting to kill him. This served well I guess, as now we all hate this horrible character and almost call it a psychopath.
My take: the book does not convey the terror and suspense of this scene real-time; everything happens very fast, simply, and easily. But, when we realize what just happened, then the reader I am sure is as shocked as the viewers (of the HBO series). In other words, it is written in such a way that it does not alarm the reader beforehand, the scene happens, and the reality and the cruelty strike only after a while. Like an aftermath. Well done GRRM.
Of course, through the evolution of the story and characters, we yet to see the more features and perhaps the multiple faces of these characters and maybe become sympathetic to Jamie. But, I do not think anybody ever forgave the Jamie character for trying to murder a kid.
I certainly did not and that is what makes the Jamie character even more interesting – the internal conflict this character creates in the reader/viewer towards this character; how do we forget the horrible things Jamie has done? Are the reasons of his behavior/acts, however brutal and cruel they seem, serve a bigger and interestingly, favorable purpose? How and why do we forget or forgive his actions? Is there a possibility of redemption for Jamie, and anyone else for that matter?
PS: Not to forget Jamie and his sister’s relationship, which is another nasty/immoral behavior to deal with. In the world the stories develop, this kind of relationships seem to be acceptable to some extend, though not within the social circle of Jamie and Cersei. Considering the fact that many events/behaviors in this fantasy stories are not existing or acceptable in our current world, I will let this one go, too, without further dwelling on how bad, disgusting, and unacceptable it is. I feel like I must do this to have an objective attitude towards the literary value of these stories.