Wait — Is Jaime Lannister Still Alive?

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Spoiler alert: The following post contains spoilers about the August 6 episode of Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones is playing with our heartstrings. The last shot of the show last night hinted that we may have lost one of the most central characters: Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). His trusty companion Bronn (Jerome Flynn) pushed him into a pond, rescuing Jaime from dragon fire. Just before the credits rolled, we saw Jaime and Bronn floating in the pond, seemingly lifeless.
So, is Jaime Lannister dead?
It would seem the showrunners want us to think so. That last image was pretty damning — and Jaime was fairly close to Drogon's flame. Even if he leapt into the pond before being set ablaze, the heat might have gotten to him. And who's to say the pond is a refreshing spot of ice-cold relief? It might be boiling hot, considering the circumstances.
Twitter is perplexed at the outcome. Some are concerned that Jaime might be dead. Others are concerned that Jaime isn't dead.
In all likelihood, Jaime Lannister is very much alive — Game of Thrones enjoys an uncertain fate, and, for all its violence, the showrunners won't kill off a character until they absolutely have to. As Vanity Fair's Joanna Robinson points out, the show loves to pit two integral characters against one another and let neither of them prevail. In most such duels, the two characters suffer immensely but remain intact. (Robinson cites such faceoffs as Brienne vs. The Hound, Tyrion vs. Davos in the Battle of Blackwater, and Catelyn Stark vs. Tyrion Lannister in season one.) Both Jaime and Daenarys (Emilia Clarke) suffered losses at the hands of the Longtrain Massacre, and both are likely to survive.
Jaime's presence on the show is also very much necessary. He is the only person on the show who can serve as a foil to Cersei (Lena Headey) — she has no more children to protect, remember? Cersei's emotional stake in the game of thrones exists in Jaime and Jaime alone. If he dies, Cersei would certainly devolve into a mad tyrant. (Which should happen eventually. Just not yet.) He has a message for Cersei, too; in last week's episode, the late Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) asked him to relay a message to his Queen/sister/part-time lover.
Then there's the small matter of the prophecy that predicted Cersei would die at the hands of her brother — if Jaime is to kill his sister, he has to stick around.
Finally, there's this: Coster-Waldau told Entertainment Weekly that this episode's script divulged that "one of [the] main characters is about to die." First of all, that could be a lie. The higher-ups at Game of Thrones have a lot of secrets to protect. Second, it could be in reference to Drogon, who took an arrow to the head. He certainly doesn't have any messages to pass to Cersei Lannister. Drogon's effectively a giant, fire-blazing weapon. His loss would count as a blow to Daenarys's campaign.
Our guess is still on a live Jaime Lannister — he's too important, and the showrunners are being far too cagey about his fate. Last week, the actress Indira Varma who plays Ellaria Sand told the press that she wouldn't appear in any more episodes, effectively informing the people of her character's death. Clearly, the show isn't cagey about sudden deaths. They're just good at playing coy when a character is still very much alive.

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