Things are not looking good for Game Of Thrones’ Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Showing up to the castle where you once pushed a child out of a window is bad. Showing up to that same castle when it’s occupied by the dragon-possessing woman whose dad you also murdered is a nightmare. Yet, that is exactly what Jaime does in the final seconds of Sunday night’s GoT season 8 premiere, “Winterfell.”
Previews for this week’s upcoming episode, the mysteriously titled sixty-ninth chapter of the HBO fantasy epic, suggest Jaime is in for a rude, and possibly deadly, welcome at Winterfell. The newly released photos for season 8’s second episode all but promise some harsh consequences for the Kingslayer. At this point, everyone should be wondering: Is Jaime Lannister about to die?
One of the newest images from Thrones “69,” as it is currently listed, shows Jaime standing in front of queen Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in Winterfell’s Great Hall during what appears to be a trial. It’s the gloomy, Northern negative of Jaime’s brother Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) deeply manipulated season 4 Red Keep trial for the murder of Joffrey “Baratheon” (Jack Gleeson). As Jaime’s nickname reminds us, this Lannister brother actually killed a king, Dany's father Aerys Targaryen (David Rintoul), to keep him from burning down all of King’s Landing with wildfire. In the episode’s trailer, the dragon queen reminds Jaime of their tragic connection, and the fact her brother Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd) raised her on fantasies of violent retribution against the Kingslayer.
Besides Dany’s threat, the gigantic line of Northern soldiers behind Jaime in the new photo are particularly menacing, especially when you remember they have a personal reason to be upset. Not only did Jaime once kill the Mad King — he tossed Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), middle son of Winterfell, out of a tower. No wonder everyone with a sword looks distinctly prepared to execute Jaime.
The supporting photos of Winterfell’s top leadership in “69” only enforce the likelihood Jaime’s fate is on the line. There are images that seem to show Jon, Dany, and their advisors — Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Varys (Conleth Hill), and acting maester Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) — all convened in a single, dark room. While it’s possible the group is actually planning their attack against the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) someone’s behaviour hints Jaime may be the topic of conversation: Tyrion.
In a photo that seems to share lighting and a background with the prior pictures — meaning all of them were taken during the same time and place — Jaime’s brother Tyrion is reclining with a cup of wine. It’s a classic “fuck everything” Tyron pose. If the fate of humanity were on the line, it’s doubtful Dany’s Hand would be acting so blasé. However, if the life and death of Tyrion’s beloved sibling was up for debate, it’s stands to reason Tyrion would be sidelined and drinking away his troubles. It’s not like anyone would let someone so inherently biased to weigh in.
Without Tyrion on his side, who knows how the conversation around Jaime will go? Poor Sam, who is terrified of the Targaryens’ more bloodthirsty leanings — looks worried about whatever plans are afoot. It’s unlikely Jon will be feeling merciful about the man who nearly killed his little “brother” (read: cousin) and definitely paralysed him. Yes, even if it was extremely brave of Jaime to ride all the way north despite his sister Cersei’s (Lena Headey) treachery and the possible execution facing him in Winterfell.
Plus the death of Jaime up North only adds to the possibility of a fan-favourite Arya theory. If Jaime dies in Winterfell, Arya, who happens to be in the mysterious meeting we're talking about, can take his face, travel to King's Landing, and easily kill Cersei. That would allow Arya to check yet another name off of her list and complete the Valonqar prophecy in the most unexpected manner.
Somehow the only person who may be able to save Jaime from the increasingly possible chopping block is his youngest victim, Bran. Remember, the supernatural teen predicts Jaime’s arrival at Winterfell in the season 8 debut by announcing he is “waiting for an old friend.” It’s time for Bran to prove if he really meant that kind, foreboding, phrase — or if words truly are, in Westerosi parlance, wind.
Game Of Thrones season 8 airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic and is available to stream on Now TV