Why Jaime Lannister’s Story May End the Way It Started on Game of Thrones

4 minute read

Warning: This post contains spoilers for season seven of Game of Thrones.

Jaime Lannister may have been given a last-second reprieve from death by dragon fire in episode 4 of Game of Thrones season 7, but if — or more likely, when — he emerges from that lake, it seems safe to assume he’ll be captured by Daenerys Targaryen’s forces.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time Jaime was a prisoner of war. Back in season one, Jaime was taken hostage by Robb Stark after the Young Wolf defeated him at the Battle of the Whispering Wood by dividing his troops — the same move Jaime himself just executed to conquer Highgarden.

But judging by Jaime’s reaction to seeing one of Dany’s dragons in action, this may not be the only way his story is fated to mirror his past. During an interview with the New York Times, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau — who plays Jaime — explained why his character made such a desperate attempt to try to kill Daenerys.

“He knows that this is a long-shot. But he also knows that there is no way that they can beat this woman. They cannot beat these dragons. The only way would be to somehow kill her, and for a brief second, he sees that opening. It’s like a Hail Mary,” he said. “The truth is, Dany could do this without the Dothraki army. They’re just there to clean up the mess.”

MORE: To stay up to date on everything Game of Thrones, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Daenerys has threatened — despite her advisors’ warnings — to fly her dragons to the Red Keep in order to take the Iron Throne. Jaime, on the other hand, once stabbed his own king in the back to prevent the burning of King’s Landing, so he probably wouldn’t be too keen on that plan. However, if he is captured, his brother Tyrion may be able to persuade him that the only way to keep the city safe is to convince Cersei to surrender.

“After the final scene in [Sunday’s] episode I’m more convinced than ever that Jaime (who, let’s be real, is obviously not dead) is going to kill Cersei when she refuses to yield King’s Landing to Dany, despite the fact that it means that the city will burn,” Reddit user giantgoose wrote. “Cersei’s always threatened to burn cities to the ground to get what she wants, and if she can’t have [King’s Landing], she doesn’t want anyone else to either. Jaime, having seen the damage Drogon wrought, will advise her otherwise, but when she refuses to surrender, he will have no choice but to kill her, as only a monster (as Olenna said) would willingly inflict such suffering on their own people.”

This prospect seems even more likely considering Jaime’s uneasiness over his final conversation with Olenna Tyrell. “She’s a disease,” the Queen of Thorns told him about Cersei. “I regret my role in spreading it. You will too.”

“I think he’s getting to the place where he’s questioning, what’s the point of all this? Power for the sake of power?” Coster-Waldau said. “He’s such a great military man, but when it comes to Cersei, he’s just flailing because he doesn’t have that same level of cynicism, or that ability to lie, like Cersei, Littlefinger or Varys. They operate in a parallel universe. What is the endgame? When you see Cersei with the banker, it’s all about how she wants to control everything. It’s never going to be enough for her, no matter what.”

If Jaime does kill Cersei, the act will no doubt mirror the moment that earned him the nickname “Kingslayer,” officially bringing his character full circle.

“Eastwatch,” the fifth episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season, airs Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. on HBO.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com