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How Jaime Lannister Could Play a Major Role in Game of Thrones’ War Against the Dead

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.

Jaime Lannister finally made it to Winterfell. And thanks to Brienne’s endorsement, he was able to join the fight for the living in the Battle of Winterfell.

In a cryptic moment with Bran during episode 2, the three-eyed raven told Jamie he wouldn’t be able to help in the battle if Sansa or the Mother of Dragons had him executed. That lead Jamie to ask “what about afterwards.”? Brans’ cryptic response: “how do you know there is an afterwards. Perhaps that’s hinting at an afterwards for our heroes or specifically, Jamie. What will happen to him is anyone’s guess.

However, there is one defining detail of Jaime’s character that may signal he is on the road to finding redemption for his past misdeeds: the nickname “Kingslayer.”

To refresh your memory, Jaime was given the derogatory moniker for stabbing Aerys II “The Mad King” Targaryen in the back while serving in his Kingsguard during the Sack of King’s Landing. But according to the Kingslayer himself, the betrayal was not what it seemed. After having his hand chopped off by Locke in season three, Jaime told his side of the story to Brienne of Tarth.

You all despise me. Kingslayer. Oathbreaker. Man without honor. You heard of Wildfire? The Mad King was obsessed with it. He loved to watch people burn, the way their skin blackened and blistered and melted off their bones. He burned lords he didn’t like, he burned Hands who disobeyed him, he burned anyone who was against him. Before long, half the country was against him. Aerys saw traitors everywhere, so he had his pyromancer places caches of wildfire all over the city. Beneath the Sept of Baelor and the slums of Flea Bottom. Under houses, stables, taverns. Even beneath the Red Keep itself. Finally, the day of reckoning came. Robert Baratheon marched on the capital after his victory at the Trident. But my father arrived first — the whole Lannister army at his back — promising to defend the city against the rebels. I knew my father better than that. He’s never been one to pick the losing side. I told the Mad King as much. I urged him to surrender peacefully, but the King didn’t listen to me, didn’t listen to Varys who tried to warn him. But he did listen to Grand Maester Pycelle…’You can trust the Lannisters,’ he said. ‘The Lannisters have always been true friends of the crown.’ So he opened the gates and my father sacked the city. Once again, I came to the King begging him to surrender. He told me to bring him my father’s head. Then he turned to his pyrcomancer. ‘Burn them all,’ he said. ‘Burn them in their homes, burn them in their beds.’ Tell me, if your precious Renly commanded you to kill your own father and stand by while thousands of men, women and children burned alive, would you have done it? Would you have kept your oath then? First I killed the pyromancer and then when the King turned to flee, I drove my sword into his back. ‘Burn them all,’ he kept saying. ‘Burn them all.’ I don’t think he expected to die. He meant to burn with the rest of us and rise again, reborn as a dragon to turn his enemies to ash. I slit his throat to make sure that didn’t happen. That’s where Ned Stark found me…You think the honorable Ned Stark wanted to hear my side? He judged me guilty the moment he set eyes on me.

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Jaime’s nickname has clearly haunted him for much of his life. However, some fans believe it foreshadows that he will be the one to kill the Night King, ultimately becoming one of the greatest heroes in the Game of Thrones story.

“I really hope Jaime is the one who kills the Night King,” wrote Reddit user atadmad. “Maybe Jaime dies in the process, saving Jon and/or Dany. Or maybe he lives. Either way, imagine him/his body returning to Winterfell/[King’s Landing] after the war, and everyone continuing to refer to him as ‘Kingslayer,’ but out of respect rather than contempt? That’s all, just thought that would be amazing.”

Jaime Lannister, Kingslayer indeed.

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