While the Starks can often be viewed to have a monopoly on how to play the Game Of Thrones compassionately and with honor, there is another character who, time and time again, walks the path of the honorable and just knight that is seemingly impossible to find in Westeros. Brienne of Tarth may not have been a knight of the realm for the better part of her journey through the Game Of Thrones, but she is one of the only characters throughout the series that lives her life based on a code of honor that audiences can easily prescribe to that of the knight in shining armor.
There are many examples of knights literally wearing shining armor throughout the series, but not so many when it comes to living a life more honorably than Brienne. So let’s take so time to truly appreciate Westeros’ knight in shining armor, Ser Brienne Of Tarth.
7 In Service Of An Honorable Man (And Woman)
When audiences are first introduced to Brienne of Tarth it is not in a way similar to any of the other woman on the series have been introduced. Fans of the series watch on as Ser Loras Tyrell and an unknown knight fight in a tournament, like many we’ve seen before, for the honor of the king (in this case, the good king Renly Baratheon). As fans see Ser Loras struggle to overcome the large and powerful knight before him, he falls short to the knight overwhelming power.
As Brienne removes her helmet to the surprise of both the spectators of the tournament and audience themselves, she bends the knee and asks of king Renly the only thing she truly desires, to be a member of his king’s guard. Lady Brienne, much like Arya, does not fit the traditional mold of a Lady. Rather, she has carved out her own path as a woman in a time where some of the most powerful women in Westeros have yet to break free of those same chains.
6 The Bear And The Maiden Fair
As Brienne continues to lead Jaime back to King’s Landing in order to exchange him for the Stark sisters whom she assumes are still residing there. Before they can make it, however, they are both captured by some of the Bolton’s men. Through their shared captivity, Jaime and Brienne are able to establish a bond and find common ground after Jaime spares Brienne the senseless violence of the assault on her by the Bolton men.
Although it cost Jaime his hand, the bond between Brienne and Jaime only grows as he reveals to her the true reason why the people of Westeros call him ‘Kingslayer’ and the true price of the oaths he has taken. After fighting off a bear the pair make it to King’s Landing where Brienne hears of the events of the Red Wedding. News that, despite the discovery that Arya has not been seen in King’s Landing since Ned’s execution, only serves to reaffirm Brienne’s oath to yet another person she has failed to protect. Brienne won’t fail again.
With Sansa married to Tyrion and Arya missing for some undisclosed amount of time, as Brienne reacquaints herself with King’s Landing and the people therein. Following Sansa’s escape after Joffrey’s wedding, Jaime inspires Brienne to go out and find the lost Stark girl with the help of his newly forger Valyrian steel sword which she names ‘Oathkeeper’ in stark contrast of how Jaime views himself.
Brienne, with Podrick in tow, swiftly catches the trail of Arya Stark who is currently traveling with The Hound. While to two fight in one of the most vicious one on one fights throughout the entire series, The Hound, for the first time in the series is bested. Unfortunately for Brienne and Podrick, however, Arya has already made her escape. Brienne ends the season having lost her first real chance to fulfill her oath to Catelyn Stark.
4 In The Name Of Renly Of House Baratheon
Having lost their chance at rescuing Arya and only narrowly escaping their attempt to save Sansa, Brienne and Podrick continue to track Sansa, in secret, to Winterfell. Having secretly delivered a message to Sansa with instructions for what to do should she need help, Brienne and Podrick play the waiting game.
However, after the remainder of Stannis’ forces arrive to battle the Boltons, Brienne temporarily gives up waiting for Sansa’s signal in order to find and slay Stannis. With his army annihilated, Stannis (literally) stands on his last leg before collapsing near in Wolfswood. It is here that Brienne Of Tarth, Kingsuard to Renly Of House Baratheon, is finally able to avenge her fallen king. It is here where Brienne of Tarth fulfills the first of her oaths.
3 I Swear It By The Old Gods And The New
Having slain Stannis, Brienne stumbles upon Sansa and Theon as they are pursued by Bolton soldiers. After fighting off the Bolton Soldiers Brienne swears her allegiance to Sansa, fulfilling yet another oath, which she had sworn to Catelyn so long ago. Having finally following through with her promise to Catelyn, Brienne accompanies Sansa to Castle Black where plans to win back Winterfell all already underway.
As Brienne is sent down to Riverrun to assist Brynden Tully the Blackfish. With the Lannister army surrounding Riverrun Brienne tries to return Oathkeeper to Jaime as the may have to meet on the battlefield due to her loyalty to Stark. While it doesn’t come to that Jaime lets her keep the sword regardless, telling her it will continue to fulfill the oath it was named after.
2 Oh, Forget Loyalty
The penultimate season of the series marks a deep change in many of the characters as they begin to close out their arcs. While Brienne is up north in the newly-reclaimed Winterfell with the Starks she spends much of her time training, even sparring with and gaining the respect of Arya Stark, with whom she is equally impressed. But as the Starks make their way down to King’s Landing with a live wight locked away inside of a chest, many, including Brienne, begin to see what’s at stake.
While Cersei doesn’t appear to take the threat very seriously, Brienne pleads with Jaime to understand that this is so much bigger than loyalty or love. This is where the fight between the living and the dead begins.
1 A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms
The final season of Game Of Thrones brings about many good things for Brienne of Tarth or as she will henceforth be known as, Ser Brienne Of Tarth. While there are many deaths and many tears shed during her final six episodes, nearly all of the good that she experiences sprout forth from the seeds she plants in Jaime so long ago. Brienne helped shape Jaime Lannister, the man without honor, the Kingslayer, into something much more than that.
Her love and her example led him to make her wildest dream a reality. Ser Brienne of Tarth goes forward a knight of the seven kingdoms. While Jaime left her in alone in the cold of Winterfell, the love she feels for him leads her to close out Ser Jaime’s pages in the Kingsguard book. The last words she writes, “He died protecting his queen.”