The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, titled "The Bells", saw the deaths of many key characters, not least of all Jaime Lannister. While Jaime was able to fulfill his dream of dying in the arms of the woman he loves, not everyone was a fan of how the Kingslayer's story ended.
Jaime has been one of the most complex characters on the show, from his teetering between hero and villain to his relationship with Cersei. But his death seemed to ignore much of that character development and lacked the emotional payoff many were expecting. Was this the best way for Jaime's story to end or were there better options? Here are some of the alternative ways for Jaime's story to end that might have been better and some that might have been worse.
10 Better: Leading The Night's Watch
After putting up with Cersei for years, Jaime finally turns his back on her when she refused to join the fight against the Night King's invading army. Despite being a place filled with people who hate him, Jaime rode to Winterfell vowing to fight for the living.
The Night King was defeated, but this isn't the first time he's invaded Westeros and lost. In order to continue watching over that threat, the Night's Watch will need to be reinstated. Jaime seems like an ideal candidate for Lord Commander, and it would have been a fittingly selfless way for him to continue protecting the realm.
9 Worse: Killed By Bronn
Bronn has been a fan favorite for years, but his involvement in this final season is disappointing. His mission to execute Jaime and Tyrion is manufactured drama which doesn't appear to be going anywhere. While it would be nice for Bronn to have something worthwhile to do, going through with killing Jaime would have been a major letdown.
It's true, Bronn's motivated by money and he isn't the sentimental type, but there's no way he would actually kill Jaime. Not only would it have been a bad move for the Bronn character, but it would have been a total anticlimactic end for Jaime.
8 Better: Saving Bran
It's pretty amazing that the show managed to convince the audience that Jaime is a good guy, especially after we saw him try to kill Bran Stark in the first episode. That act of viciousness showed what horrible things Jamie is capable of, while the rest of the show has been trying to redeem him for the act. The look of Jaime recognizing Bran after all these years is charged with emotions and shows Jaime is indeed remorseful. It feels as though it would have been fitting for Jaime to die saving Bran in order to bring that story full circle. Instead, Theon got that sacrificial moment while Jaime got to finally apologize to Bran.
7 Worse: Killed by Cersei
After Jaime's decision to leave Cersei at the end of Season 7, his decision to go back to her seemed like a big step backward for the character. It makes even less sense when you consider that Cersei was about to have The Mountain kill Jaime for abandoning her. In truth, killing Jaime might have been an interesting choice for the character of Cersei as she would have been stripping away her last bit of humanity. But for Jaime to die at her hands without ever escaping her would have been unsatisfying.
6 Better: Killing Daenerys
Many people assumed that the end of Jaime's arc would have been returning to the moment he became the Kingslayer. He killed the Mad King to save King's Landing, and now we will have to kill the Mad Queen to do the same. But what if everyone was thinking about the wrong Mad Queen?
Cersei certainly seemed like the prime candidate to burn King's Landing, but it turns out it was Daenerys who proved to be the bigger threat. It would make sense for Jaime to once again make the hard decision to save the realm and likely die in the process.
5 Worse: Happy Ending With Brienne
Fans have been hoping for several seasons now that Jaime would leave Cersei and finally start a better romance with Brienne. Their wish almost came true when Jaime and Brienne got together following the Battle of Winterfell. However, Jaime's abrupt departure to be with Cersei ruined the moment.
In reality, for Jaime and Brienne to live happily ever after never felt right. While Jaime could conceivably love Brienne as much as he loves Cersei, he is not a character who deserves a happy ending. All of the terrible things he has done for Cersei, Jaime needed to pay for it somehow and life with Brienne was letting the character off too easy.
4 Better: Ringing The Bell
One of the strangest moments in "The Bells" that angered many fans was Jaime's line about not caring about the innocent people of King's Landing. Jaime sacrificing his honor to save those innocents is one of the key aspects of the characters whole persona and in one line the show dismissed it all. Not only should that aspect of Jaime have been kept intact but it should have played a role in his end. Tyrion asked Jaime to ring the bells to stop the attack. To have Jaime abandon his search for Cersei to instead ring the bells and try to save the people would have made much more sense.
3 Worse: Killed By Euron
Euron Greyjoy is an easy character to hate. The show seems to purposely to have made him obnoxious so you're rooting even more for his death. But for the final season of the show to focus so much on this character has been frustrating. This was made even worse by his extended fight scene with Jaime.
These two have butted heads in the past, but there was no reason for them to have a fight to the death as King's Landing burns. To have Jaime goaded by Euron's taunts was lame, and the whole sequence felt like a waste of time. If Jaime had died in this fight, fans would have rioted.
2 Better: Dying To Save Cersei
Like it or not, the show decided that Jaime truly does love Cersei. Therefore, it makes sense they would want to have these two die together. However, it might have been more fitting for one of them to survive. After his fight with Euron, Jaime is mortally wounded. As it turns out, that doesn't matter because he and Cersei die when the Red Keep collapses. But it might have been more satisfying for Jaime to succeed in getting Cersei to the waiting boat, saving her and their child from the destruction, but dying of his wounds in the process. It could have been one last heroic act of saving one innocent life.
1 Worse: Killing Cersei
For many fans of the show, the natural end for Jaime seemed to be killing Cersei to save the realm. Back when everyone suspected Cersei would be the real final threat, the idea that Jaime would be forced to kill her felt like poetic justice. However, the way the show has taken the story, for Jaime to kill Cersei would have seemed wrong. Firstly, killing the pregnant woman who is carrying his child is a pretty sad way to end his story. Secondly, now that Daenerys has become the Mad Queen, killing Cersei would have seemed unnecessary. It seems all those prophecies were dead ends.