“Game of Thrones” fans know Jaime Lannister’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) nickname – “king slayer.” He earned a reputation as a dishonorable oath-breaker for killing the king he swore to protect. But not until this week’s episode did they know why.
While sharing a bathtub with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) – awkward, but with minimal nudity – he tells the tale.
The king he served, Arys II, known as “The Mad King,” loved wildfire – the hottest fire. This king “loved to watch people burn.” Men tend to dislike such rulers, and sure enough, “before long, half the country was against him.”
Since “traitors were everywhere,” the king “made his pyromancer place caches all over the city.”
Jaime opens the city doors, and his father Tywin (Charles Dance) storms in to conquer.
“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 pyromancer.
“Burn them all, he said. Burn them in their homes. Burn them in their beds.”
Then Jaime asks the fatal question. “If your precious Renly commanded you to kill your 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?”
This scene twists the entire show – making the villainous “king slayer” a hero. This oath-breaker turns out to be the savior of an entire city.