Why this new ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8 photo should have you hyped about Jaime Lannister

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HBO gave fans another major tease for the coming eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” when 15 new photos were released for our perusal. Among the beautiful new costumes and cold, Winterfell landscape, one photo stood out: The portrait of Jaime Lannister.

In it, Jaime is wearing a much darker palate of armour than he’s ever been seen in before. While this might just be Jaime falling in line with the theme of everyone else’s black-dominant costumes (a change that started on the seventh season), one fan theory makes the change even more visually exciting.

Some people have long believed that Jaime could survive the series to become the 1000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.

Before we get into the speculation territory, here’s the new season eight photo again:

And for good measure, let’s look at Jaime as we last saw him on the seventh season, shortly after he rode away from Cersei and King’s Landing and turned his horse north as snow began to fall on the city.

As you can see, Jaime is still wearing the same dark-coloured overshirt with the rectangular patterning in the new season eight photo. But he’s paired it with a dark armour and he might even be sporting a new black glove to cover his golden hand.

Why Jaime’s arc could be leading him towards the Night’s Watch
The two most popular guesses when it comes to Jaime’s fate are that he either dies (which is likely but more on that in a bit) or that he lives to swear one final oath and live out his days at the Wall.

On the second-ever episode on the series, Jon Snow and Jaime have a conversation about the Night’s Watch. The golden Lannister knight was arrogant back then, sarcastically telling Jon how much his noble sacrifice at the Wall would mean.

“Let me thank you ahead of time for guarding us all from the perils beyond the wall,” Jaime said while shaking Jon’s hand. “The wildlings and White Walkers and whatnot.”

Jon believed he was heading towards an honorable post at the Wall, while Jaime and many others knew the Night’s Watch had fallen in standard over the last several generations.

“Give me regards to the Night’s Watch,” Jaime said. “I’m sure it will be thrilling to serve in such an elite force. And if not, it’s only for life.”

As the series went on, of course Jon did wind up rising in the ranks and helping to save the realm from wildlings and White Walkers. And Jaime underwent his own transformation as he was brought low by the cruel amputation of his sword hand and confronted with the reality of his dishonorable past.

His growing relationship with Brienne and increasing disenchantment with Cersei revealed new layers to Jaime. He came to a point where he wanted to lead a more outwardly honorable life and fill the pages of his Kingsguard records with better deeds. He wanted to be known beyond “Kingslayer.”

And so season seven ended with Jaime turning north. We hope towards Winterfell, and the fight against the same White Walkers he once sneered at Jon Snow about.

The 1000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch
So what does this have to do with Lord Commander? Well as George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books make clear, Jon Snow was elected to be the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. With the sixth season’s events and Jon leaving the Wall, Edd was presumably elected to be the 999th Lord Commander. We never saw this election take place, but last we saw him Edd was clearly in charge.

This numbering has led book readers to speculate who the 1000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch could be, since the significant number would carry a hefty weight when it came to the in-universe mythology of these characters. Plus assuming Edd is not safe in that position for long (sorry Edd).

If you zoom out and thinking about the events of “Game of Thrones,” many of the characters sound like living legends. The Mother of Dragons. The Kingslayer. The White Wolf. The Night King.

It’s easy to imagine the people who survive the coming war passing down the stories of the Great War and second Long Night, and how the heroes who prevailed lived out their days.

In that lens, Jaime Lannister, the legendary knight who besmirched his Kingsguard oath for a secretly noble cause, would be a poignant fit as the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Living out his days at the edge of Westeros, in the very place he once believed to be a useless wasteland, Ser Jaime would find the honorable post suited him well.

All this to say, seeing Jaime in the most black-on-black costume yet could be an indicator of his fate being tied to the Watchers on the Wall.

But there’s also a very strong chance that Jaime dies.

As we’ve explored in depth before, one of the most popular fan theories posits that Jaime will kill his sister Cersei, and die himself shortly after. This has been hinted at in the books through a prophecy known as “The Valonqar,” and from Jaime and Cersei often discussing how they came into the world together and will leave together as well.

So maybe a photo is just a photo. But even if Jaime isn’t destined for the watch, you can’t deny that he’s not looking pretty fantastic in his road-worn armour. The style of his armour even matches that seen on Robb Stark on earlier seasons, as well as on Sandor Clegane in his post-Kingsguard days in the Riverlands.

And perhaps most importantly, we hope that the person he’s looking at off camera is Brienne of Tarth. Their bond is one of the most heartfelt on the series, and fans are hoping to see them side-by-side once more on the episodes to come.

If Jaime is indeed in Winterfell, that would mean facing Bran Stark for the first time since his attempted murder on the Stark boy way back when. But that possible confrontation will have to wait for another discussion.

“Game of Thrones” season eight premieres on Sunday, April 14.

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