Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has just completed his biggest season yet as Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones. Season 3 featured the character’s story front and center: We saw Jaime lose a hand, gain his freedom, and become a better all-around person. So what does Nikolaj think of the evolution?
In a recent interview with HitFix, he explained that Jaime has "given up so much ... for a woman [Cersei] who I don't think she feels the same for him as he does for her." Being "forced away" from the twin he devoted his life to "had a lot to do with finally being able to realize who he is."
Of course, that's only half of the change we saw in the character. "The other half is the whole being the Kinglsayer and that whole identity, that he hates more than anything. As we find out, what he thought was in many ways the proudest moment of his life has been turned into this really horrible disgraceful moment.” To sum up, Jaime’s had time to reflect on his identities of Kingslayer and sister-lover, and he didn’t like what he realized.
Now that Jaime could arguably be considered a hero on the show as opposed to a villain — at least as far as those terms mean anything on Game of Thrones — Nikolaj has seen a change in the way fans react when running into him. “I've had people say that they love the show and like what I do but they hate Jaime because he's so horrible. But now I get a lot of, ‘I never thought I was gonna say this, but he's a nice guy. He's a good guy!’"
Of course, as Nikolaj points out, it's all a matter of perspective on this show, anyway. “Jaime, I've never seen him as a bad guy before. Of course his actions have been very brutal, but I've never seen him as a baddie doing something horrible just because he likes it. It's more the fact that we all have the capability within us to do stupid things — horrible things.”
There will still likely come a day when Jaime has to answer for those horrible things, like throwing Bran Stark out of that window way back in the series premiere, but when it does, will we root for Jaime, or against him?
For much more from Nikolaj, read the whole interview here.