The last we saw of Jaime Lannister at the end of this week’s Game of Thrones (season seven episode four) he was apparently unconscious and was sinking towards the bottom of a deep, dark river. Jaime had been knocked off his horse, out of the path of Drogon’s fiery breath and into the water by Bronn, and given how fast he was being pulled downwards it looked as if that was it.
Of course, that’s the whole point of a cliffhanger – to inject jeopardy and then potentially follow it up with a dramatic escape, and despite Game of Thrones’ notorious ruthlessness when it comes to even its major characters, it’s hard to believe that Jaime’s end would be so anticlimactic, so I strongly suspect this is not the last we’ve seen of him.
In fact, what purports to be a leaked synopsis for the episode includes details of a subsequent scene, which sees Bronn pulling Jaime to the surface before they float on down the river together. But if it’s genuine I’m hoping it’s at least an early draft, because it’s unsatisfying in many ways.
First of all for practical reasons – in the final shots of episode four, Jaime is sinking rapidly, he’s deep and getting deeper and the idea that even the awesome Bronn could dive down so far so quickly and drag a lifeless man in full armour to the surface seems far-fetched (and no I don’t subscribe to the school of ‘there are dragons, so anything can happen’ – correct physics, and grammar, are still important).
But I also think it misses an opportunity for something much more epic. As we’ve just seen from that stunning episode, as we race towards Game of Thrones’ conclusion (there are only a total of nine episodes left in which to wage two major wars and wrap things up) big dramatic moments are the order of the day – and surely there is something bigger and more dramatic in store for Jaime than Bronn going all Baywatch.
So here’s an idea. What if Daenerys commands her dragon Drogon to dive down and rescue Jaime. What looks impossibly deep for a man is nothing to a full-grown dragon – and what could be more dramatic than Drogon arrowing through the water to grab Jaime (carefully!) in his jaws?
Daenerys has good reason for wanting Jaime alive and in her custody. He would prove an important bargaining chip – after all, there’s no-one left alive who Queen Cersei loves more than her brother (in fact, there’s probably no-one left alive she loves, full stop – sorry Qyburn). And being able to brandish the commander of your enemies’ army at them would be a powerful symbol of dominance that might make it seem to many Lannister supporters that the war was already lost.
So Drogon saving Jaime would be both a great tactical move and a brilliantly entertaining moment. But could it happen? Is there anything to suggest dragons can actually dive underwater?
Here’s a passage from George RR Martin’s A Storm of Swords describing Daenerys watching her dragons playing in the sea.
“The first time they had done it, she feared that they meant to kill each other, but it was only sport. No sooner would they splash into the sea than they would break apart and rise again, shrieking and hissing, the salt water steaming off them as their wings clawed at the air.”
It doesn’t specifically mention the dragons going deep beneath the surface but we have seen them hunt for fish before and diving down to catch prey would make sense, echoing the real-life behaviour of certain seabirds.
This may just be a complete flight of fancy of course – maybe Jaime really is dead, or maybe we really will see Bronn having a David Hasselhoff moment. If so, it better be in slow motion and with the Baywatch theme tune playing…