The recent first season of House of the Dragon has further demonstrated the complicated family dynamics often seen in the Game of Thrones series. For centuries the Targaryens married within their own families, which made wars between prospective heirs all the more complicated. The Blacks are led by Rhaenyra Targaryen, married to her uncle, Daemon. The Greens’ pick for a king is Aegon Targaryen, who is married to his sister, Helaena— Rhaenyra’s brother and sister.
The complex relationships between siblings are a significant aspect of House of the Dragon, and this extends to Game of Thrones. The siblings of houses like Stark, Targaryen, and Lannister could make or break their houses depending on their bonds. While the Stark children proved themselves strong siblings in a more traditional sense, twins Jaime and Cersei Lannister took a much more “Targaryen” approach. Their quotes in Game of Thrones combined their Lannister power with passionate romance to prove that they were the strongest siblings in Westeros— even if it made everyone uncomfortable.
“The Things I Do For Love.”
When audiences are first made aware of the intimate relationship between the Lannister twins, their shock is quickly overtaken by devastation when Jaime pushes young Bran out the tower window. Immediately, Jaime was an unpopular Game of Thrones character in viewers’ eyes, and his romance with Cersei only worsened this.
However, as the seasons went on, it became clear that Jaime wasn’t all bad. Only his love for Cersei seemed to twist him into an unfeeling villain. Despite his time away and redemption with Brienne of Tarth, his passion for Cersei still drove him back to darkness. The things he would do for love proved that his bond with his sister was stronger than any conscience.
“We’re Going To Take Everything There Is.”
Having a father like Tywin Lannister made Jaime and Cersei feel pride and fear regarding their family name. They grew up knowing that their father’s wrath would be horrible to behold if anyone crossed them. However, they knew deep down that this also applied to their actions.
Regardless of their fear for themselves, growing up this way instilled confidence in them that nothing couldn’t be theirs. They had gold, power, and each other. It didn’t matter that Robert Baratheon was King or that Ned Stark had discovered their secret— they would rule the world all the same (or die trying).
“You Should Be Hand Of The King.”
Despite their bond, Jaime and Cersei remained oblivious to each other’s faults. No matter how many terrible things the Queen did, Jaime believed that he was uniquely exempt from her cruelty. No matter how much Cersei mocked Jaime’s tendency to act before thinking, she still overestimated his intelligence.
Jaime had a talent for fighting, but he lacked the cunning mind of his father and siblings. He had inherited the brawn, while Tyrion and Cersei had all the brains. Still, Cersei believed that Jaime could have a place guiding the king. She may have been deluded, but the twins’ ability to overlook faults is what kept them close for so long.
“Why Have The Gods Made Me Love A Hateful Woman?”
Despite being separated for so long, Jaime didn’t get the reception he had been expecting from Cersei. She had grown to resent his absence, so once he came back, she saw fit to punish him by giving him the cold shoulder. This caused Jaime to realize just how hateful she could be.
Still, this did nothing to diminish his love for her. He was reluctant and even ashamed, but his feelings remained the same. The two had been bonded since their conception, and seeing that Cersei was the evilest Lannister in Game of Thrones wasn’t enough to change that. It might have been disturbing– even to him– but nothing could hinder his love.
“She’d Murder You In Your Sleep.”
Watching Cersei marry Robert Baratheon was difficult for Jaime, and it was only made easier by his twin’s determination to keep the king from conceiving a child with her. When Robert died, Tywin Lannister looked to make her a new match, and this time, neither of his children would let it happen.
When Loras Tyrell mocked Jaime, he retorted that a match with Cersei would take his life. The Queen and her twin were no longer willing to let themselves be swept away in the will of their father, and they would kill anyone necessary to maintain their freedom. Jaime’s words were a risk and, in a roundabout way, dangerously correct.
“They’ll Make Their Jokes. Let Them.”
Cersei and Jaime lost everyone close to them. They had gotten Robert and the other Baratheons out of the way, Tyrion had murdered Tywin and fled, and their children were killed one by one. Some of these deaths were a triumph, while others were devastating. Still, each opened them up to live however they wanted to.
No longer fearing the wrath of the king and their father or any fallout for their children, Cersei was done sneaking around in Game of Thrones, and she stopped trying to hide her romance with her brother. This only further advertised that she had little right to the Iron Throne, but she no longer cared. Her brother was everything she needed.
“They Have No Idea How Strong We Are.”
While the loss of her father’s protection and the deaths of her children were devastating, they helped Cersei achieve everything she had ever wanted. She had claimed the Iron Throne for herself and had placed her brother beside her with no question that he was her lover.
They were all that was left of the central Lannister family, and with Cersei on the throne and Jaime standing at her side to protect her, they were a formidable force. The fact that they had little else to lose made them an even more dangerous enemy to Daenerys Targaryen than if Tywin was still alive.
“Everyone Who Isn’t Us Is An Enemy.”
A major difference between Jaime and Cersei is that while the former could make connections outside the family tree, the latter trusted no one who wasn’t a Lannister. A significant part of her love for Jaime came from the fact that he was her blood. Being loyal to him was the same as being faithful to herself.
So, when Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow came to King’s Landing to ask for help against the White Walkers, it was no surprise that Cersei thought only of protecting her own. Jaime wanted to provide the aid they had promised, but Cersei only wished to leave Daenerys and her Game of Thrones dragons to fight their enemy while staying safe in King’s Landing.
“I Don’t Believe You.”
When the time came for Jaime to choose between keeping his vow to ride north and his love for Cersei, his sister was determined not to make it easy. She had already decided that she didn’t care about anyone but her family, and when Jaime made his intentions clear, she swore that she would have him killed as a traitor.
Sir Gregor had his sword in hand, ready to kill the Queen’s brother if he tried to leave. Still, Jaime looked Cersei in the eye and called her bluff. He walked away unscathed, leaving Cersei looking both angry and heartbroken. It had always been a question whether she would kill her twin if he turned against her, but this moment concluded that their bond was too strong.
“Nothing Else Matters. Only Us.”
The Lannister twins had spent their whole lives fighting. They fought for power and their lives, but in the end, all they could do was accept that there was no other path for them. Cersei struggled with this, and surrounded by the skulls of dragons past, she begged for the life of herself and her child.
But Jaime had already accepted death when he rode for King’s Landing to be with Cersei. He knew Daenerys would destroy everything but chose to be there anyway. The pair were far from perfect in their relationship as siblings or lovers, but their tragic end in each other’s arms proves that their bond was unmatched in Game of Thrones.