Academic journal article Mythlore

Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister: A Romantic Comedy within HBO's Game of Thrones

Academic journal article Mythlore

Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister: A Romantic Comedy within HBO's Game of Thrones

Article excerpt

HBO'S Game of Thrones depicts many "odd couples" due to the decision of showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss to reveal characters mainly through their relationships. (2) In this wide-ranging epos, the old and the young, the powerful and the meek, and relatives and strangers are joined in a series of limited or evolving relationships. These include the characters of Tywin Lannister and Arya Stark, Arya and the Hound (Sandor Clegane), Tyrion the imp and Bronn his bodyguard, and Bran Stark and Osha the wildling, among others.

The relationship between Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister is one of the most interesting in the show. Although not one of the main plotlines in the series, which focuses on political intrigues among noble families, the relationship between these two characters has developed a large fan base due to the unexpected nature of their bond. Despite their complicated connection, which first began developing in the second season, many fans perceive their relationship in the generic terms of a budding romantic-comedy.

In this paper, I address the assumptions which predict a romantic union between Brienne of Tarth, a woman-warrior serving Lady Catelyn Stark, and Jaime Lannister, a prisoner of war at the Northerners camp, despite evidence to the contrary. I will attempt to explain why the harshly realistic depiction of a medieval-European-type world and the generally tragic tone of the series do not stop many viewers from wishing for a happy, or at least romantic, end for Brienne and Jaime. (3)

I will also show how Brienne and Jaime's story includes elements typical of a certain type of romantic comedy--the one Northrop Frye found in Shakespeare's comedies and referred to as "the drama of the green world" (182). As its literary source, the TV series uses the seasons of the year and their archetypal attributes, and therefore invites analysis in terms of Frye's theory of myths. Brienne and Jaime's story specifically combines elements of the myth of spring (comedy) and the myth of summer (romance) thus giving a glint of hope and anticipating the banishment of winter, which threatens the whole realm ("Winter is Coming" is the title of the first episode of the series).

The hybridity of Game of Thrones--a hybridity that also exists in its source, George R.R. Martin's book series--naturally affects the manifestation of the conventions of romantic comedies in it. The series is based mainly on the conventions of fantasy, adventure stories, (4) myths, historical epos, and knights' tales. Elements of folktales and allusions to historical events are also discernible. The dominance of the conventions of adventure stories causes a relocation of components of romantic comedies, ironic reversals in the meaning of generic elements, and a fundamental uncertainty about the application of forthcoming elements in the familiar patterns of romantic comedy. This study follows Deleyto's notion of films as participating in genres, as opposed to films belonging to specific genres. Deleyto showed how films identified as a western (Rio Bravo), a thriller (Rear Window), a crime film (Out of Sight), and so on also have romantic comedy elements, without being labeled as such. He also claims that this hybridity is a widespread phenomenon in Hollywood films.

As we will soon see, the viewers' expectations are not unfounded. Benioff and Weiss designed (5) Brienne and Jaime's relationship to follow the book series and, among other things, to contain components characteristic of romantic comedies--specifically, elements that are typical of the first third of Hollywood romantic comedy plotlines.

Since a formulaic narrative structure is the central ingredient according to which texts in literature, film and TV are identified as belonging to romantic comedy (Deleyto 23), I will first detail major happenings in Brienne and Jaime's story. Here is a summary of the events in their shared scenes so far:

Brienne first meets Jaime in episode 2. …

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