WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones, which Sunday on HBO.
The Season 7 finale of HBO's Game of Thrones brought several key characters together for the first time as Tyrion Lannister orchestrated a parley between the two remaining powerhouses of the Seven Kingdoms. However, one of the most important moments of the episode involved two major players growing apart.
After seven seasons of Jaime and Cersei Lannister's secret (and now public) affair, the finale showed the Mad Queen pull one deception that not even her brother could forgive. Game of Thrones architects David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explained what led to the Kingslayer's sudden decision to leave Cersei's side.
"Jaime's chosen to side with his sister," Benioff said. "She is unequivocally bad. Everyone knows this, including Jaime. I think that's certainly on Jaime's mind, but then the final straw is when he realizes that this was all a scam."
Even in the face of impossible odds against the Night King's army of the dead, Cersei tricks Daenerys, Jon Snow and Tyrion into thinking she will fight alongside her enemies to defeat the White Walkers, at one point even using her unborn child as a tool in her deception. Upon being presented with evidence of the threat, in the form of a wight captured Beyond the Wall, Jaime has a much more logical reaction.
"I think seeing the truth of what's in the North, it meant one thing for Jaime, and it meant something else for Cersei," explained Weiss. "They both acknowledge the truth of it. They're both smart enough to realize what it means, but she is still seeing it from a cold, strategic stand point, and he is seeing it from the position more of existential survival for everyone."
Jaime is accustomed to his sister playing tricks on their enemies, but the straw that ostensibly breaks the camel's back is her reluctance in letting her brother in on her schemes. "It's one thing to say, 'OK, Cersei played a trick on her enemies,' but she didn't confide in him," Benioff added, "so he's realizing that his loyalty to her is not reflected in her loyalty to him. I think that absolutely is what informs his decision to leave King's Landing."
Game of Thrones' final season doesn't yet have a release date, but the penultimate season is now available in full on HBO Go and HBO Now. Based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, the hit drama stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.