Season 7 of #HBO's Game of Thrones is fast approaching, but with this excitement also comes fear and trepidation. The ever-present question of which favorite character shall die next is looming over all our heads. However, there is one character who could determine the fate of many in Westeros. One who is a firm fan favorite, yet somehow often underestimated.
Brienne of Tarth has made a lasting impression on countless characters and will continue to do so. In fact, she may be the tipping point in the wars to come. Brienne is the secret weapon, and I'm sure not even she knows it. It's time we start giving her more credit.
Brienne Is One Of The True Heroes In Westeros
It's no secret that #Westeros is corrupt. One of the most brilliant things about George R.R. Martin's world is that it is near impossible to definitively name one family "good" and the other "evil." You can find many such traits in most characters, while knights rank among the worst. Whether they're forsaking their vows or abusing their power, true heroic knights are few and far between in the Seven Kingdoms. But Brienne does not have a power-hungry bone in her body. Her only wish is to serve and to be given the same chance as any man.
Brienne is one of the strongest characters in the show, both physically and emotionally. She has overcome many obstacles, from torture to humiliation, to get to where she is. She honors her vows above all else. She swore her allegiance to House Stark, and when the Red Wedding took Catelyn Stark, Brienne swore that she would save the Stark daughters.
She could have easily stayed with Jaime at King's Landing, serving the young King Joffrey and keeping close to the man she loved from afar. But as any true hero does, she put others before herself. And even when Sansa denied her help, Brienne continued to watch out for her, eventually saving the oldest Stark daughter's life. Without Brienne's service, Jon and Sansa would never have been reunited and, as a result, the psychopath Ramsay Bolton wouldn't have met his grisly end. Really, Brienne isn't given enough credit for her part in the Battle of the Bastards. True to her nature, she doesn't expect to be given the praise she is worthy of.
Brienne Could Be Jaime Lannister's Redemption
Let's go back to Season 1 for a moment, shall we? Remember Jaime Lannister back then? This was the Kingslayer, the person who pushed a small child out of a tower window and paralyzed him, who nearly has Ned Stark killed — and let's not even talk about the incest.
No one ever thought he would become one of the most liked characters on the show, in many ways the underdog we're all rooting for. Turns out he was just misunderstood, and we have Brienne to thank for this about face. After all, she is the first character to truly see him as Jaime, not as the Kingslayer. She gives him hope and allows him to see himself as a hero. For the first time in his life, thanks to Brienne's honor, persistence and faith in him, Jaime is able to base his actions on something other than his sister-lover. And even when he and Brienne apart, this sticks with Jaime.
The two star-crossed lovers were reunited briefly in Season 6, but the short scenes proved their bond is still strong. Jaime sees Brienne heading out of Riverrun and back to Sansa Stark, the Stark that Cersei hates the most. Jaime lets Brienne go without a second thought. He is loyal to Cersei yes, but he is not loyal to only her.
While Cersei acts as the devil on his shoulder, Brienne is the angel, showing him a better way. As a result, Jaime's tolerance for Cersei has lessened. All you need to do is look at Jaime's face when Cersei takes the Iron Throne. The disappointment and anger are palpable. Though the trailer shows Jaime by Cersei's side, there's no telling how long that will last. There is a very probable chance that Jaime's heroic nature will win out, and in search of Brienne he will abandon Cersei. Perhaps he will even be the cause of his sister's downfall.
If this is the case, there is no question it will be because of Brienne. If he had never met her, he would never see himself as a hero. People underestimate just how much of an impact Brienne had on the so-called Kingslayer, and while she will undoubtedly play a huge part in the war for the Iron Throne, there's a greater war to come she will play a part in.
Brienne Could Save Sansa And Jon's Relationship
One of the largest fan concerns going in to Season 7 of Thrones is that Sansa will be manipulated by Littlefinger to eventually betray #JonSnow. While betrayal is unlikely, there's a strong chance that Sansa and Jon's differences will get the better of them, and she could very well leave the North with Littlefinger.
We are not only talking about the fate of two of our favorites here. If Sansa leaves Jon, the Knights of the Vale leave with her. Jon loses a very large, strong segment of his army and will have even worse odds against the Walkers. He needs Sansa, and he needs the support of the Vale. But Littlefinger is willing to give Sansa the respect she deserves. She seems to be running out of patience, fast. Luckily, Littlefinger is no longer her only advisor.
Brienne has become one of Sansa's most trusted allies, even before the Stark girl was aware of it. Brienne's loyalty to the Stark family is unwavering, but above all else Brienne serves Sansa. So when the outsider knight inevitably sees how Baelish continues to try to manipulate Sansa, she will work her magic. She's already played the angel once with Jaime; there's a very good chance she'll become the angel on Sansa's shoulder as well. She will not see her young charge manipulated. If Sansa stays, there is no doubt it will be largely thanks to Brienne's endless support. The Vale shall remain to fight the Walkers, and if that war is won, so much of the victory will be Brienne's doing.
Brienne of Tarth has always been a favorite among #GameofThrones fans. She is the definition of a strong female character, both tough and vulnerable. And though appreciated by her fans, many of us underestimate just how big of a role she has and continues to play in the great game. We owe a lot to Brienne of Tarth, and I have a feeling that she'll deserve even more praise after the coming season.
The seventh season of Game of Thrones begins airing July 16 on HBO. What are you most excited for? Let us know down in the comments below.