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As a book reader as well I’m truly sad at how Jaime and Brienne’s relationship ended up. After the glorious high of seeing him knight her as Ser Brienne (an honor she above all the people in Westeros truly deserved) to that cliched farewell just a couple of episodes later was a real low point.

I knew the show runners were up to something when they conspicuously did not include the “valonquar” prophecy from the books in the show a few seasons back. I suspect GRRM plans Cersei’s end quite differently and with a lot more logic. Many careful book readers even believe that GRRM has seeded clues that Jaime and Brienne may even marry in the books -worked into the many prophetic dreams the two have had. I can’t say if that is correct, but it is fair to say that the two have a very rich and complex relationship and that the two actors who play them did an outstanding job of conveying their feelings in every scene, particularly in the ones where they don’t say anything. I wasn’t surprised to see in interviews that they were not greatly enthused about how things turn out for their relationship.

I have no problem with female characters having romance or a love life, in fact I think it can be quite sexist when they don’t. For example I’ve seen so many people before the season starting saying things like “Arya is too traumatized to have a relationship, she’s just DAMAGED” while fully expecting Jon (who was literally brought back from the dead) to of course have a full and satisfying love life and relationship.

I would have truly enjoyed seeing Brienne and Jaime together as respectful partners and true equals and the way he wanted to fight under her command and at her side gave me real hope that they might be the one happy ending to come out of the whole saga. What I didn’t want was Brienne to be shattered and weeping when Jaime threw her over to return to his homicidal sister. We’ve never seen Brienne like that, no matter what situation she faced be it a bear with a wooden sword, the contempt of men, or the army of the dead. She’s strong, capable and one of the few characters with a real sense of self and self worth. It made me angry to see the one thing that can “break” her be her boyfriend jilting her.

The show runners seem to think that to be truly “strong” a character must be alone as that’s how they left all the Starks and the main characters. We don’t even see if Davos talks to or makes it back to the wife he left behind umpteen seasons ago.

Arya is too “independent” to want her family or a relationship as she sets off for lands west. Sansa is Queen in The North without consort, family or close friends. Jon at least has his direwolf, Tormund and the Freefolk to keep him company. ( The writers had even wanted Ser Jorah to survive initially so he could be seen leaving the wall with Jon and his merry band at the end but realized there was no situation where they could have Dany put down as a mad Queen and Jorah still be alive.) It’s not hard to imagine Jon with another love someday despite the supposed strictures of the Nights Watch (particularly with his sister and brother Queen and King of the North and The Six Kingdoms). But Brienne will be the stalwart head of the unmarried Kingsguard writing Jaimes bowdlerized deeds in the great book, Arya will explore alone and Sansa will rule The North on her celibate throne.