While Game of Thrones viewers already know the tragic ending for Brienne and Jaime, George R.R. Martin’s The Winds of Winter book will reveal whether she betrays him for Lady Stoneheart, a character entirely absent from the TV series. Following the backlash of HBO’s Game of Thrones season 8, The Winds of Winter is heavily anticipated as a way to progress the stories of George R.R. Martin’s iconic characters in the manner that the author fully envisioned. Since Game of Thrones surpassed the events of the books after season 4, The Winds of Winter will tell a fairly different story from the series, with one of the most curious unadapted plotlines being Jaime and Brienne’s conflict with Lady Stoneheart.
One significant character from A Song of Ice and Fire that curiously never made her way into Game of Thrones was Lady Stoneheart, who was really the resurrected Catelyn Stark. After the Brotherhood Without Banners brought the slain Red Wedding victim back to life, Lady Stoneheart sought vengeance on those who betrayed her family, which primarily included the Freys and Lannisters. Since Catelyn had let Jaime free with Brienne to trade for her daughters, Lady Stoneheart was under the impression that the two had betrayed her, though Brienne maintained her loyalty to Catelyn Stark, explaining she was still actively searching for Sansa and Arya. However, to test her loyalty, Catelyn Stark gave Brienne a choice that would mean heartbreak in either circumstance.
After Lady Stoneheart strung up Podrick and Brienne, she gave Brienne the choice to either bring Jaime back to her for revenge, or have both herself and Podrick hanged to death. Upon seeing Podrick struggling from the noose, Brienne chose to find Jaime. A Dance With Dragons only featured one section between Brienne and Jaime, which saw her find the Kingslayer and ask him to help her retrieve Sansa Stark from the Hound alone. Considering Brienne appears just as in love with Jaime in the books as she was in Game of Thrones, betraying Jaime by handing him over to Lady Stoneheart would see the character’s most significant test of loyalty yet. However, considering a romance between the two is more likely now that Jaime has denounced Cersei after learning of her many infidelities, The Winds of Winter will likely feature a twist that still has Brienne and Jaime allied at the end.
Even if Brienne brings Jaime to Lady Stoneheart, it’s unlikely that she’ll kill him, as the Lannister character still has plenty of storylines that have yet to be told. Jaime is still progressing in his redemptive arc in The Winds of Winter, with the books hinting at a more significant betrayal to Cersei before his story comes to an end. As such, Brienne may be successful in bringing Jaime to the books’ Lady Stoneheart, but the two reuniting after he was her hostage may see a turn of events that could follow him continuing to search for Sansa and Arya alongside Brienne. After all, Jaime was also tasked with helping Catelyn Stark’s daughters return home.
It’s unlikely that The Winds of Winter and George R.R. Maritn’s future books will see Brienne and Jaime’s storyline take the same trajectory as Game of Thrones, but it would be disappointing for their relationship to end with a betrayal on behalf of Brienne. In Game of Thrones, Jaime left Brienne after sleeping with her to go back to Cersei, which rightfully caused much controversy. With the set-up from the A Song of Ice and Fire books, it’s unlikely that Jaime will return to his sister in the end, especially since it’s theorized that Jaime is the prophetic valonqar who will murder Cersei.
While Brienne simply leading Jaime to Lady Stoneheart is already a betrayal of his trust, the two will more than likely walk away alive, even if that means Jaime temporarily being angry at Brienne thereafter. Considering this undead woman is no longer Catelyn Stark, Brienne may even decide to betray and kill Lady Stoneheart to save Jaime at the last minute. The Winds of Winter will test Brienne’s ability to listen to her heart over her perceived loyalty, but it isn’t apt to see her lead Jaime to his death.