Jaime sat alone at the table while the shadows crept across the room. As dusk began to settle, he lit a candle and opened the White Book to his own page. Quill and ink he found in a drawer. Beneath the last line Ser Barristan had entered, he wrote in an awkward hand that might have done credit to a six-year-old being taught his first letters by a maester:
"Defeated in the Whispering Wood by the Young Wolf Robb Stark during the War of the Five Kings. Held captive at Riverrun and ransomed for a promise unfulfilled. Captured again by the Brave Companions, and maimed at the word of Vargo Hoat their captain, losing his sword hand to the blade of Zollo the Fat. Returned safely to King’s Landing by Brienne, the Maid of Tarth."
When he was done, more than three-quarters of his page still remained to be filled between the gold lion on the crimson shield on top and the blank white shield at the bottom. Ser Gerold Hightower had begun his history, and Ser Barristan Selmy had continued it, but the rest Jaime Lannister would need to write for himself. He could write whatever he chose, henceforth.
Whatever he chose …
George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords (via lnknorg)
You know what I really like about this is the matter-of-fact way Jaime writes about the latest events of his life. There is absolutely no trace of self-aggrandizing in this. These few lines paint a pretty miserable depiction of Jaime Lannister, one that he has no interest in embellishing, apparently. They’re all passive verbs. He writes of himself as someone who had absolutely no agency in what happened. He was a helpless hostage, a sad puppet in the hands of other people, “ransomed for a promised unfulfilled” (as in, even when I was freed, it wasn’t for my own merits), and he doesn’t embellish this truth or try to present his journey back to KL in a glorified light or pretend his courage or his skills as a swordsman had any role whatsoever in all of this. He could have written something like “despite having been maimed, he still fought bravely blah blah”. Or, he could have mentioned jumping in the bear pit to rescue a maiden - which is the most traditionally “knightly” act Jaime ever did, surely one you want to write in your White Book chapter? But no. When he mentions Brienne, it’s not as the damsel in distress he rescued, but as the person who “returned him safely to King’s Landing”. He deliberately chooses to write that Brienne saved his life, and not the other way around. I think this is all kinds of awesome, and speaks volumes of Jaime’s personality.
oh, and the symbolism of When he was done, more than three-quarters of his page still remained to be filled between the gold lion on the crimson shield on top and the blank white shield at the bottom. From the golden lion of Lannister to the “white” knight - it’s a transition, it’s Jaime’s identity arc in a nutshell, and he isn’t halfway through it yet. And we don’t know whether he’ll get to the bottom of the page, or not.