That provocative question(s) has got a good discussion going in the Completely Unspoiled Speculation Thread. I'd like to also hear the thoughts of those who aren't unspoiled as well.
So in everyone's opinion, which is Jaime?
Despicable villain, or tragic anti-hero?
Or maybe the question to ask is : Which is Jaime on the way to becoming?
HOWEVER, as usual, the Mod's Rules on spoilers still apply to discussion on this thread.
Also, as is my habit, I am posting links to some of the discussion in the Unspoiled thread that motivated me to start this thread for Jaime. There is a lot more sprinkled through that thread, these are just some that are answers to the above question.
Post: #666 to #672 / #684 to #687 / #694 to #707 (more or less) plus related posts at least up to #716.
The following quote is from ItIsKnown: (post #692) which expresses my current opinion on Jaime close enough that I don't see the need to paraphrase:
I don't doubt my opinion could change as the series goes on. ;-)
Jaime's choice of lover clearly shows his deep narcissism. His pioneer work in finding new depths of self obsession is behind that particular choice. Also, hes got this amazing gift of compartmentalizing feelings. In the scene where he talks to Jory, he switches between unfeeling jackass to jealous, bitter lover to reminiscing comrade-in-arms to unfeeling jackass. Then within a week, he shoes a dagger through Jory's eye without any remorse whatsoever. As shimpy says, his mind does not hesitate in seeking Ned's approval even though he knows he's tried to kill Ned's ten year old son.
Are those personality traits enough to call the man evil? I'm not sure what the medical implications are of sociopathy so I'm going to avoid using that term. Is he evil? As far as we know, he didn't force himself on Cersei. That relationship was formed out of mutual misery and sympathy and shared narcissism. It's creepy, twisted, perverted. But is it evil? Also, however abhorent shoving a ten year old may be, it was motivated by love (twisted love is still love). That act was evil. But is it enough to make the man beyond redemption? I, personally, do think there is hope for him yet. He is not black, just (very) dark gray.
ETA: A longish discussion on Jaime that happened in the general Lannister Thread. Starts at post #92 and continues to post #104 (with only a couple of short posts not on topic).
Edited by anothermi, May 28, 2011 @ 10:16 AM.