On Sunday night, the latest episode of Game of Thrones finally gave us plenty of long, loving looks of Jaime Lannister’s new beard. And it was about time. After a largely Jaime-less premiere, which contained a dragon ride possibly copy and pasted into the episode’s script from a Reddit thread and Jon Snow responding “My father was the most honorable man I ever met” to news that he’s having sexual intercourse with his aunt, we finally got what we wanted: Jaime’s new look! It is a fabulous facial feature for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s stunning head, and it gives us a glimmer of hope. Perhaps Jaime’s new beard will guide the rest of the final season in the best direction possible!
Of course, Jaime’s facial-hair lewks have changed quite significantly throughout every season. So in honor of his new look, this is a ranking of all of the Game of Thrones seasons according to Jaime Lannister’s facial-hair situation — from the boring clean-shaven face of season one to the five-o’clock shadow that doesn’t grow at all during seasons five through seven. I’m going to bring up the inconsistencies with Jaime’s redemption arc as it relates to his facial hair season by season a lot, so bear and the maiden fair with me.
8. Season One
No facial hair technically doesn’t count as facial hair, but this is a situation we need to talk about, please. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s chiseled cheekbones could easily slice butternut squash. And though we would never know the true seductive powers of this man’s facial structure if it weren’t for Jaime Lannister’s bare face, this is the worst look of them all. Seeing Jaime look like he walked straight off the A Knight’s Tale set is as hard to watch as his continued relationship with Cersei long after his redemption arc in season three.
7. Season Four
At first, the description for Jaime’s season-four facial-hair situation was just going to be a bunch of “ughs,” but that’s a better description for the Myrcella rescue mission in Dorne. Not only does Jaime introduce a clean-shaven face in the season-four premiere, “Two Swords,” but he also sports a head of short hair without the signature golden Lannister locks. What happened to his hair color? There’s never been an explanation for this. Along with his new do, Jaime emerges with a desire to get back in it (“it” meaning incest) with Cersei. While Jaime’s facial hair grew and grew throughout seasons two and three, he gained some perspective on his past and did some reflecting, which started an interesting redemption arc. But with all the facial hair gone, he’s suddenly back to his old ways, as if he learned nothing over the last two seasons of the program. Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff appear to think that beards have a direct correlation to character growth. But what if they’re right? If I get my boyfriend to completely shave his facial hair off, will he clean our apartment unprompted? This is something to think about.
6. Season Five
The wee bit of facial hair we see on Jaime Lannister’s face in season five is well-deserved, considering what his plot in this season put all of us through. See how the lines of his facial hair highlight Jaime’s bone structure? I am melting like the gold Khal Drogo used to make Viserys Targaryen’s iconic crown. Unfortunately, this scruffy look isn’t enough to make it to the top of our list. Somehow, it’s a five-o’clock shadow that does not grow at all throughout the season, even though Jaime spends weeks away from access to a razor.
5. Season Six
By season six, Jaime is starting to let his old, incest-ing self go. Kind of. Sort of. It’s a slow process, and he needs time. And time is very … inconsistent in Westeros. Jaime’s redemption arc had to start back up at some point, so, of course, his facial hair starts to grow back along with his moral compass. With mourning the death of his daughter, Myrcella; managing the rise of the High Sparrow in King’s Landing; and taking over a siege in Riverrun, Jaime simply doesn’t have time for pampering. Thank the gods! This sharp but rough look is a small leap into facial-hair greatness — and belated character development.
4. Season Two
Jaime spends the majority of season two with poopy pants and a bad attitude. This is understandable, since he’s living in an outdoor cage as a prisoner of Robb Stark. While this situation is obviously unfortunate, it’s necessary for both Jaime’s growth as a character and for the growth of his facial hair. Without the luxuries of baths and blades in King’s Landing, Jaime’s facial hair is set free, an irony that I’m sure is not lost on him as a prisoner of war. His unkempt bad-boy, murder-my-own-cousin look here is a huge improvement on his “Prince Charming from the Shrek sequels” season-one vibe, especially when his bangs get in his eyes.
3. Season Three
Is Jaime’s facial hair much different in season three than in season two? Not really, but I’m going to overanalyze it anyway. It’s pretty much the same as season two, but there is one main difference that is an improvement: To show that time has passed, Jaime’s prison beard has grown longer! And it’s a bit Jesus-y, which really works for him. There are several golden hairs in this beard that look good and casually remind us that Jaime is still a Lannister who pushed a 10-year-old child who probably didn’t even know what sex was out of a window. What a moment for Jaime Lannister’s facial hair! What a moment for this epic program.
2. Season Seven
In most other contexts, season seven would never be ranked this highly. But not when viewed through the lens of Jaime’s beautiful face! His facial situation here is what happens when you add salt and crushed black pepper onto a face like that. While Jaime’s facial hair defies time because it does not grow at all during his Big Trip to Highgarden from King’s Landing and back, it is perhaps one of the only things in season seven that doesn’t make me wish that I’d died with my best friends Margaery Tyrell and Kevan Lannister in the Great Sept of Baelor. Here, his head hair is clearly approaching a ’90s trend even though he has zero reference photos for his stylist. The look really highlights his cheekbones in a way it couldn’t in his looks for seasons five and six. I want to make out with this, even if the stubble gives me dry, peeling skin. And even if his sharp cheekbones slice my face off. Arya can use my face to murder Cersei, I don’t care.
1. Season Eight
The Young Leo hair combined with the beard with speckled grays is the best thing Game of Thrones has done narratively since season four. When I ride on a horse in the snow for a month with a hood on so people cannot see me because I’m popular, I also emerge with ’90s heartthrob bangs, combed to perfection by angels. This is the weirdest Jaime has ever looked — he literally looks like a Stark now? However, this is also the best he’s ever looked. I am very confident that I and anyone reading this blog will never find themselves in a situation where they come face-to-face with the child they once pushed out of a window and paralyzed. But if this ever does happen to me, I hope I look this good.