Have you ever imagined a version of A Song of Ice and Fire where rarely anybody dies? Except for Joffrey? If you have, then look no further than The Treaty by MotherofFirkins. In this fic, when Robb Stark sends his peace terms to King’s Landing for the North to be declared a separate and independent kingdom from the South, the Lannisters agree. Unfortunately for Jaime, the terms also state that he is to remain in the North as a hostage for the rest of his days.
Also in the terms, Robb Stark demands ten additional Southern hostages—two will be returned every year—in order to further cement the peace. So Jaime finds that he will not be in captivity alone. As the years pass, he has to manage his guilt over Bran’s fall, his despair at his sister’s remarriage to another lord, feelings of betrayal due to his family accepting the peace terms, as well as his growing friendship with and desires for Brienne of Tarth, one of his fellow hostages.
To start off, one of the things that I love the most about the treaty is that it attempts to reconcile Jaime and Bran’s characters. Jaime is certainly a reprehensible person in both the show and the books—he attempts to murder a small child by pushing him out a window—and though just about everyone else in both versions are terrible people as well, Jaime’s probably one of the few characters that I would want to see redeemed.
As he is now faced with Bran almost every day of his life, he gets to know the boy better as a person, and he finds the guilt over what he had done to his new friend practically unbearable. It doesn’t help that while at Winterfell, Bran is the first person to extend any kind of friendship to him.
“You know you’re not supposed to be here, Brandon,” Jaime told the boy when he saw Hodor pulling his cart up to the Keep.
“Mother is busy settling in the hostages. She won’t know. I brought you something,” he said, gesturing to a frosted bowl in his cart.
“What is it?” Jaime asked.
“You looked upset at the feast last night. When I’m sad, Gage, the cook, makes this for me. It’s cream and ice with some berries from the glass gardens.”
Jaime took a spoonful of the treat.
“Do you like it?” Bran asked eagerly.
“More,” was all Jaime could say.
Hodor settled the boy next to Jaime on the Keep’s steps and they sat companionably for awhile eating from their bowls.
“Why do you always come around, Bran?” Jaime asked.
“I wanted to be a knight…before,” the boy replied. “You were the most famous knight in the Seven Kingdoms.”
“Infamous, you mean. I’m the Kingslayer.”
“But Aerys was the Mad King. He killed my grandfather and my uncle. Someone had to kill him.”
“I swore an oath.”
“King Robert swore an oath of fealty to King Aerys. Why was his oath less than yours?”
As soon as Jaime moved to hug the boy, his wolf started howling.
Of course, while all this is going on, Jaime is also developing feelings for Brienne. Brienne, unfortunately, doesn’t feel the same way
, and things spiral downward after Jaime crowns her the Queen of Love and Beauty at a tournament Robb allowed him to participate in. Jaime had been unaware of the cruelty she suffered at the hands of the men at Renly’s camp, and though he meant the gift to honor her, she took it as a mocking gesture that only served to remind her how undesirable she truly is.
It was Talla Tarly who finally shed some light on what had so wounded the wench. Jaime overheard the girl talking to Randa Royce about Brienne.
“I don’t know what she expects, after what happened at Renly’s camp?”
“What happened?” Jaime asked, interrupting the pair.
“My brother Dickon told me about it. The men there had a bet to see who could be the one to take Lady Brienne’s maidenhead.”
“They tried to force her? I can’t imagine they were very successful,” Jaime said with a laugh.
“Oh no, Ser Jaime. They weren’t cruel. They just gave her little gifts and paid her extra attention to gain her favor. My father put an end to it before anyone tried to force her hand.”
“That seems quite cruel to me, Talla. They mocked her with their gifts and affections.”
“Well, she deserved it, if you ask me. She’s a woman, not a knight. She should have stayed on her island. Besides, Ser Jaime,” she continued. “you mocked her more than anyone when you crowned her your Queen of Love and Beauty.”
Jaime’s heart sank. He’d meant the crown as a gesture of respect and friendship. Now, he couldn’t blame the wench for thinking he was ridiculing her.
The Treaty is only eleven chapters long, spanning over at least five years of storytime. As time progresses, Brienne eventually forgives Jaime for the unintended slight and the two of them resume their friendship, eventually falling in love in the process. The story deals with a lot of themes, such as guilt, love, and redemption. Not only does it explore Jaime’s relationship with both Brienne and Bran, it also explores his relationship with Daenerys Targaryen and whether or not she’d punish him for the murder of her father after taking over the Seven Kingdoms. Thankfully, she allows him to live out the rest of his days with Brienne—I mean, she didn’t seem to care when Drogo killed Viserys.
In some ways this story feels a little unnatural, because even though bad things do happen in it, The Treaty is about giving all the characters, even someone like Cersei, a happy ending. And happy endings and Westeros are not two things that go together easily. However, fanfiction can be wish fulfillment. And after watching all the horrible things happening in the show, seeing the characters all get happy endings is exactly what we need. The Treaty is a pleasant story, and it’s nice to see things actually work out for the best for once. You can check it out on AO3 here.