Is he really? Did they just? Surely not?
The fourth episode of Game of Thrones Season 7, The Spoils of War, ends on a big cliffhanger. A quick recap: After a fiery battle against Daenerys and Drogon, Jaime Lannister charges towards the Mother of Dragons. He's set to be burned to a crisp, before Bronn makes a last-ditch flying save, sending them both plunging into the water, where Jaime's heavy armour drags him down - and that's where it ends.
In just its first season, Game of Thrones built a reputation of 'anyone can die at any time', and that is, partly, what they're playing on here. They must, on some level, want us to think that Jaime could actually die.
Except, well, he cannot. Not yet, anyway. While it's unlikely Jaime will survive the entire show, killing him off here - and especially leaving his death as a cliffhanger - would make no sense, and do a massive disservice to one of the show's most interesting characters.
Thrones does kill off major characters in a way other shows might not, but not when they've clearly got so much left to offer the story. There's logical reasoning behind deaths like Ned, Robb, and Catelyn Stark, or Tywin Lannister: a sense that they'd served their purpose, and them dying helped propel a new chapter. That doesn't apply to Jaime, whose arc is far from over.
His path has always been about redemption (though it's handled better in the books), and it's a road he's already travelled down a fair bit, albeit with some big stumbles. He still has to come to terms with his past - as a Kingslayer, a knight, a father, a killer - and his present and future - as Cersei's brother/lover, and what danger she represents to the realm; his relationship with Brienne, which should be addressed before the show ends; and a potential reunion with Tyrion, which seems likely to happen soon.
The theory of Jaime being the one to kill Cersei works so well because of his murky past and their relationship, providing redemption but mixed with tragedy that is befitting of this character. Even if he himself were to die in Season 7, after killing - or at least attempting to stop - Cersei, it'd be satisfying. But simply being a casualty of war, fried by a dragon? That doesn't work at all, no matter how much metaphorical subtext about the Lannister armour weighing him down the show throws in at the end.
The showrunners surely know this too. If Olenna Tyrell - a great, but relatively much smaller character - gets such a notable sendoff in Season 7, then Jaime deserves even better, and it's impossible to see this being the end of him.
What do you think? Is there any way Jaime does actually die? Let us know down in the comments.