Warning: This post contains extensive spoilers for Game of Thrones season eight, episode five, along with some generally messed up thoughts about bowl cuts.
The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, “The Bells,” featured several cataclysmic ends for its characters: Varys was executed by Daenerys before she went on to raze King’s Landing with Drogon; the Hound finally defeated his brother the Mountain in a murder-suicide; and Jaime killed Euron before reuniting with Cersei, who died together as the Red Keep crumbled onto them. That final death scene was by far the most tender and poignant, and also gave me the opportunity to somberly reflect on my truth, which I am now feeling brave enough to share with you today.
Jaime Lannister was at his hottest when he had a bowl cut.
Let’s think back to season one, when Jaime (played by Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) was clean-shaven, with flowing, leonine golden locks. He’s conventionally — cartoonishly, even — both handsome and villainous, having thrown a child out a tower window in the pilot to cover up some heavy twincest.
As the seasons march on, Jaime’s story arc becomes more complicated and bends ever closer towards redemption. With it, he loses a hand and gets increasingly dirtier and scruffier. His beard becomes peppered with grey, his hair gets shorter and shorter until we arrive at this last season with pure, unadulterated bowl cut. My Vulture colleague Rachel Handler wrote that it “looks like he straightened it very slowly, piece by piece, until it hung slack over his face in the perfect shape of a bowl.” On the one hand, accurate. On the other, the bowl cut was Doing It for Me.
To be so horned up because of a bowl cut, otherwise known as Bangs for Men™, was initially troubling; my previous associations with the hairstyle were every boy in my kindergarten class and Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. When I asked some of my colleagues if they, too, were more into the bowl cut, I was met with everything from silence to outright disapproval – until writer Madeleine Aggeler weighed in diplomatically. “He’s so hot that honestly I don’t notice his hair at all,” she wrote to me. “I didn’t realize he had a bowl cut until you said it.”
A fair point, to be sure, but I also knew that I was more attracted to Jaime because of the bowl cut, not just in spite of it. The bowl cut was morally complex. The bowl cut had baggage. The bowl cut did things that normal season-one Jaime hair could never dream of. It left its home and family, driven by a sense of duty and honor, to fight a long-shot battle against the Army of the Dead. It attempted to make amends with those it had wronged, and embodied a noble sense of sacrifice (and not just because it’s kind of a shitty haircut). It even died in the arms of its true love, another tragic bowl cut. I’m proud to say that I want this bowl cut to look me in the eyes, gently stroke my face with a stiff golden hand, and then [redacted] me while we [redacted]. Then I’d like to give it a nice little trim.