Most stories focus on true heroes against evil villains, which is why anti-heroes are as interesting as they are different. And two of the best media ever seen are MCUs Bucky Barnes and Game of Thrones‘Jaime Lannister.
Both characters have magic on the dark side before changing their ways and fighting for the good. Despite their sometimes dubious moral compasses, they have become two of the most popular characters in their respective franchises. Yet they are very different, and there are aspects of each character that make them a better antihero than the other.
10 Bucky: His transgressions are forgivable
Like The Winter Soldier, Bucky kills a lot of people and even tries to take Steve Rodgers out. Yet it is easy for fans to forgive his deeds because it is a result of his brainwashing. Thus, the character avoids one of the biggest problems that other antiheroes have.
Several TV series try to present a changed person to the audience, but if they have done some really horrible things, it can be hard to forgive them. Although Jaime is not completely insoluble, some fans find it difficult to warm up to his anti-hero pace when they remember him pushing a child out of a window.
9 Jaime: Starts as an extremely hateful villain
In the first two seasons, Jaime Lannister is easily one of the most hating characters in Game of Thrones. His early complacency and cruelty make it even more special when he becomes a better human being. It is an honor for the writing team and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s achievement that they managed to turn Jaime into something resembling a hero.
Bucky’s transition from villain to antihero is much easier as he’s never really hated it. After all, there is one many more Bucky Barnes scenes that makes fans love him more than those who evoke hatred.
8 Bucky: Feeling very guilty
“I remember them all.” When Bucky says this line in Civil war, it proves how much guilt he feels for the murders he has committed. This is investigated in more detail in Falcon and the Winter Soldier series as Bucky tries to correct.
A character who openly feels bad about his transgressions is much easier to strike at later. For several seasons, it seems that Jaime also feels remorse over his crimes. In season 8, however, he does not sound ashamed as it leads him back to Cersei.
7 Jaime: His transformation is surprising
Unless you read the books, no one can guess in season 1 that Jaime Lannister is going to be one of the most likeable characters in the series. He is so awful that when he sees it for the first time, many hope he does not get past a few episodes. The surprise of his transformation makes it even more compelling to witness.
With Bucky, there is always a feeling that he will develop into a good guy again. Even people who have not read the comics can see it coming because of his close relationship with Steve. Captain America never gives up, so he would not stop trying to bring his friend back to the good.
6 Bucky: His anti-hero status stands out in his universe (Infinity Saga)
Marvel has recently started adding more anti-heroes to MCU, but in the first three phases there is not an abundance of them. Bucky and the Guardians of the Galaxy are pretty much the only major characters to go below the line of good and evil during Infinity Saga. Everyone else is either a pure hero or an evil villain.
It’s a move that makes Bucky stand out, despite being much more underplayed than some of his other MCU alumni. Jaime does not have the same originality as almost all the characters in Game of Thrones is a little morally gray.
5 Jaime: His heroic moments stand out
Ironically, Jaime Lannister’s most heroic moment is what makes him hate so many other characters as he kills the mad king to save the people of King’s Landing from being burned alive. And in the show, he does many more brave things, from protecting Brienne to taking part in the Battle of Winterfell.
A good antihero must occasionally save the day; otherwise they would just be a villain. Bucky does his fair share of heroic acts in MCU, but usually, Barnes is the one being rescued, typically by Steve Rodgers.
4 Bucky: Emotional transformation
Bucky’s shift from The Winter Solider to an antihero is emotionally charged. Steve desperately tries to make him remember who he really is, but Bucky struggles to recognize his former friend, so the fights between the two super soldiers are hard to watch. It all makes Bucky’s gradual transformation into an honorable individual more powerful.
IN Game of Thrones, Jaime’s transformation is very different. Viewers are not desperate to see the man change because they do not expect it. Thus, it is not so emotional of a journey.
3 Jaime: Honestly despite his influence
With the people Jaime spends most of his time on, it’s not surprising that he’s an unpleasant character in the early seasons. Tywin and Cersei are two of the most immoral people imaginable, and both are close to Jaime pretty much their entire lives.
So it’s even more impressive that he manages to be honest at all. Brienne and Tyrion are pretty much the only good influences the man ever has. At least Bucky has similar Steve and Sam to keep him on the right track after getting away from his catchers.
2 Bucky: Never really regresses
It’s unclear what Bucky’s future is in MCU, but so far, since he became an antihero, he’s pretty much been like that — maybe even evolved into a complete hero. There is very little chance that he will ever return to a pure villain, especially now that his activation words no longer work.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Jaime, of which he is one the characters there Game of Thrones ruins in season 8. In a vicious moment, he undermines his development and returns to the evil Cersei.
1 Jaime: Pacing off his bow
Jaime does not just turn into an antihero overnight. Throughout the first few seasons, he gradually becomes a more noble and likeable person. The slow burning of his transformation makes it a truly fascinating arc, and it allows viewers to become more and more hot to a character they originally hate.
Bucky becoming an antihero is not exactly sudden, but it happens pretty quickly. Fortunately, fans do not need more time to fall in love with the character, as many already feel sorry for him, long before he pulls Steve out of the lake.
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