We learned from George R.R. Martin that very little is black or white. Because everyone and everything that occurs has a purpose, neither good nor evil things can happen. There are no good or bad people; one may pass away a hero or live long enough to witness their own transformation into villains.
Jon Snow, though, has to be the one guy that frequently emerged from the ashes like a phoenix and came incredibly near to the mythical image of a just knight in shining armour. Several times during the course of the programme, his choices altered the course of history, and while some of them were heroic and well-intentioned, others were not.
He was raised as a bastard yet eventually rose to become both a King and the Lord Commander of a legendary order. We thought it was about time to discuss the accomplishments of this great guy in light of the recent announcement that a spin-off series featuring Jon Snow will air at some point in the future.
Keep your eyes on the screen because this film, which explores Jon Snow’s bravest 11 deeds, is going to be exciting. Oh, and by the way, beware of the spoilers if you happen to live in a cave or on the moon and have not yet watched Game of Thrones. Shall we get started?
The One Who Passes The Sentence Swings The Sword
Despite not being his father’s kid, Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow was just as much a Ned Stark as any of the other Stark offspring. He had every quality that a Stark of Winterfell ought to have, from Robb’s bravery and Bran’s insight to Sansa’s resolve and Arya’s power. Ned Stark, Jon’s father, was a role model for him since he was a man whose honour was indisputable throughout the seven kingdoms and who gave his kids advice on how to live and navigate the world. Jon always followed Ned’s rules, even though he loved and respected his father.
One such key piece of teaching that the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North left to his bastard son was that he who passes the sentence swings the sword. In season six of the show, Jon was faced with a coup; people like Alliser Thorne and Olly stuck their knives into his chest, killing the Lord Commander. However, the Red Woman or Lady Mellisandre brought him back after the Lord of Light answered her prayers. By now, the Wildlings had come to avenge Jon’s death because he had once saved them from certain death.
They captured Thorne and the other mutineers, and when Jon was fit enough to walk, he came down himself from his chamber to swing his sword to cut off the rope, hence hanging several men in one single blow. Now, it was not that Jon hadn’t killed anyone prior to this, but this moment was especially brave because he was killing Olly, a boy whom he had forgiven despite the fact that the boy had killed the love of Jon’s life. He considered Olly to be like a little brother and probably saw a bit of himself in the little orphan boy. Yet, Olly was far from innocent and had betrayed Jon. Jon acted as any stone-cold military strategist would, and executed the sentence.
The Battle of Bastards
Jon Snow: “You’re right. There’s no need for a battle. Thousands of men don’t need to die. Only one of us. Let’s end this the old way. You against me.”
First things first, Jon’s decision to fight Ramsay Bolton for Winterfell was as much an act of bravery as it was an act of utter stupidity. I mean, when you have to battle against a force that’s quite larger than yours, you quite simply do not go to that battle. And, even if you are naive enough to do that, you absolutely need to pay heed to the one person who knows your opponent the most.
Jon almost always paid no real heed to Sansa’s advice despite the fact that she was not only a smart young woman with a cunning mind but also someone who understood Ramsay more than anyone in the Stark camp. Nevertheless, meeting Ramsay in the battle was the only way he could save his castle as well as Rickon, he simply had to take that chance, and so he did. Jon prepared his battle plans and fought bravely, but could not save his brother, just as Sansa had previously predicted.
However, after the battle was over, Jon found himself running after Ramsay Bolton, who hid inside the walls of Winterfell. A bloody and muddy Jon breached the gates of Winterfell with the help of Wunn Wunn the giant, and faced Ramsay man-to-man, just that Ramsay was more animal than man. The bastard of Roose Bolton offered one-on-one combat to Jon to settle the claim for Winterfell and the lordship of the North.
Little did he know that even white walkers and the army of the dead could not kill Jon, and what was Ramsay before such evil forces? Jon beat the literal crap out of Ramsay and chained him with hungry hounds. From the way that beast had previously assaulted Sansa and Theon, Jon should have killed him right away, but he practiced restraint.
He knew that if anyone had the right to kill the son of satan, it had to be Sansa. Furthermore, Jon must have believed that since she was the true-born child of Ned and Catelyn Stark, she had more right to avenge her parents than himself. These things not only make Jon an intelligent battle commander but also a man who’s emotionally so intelligent that it is scary.
The Lord Commander
“Mormont himself chose Jon to be his steward. He saw something in Jon, and now we’ve all seen it too. He may be young, but he’s the commander we turned to when the night was darkest.”
When the battle with the wildlings was done, and most of them left for Hardhome, Maester Aemon called an election to choose the next Lord Commander. Interestingly enough, this is one of the few instances when we saw an election taking place in the show. In the last episode of the show, Samwell Tarly suggested something that sounded much like a universal franchise but was quickly mocked for suggesting such a thing.
Nevertheless, we are not here to discuss political science, are we? So, when the nominations were being filed, the names of Thorne and others came up. However, none of these men deserved to be the Lord Commander, it was now that Sam paved the way for Jon to achieve true greatness by nominating his name for the position. Interestingly enough, not long before this event, Jon was called by Stannis Baratheon, who offered to change his last name to Stark from Snow, and that after Stannis would have taken the Seven Kingdoms for himself, the North would be Jon’s.
After Sam nominated him, Jon did not seem to protest a lot. It was evident that he considered his duties towards the Wall as something way more important than becoming the lord of one kingdom or another. He gave away such an opportunity to serve the realms of men with the Brothers of the night’s watch.
Furthermore, it is well-accepted that Maester Aemon was one of the most intelligent and experienced men in all of the seven kingdoms, and it was the vote of this great man which made Jon the Lord Commander. It was truly a turning point for him because the position eventually helped him forge an alliance that would go on to defeat the Night King.
One Less White Walker
In season five, Lord Commander Jon Snow convinces Tormund that Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, united a hundred thousand Wildlings because he did not want them to become ice zombies led by White Walkers. However, he also says that Mance was wrong in not bending the knee to Stannis, who believed he was the one true king of Westeros. Tormund could see reason and rationale in Jon’s words and agreed to bring the remaining Wildlings back from Hardhome.
The two of them borrowed Stannis’s ships and left for Hardhome, where they managed to gain the trust of some 5000 Wildlings. However, what they did not know was Night King, and his frozen dead men had marched to Hardhome. When the Night King attacked, chaos unleashed its wrath upon everyone. To ensure that the Wildlings joined Jon, he brought them dragon glass, a substance that killed the whites.
However, the dragon glass was left inside a house when the army of the dead attacked. Jon went inside to retrieve it but was attacked by a White Walker. To give us a perspective of how strong the Whites were, director Miguel Sapochnik had asked the White Walker to kill a Thenn. Now, the Thenns were a clan of cannibals who were extremely strong, even by Wildling standards.
Yet, Jon managed to fend himself from the Walker long enough to learn that Valyrian Steel worked wonders against the icy demons. With one swing of his word, he managed to shatter the White Walker into pieces. This scene was important for several reasons, not only did it prove how battle-hardened Jon Snow was, but it also gave Jon the strength to carry on his fight against the dead. He was probably the first person in thousands of years to slay a White in actual combat. Yes, Sam killed a Walker too, but that was sheer dumb luck.
Duty, Is the Death of Love
Jon says, “Love is the death of duty.” Tyrion further says that duty is the death of love.
Once upon a time, Maester Aemon said that love was the death of duty, and Tyrion Lannister educated Jon on the fact that duty was the death of love. The last two episodes of Game of Thrones have been condemned by fans globally; while we are not here to debate if such criticism was logical, we have to admit that the last season, in its entirety, felt a bit rushed. Nevertheless, Jon follows his lover, aunt, and queen into battle to secure her the iron throne.
By now, he had spent quite some time with Daenerys and had learned that she was equal parts stern and soft. Yet, he watched in horror as Daenerys burned an entire city to the ground, not even sparing women and children, let alone the captured Lannister soldiers.
Jon was shocked to see that he had fallen in love with someone who wanted to crush the world and rule it with an iron fist, all in the name of breaking the wheel. When Tyrion is captured for betraying Daenerys by freeing his brother, and also for telling Daenerys who she really was, Jon visits Tyrion. He tells him that she will not stop with this madness until Starks, Baratheons, Lannisters, and all other noble houses of the world were destroyed. He implores him to think about the countless innocent lives she would take, all in the name of bringing her own kind of order. Jon realized that she would burn the world to the ground and rule the ashes if it meant she would become Queen of the world.
Furthermore, now that she had learned that Jon was a Targaryen and the rightful heir to the iron throne, it wouldn’t be long before she turned her dragon to him. A grief-ridden Jon then meets Daenerys in the Throne Room and stabs her. Interestingly enough, when Drogon sees his mother all bloody and lying dead on the ground, he does not attack Jon. It seems that Tyrion’s belief about dragons being more intelligent than men had come true. Maybe, Drogon did realize what a monster his mother had come to be.
Jon was not the last dragon, he was not fire-made flesh, and he could get hurt by fire. Yet, he was a truer Targaryen than Daenerys could ever be. I mean, yes, he did not grow up with stories about his house of the dragon and rather grew up to become a young wolf, but he understood dragons, and dragons understood him. From the very beginning, Drogon had allowed Jon to touch him, a feat that not many could achieve, at least not when Drogon had fully matured. Yet, the dragon sensed goodness and maybe some kind of deep relation.
Later, Jon rides Rhaegal, the green and bronze dragon with yellow-orange wings. Interestingly, the dragon was named Rhaegal by Daenerys after her brother Rhaegar, who was also Jon’s birth father. As effed up as it may sound, Jon was indeed getting some action with his first aunt. But then, this is the sort of stuff that makes Game of Thrones what it is. Coming back to the point I was making, riding Rhaegal was one of Jon’s personal accomplishments because it proved that he could master almost anything. With three dragons at his back and the traits of a great king, Jon would have turned Westeros into a land of prosperity. Having said that, I do not think that Bran The Broken was a bad choice either.
Taking Charge of The Wall
Note to the editor: In the episode where the wildlings attack the wall, Jon gives instructions to Edd about the attack like dropping the scythe and all. Please put that here.
When the Wildlings attacked Castle Black, they came prepared and surrounded it from all sides. They had a hundred thousand men and giants riding mammoths. Amidst these things, even Thorne agrees that Jon was right about blocking the tunnel with ice.
However, Thorne soon gets called down below, and he leaves Janos Slynt in charge. Slynt had been the commander of the City Watch in King’s Landing, but less heroic than little children. And as for his battle experience, let’s just say it was as much in existence as Lord Varys’s lost toy. Jon’s ranger friend Grenn was quick to realize that Slynt would help as much in winning the war as much as a shoe umbrella helps in saving your body from the rain. Oh, I am not kidding, those things do exist.
Grenn sends him down below, where he hides in a room where Gilly and her baby were hiding. Meanwhile, atop the Wall, Jon takes charge of the battle and guides Edd when he has to go down below to fight.
Duel With Styr
As I already told you in an earlier entry, Thenns are like crazy strong buggers who eat the men they kill. No, I am not saying that cannibalism makes you strong! Nevertheless, during the battle at the Wall, Jon finds himself a worthy opponent in the form of a Thenn named Styr.
Jon soon gets his face planted on an anvil, and I was surprised that he did not suffer a concussion. Yet, Jon was a skilled and trained fighter and had the capacity to use just about anything at his disposal as a weapon. He got hold of a hammer and stuck it right into Styr’s head, making him only the second man in the show to slay a White Walker and a Thenn. Any guesses at who the first man was? Leave your answers in the comments.
Sailing To Dragonstone
“You all crowned me your king. I never wanted it. I never asked for it. But I accepted it because the North is my home! It’s part of me, and I will never stop fighting for it, no matter the odds!”
After reclaiming Winterfell in an epic battle, all the Northern houses united in hailing Jon Snow, the King In The North. However, he could not remain so for a long time. After learning from Sam that Dragonglass killed White Walkers and that Dragonstone had huge mines of the substance, he decided to sail to the place, well aware that Daenerys Targaryen was there at Dragonstone. However, being the righteous man that he was, he had to get the dragon glass because it was the only way to win the great war.
Also, Daenerys had three fully grown dragons. The noble lords and ladies implored him that the King in the North should remain in the North, and Sansa advised him against the dangers of meeting Daenerys. Yet, Jon did what was right, or at least, what he thought was right, and went to Dragonstone anyway. And when he returned, he returned with two armies, three dragons, and a dragon queen. He practically walked into the mouth of death, but I guess, he knew what to say to the god of death.
Telling Cersei The Truth About His Allegiance
“When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies.”
The great war was at Winterfell’s doorsteps, and Cersei was building an army to bring the seven kingdoms to heal and defeat Daenerys. However, Daenerys could not afford to send her armies to the Northern cause, while Cersei seized the opportunity to take back the lands she had lost. Furthermore, Jon and everyone else believed that they needed the Lannister soldiers and every Westerosi army if the dead had to be defeated.
Naturally, a temporary truce had to be called. At the dragon pit, Cersei agrees to help the Northern cause but demands that the King in the North shall not take sides. However, he had already promised his allegiance to Daenerys and was honest about it to Cersei.
While some believe that doing such a thing was nothing less than a foolish and idiotic act, I guess it was important to Jon that he spoke the truth, no matter what consequences it could bear. And in the end, Cersei betrays them all despite promising that she’d send Lannister soldiers to the North. And, I guess, even if Jon had lied about his allegiance, Cersei would have betrayed him and Daenerys anyway.
Going into Wildling Camps, Twice
Out of all the things that Jon Snow did in his difficult yet exciting life, the most important and bravest of them has to be joining the Wildlings after assassinating Qorin Halfhand, a man Jon looked up to. It was an extremely difficult decision for him, and he found himself between a rock and a hard place. Yet, Jon did what was necessary and killed Halfhand to gain Mance’s trust.
He knew very well that he could be killed, but the brothers of the Night’s Watch needed someone on the inside in Mance Rayder’s camp. Secondly, when the battle at the wall was done and the night’s watch had had a small victory, Jon knew very well that Mance was now aware of Castle Black’s weak defenses. In order to end the war with a swing of a sword, he went to Mance’s camp to slay him.
Even this time, he knew that he could be killed in the worst ways possible, and yet, he went in anyway. Once Littlefinger had said about the Starks that they had slow minds and quick tempers, but then Jon was not entirely a Stark, was he? He was a Targaryen. He did have a quick temper, but he did not have a slow mind.
Jon Snow has often found himself in difficult places, and oftentimes the weight of doing the right thing crushes him, yet, he rises back up, like a phoenix from the ashes. He was betrayed, killed, and attacked, but he never gave up on doing the right thing, no matter the cost or odds. I believe Jon Snow is an exemplary protagonist, the like we shall never see again.