Game of Thrones Season 7 is a roller coaster ride, and Jon Snow is right at the center of the action, where he needs to be. The central message from the TV series and the original A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin seems to be something along the lines of, "There are no heroes -- fend for yourself!" Still, if we’d name a hero among the moral quagmire that is Westeros, we’d have to say it is Jon Snow.
There’s no secret as to why he’s a fan fave. He’s eye candy for the ladies and a kickass warrior for all those who can appreciate his brooding, emo-style of badassery. And at least some of the time, he tries not to do too much bad stuff, unlike the truly evil Westerosi such as Queen Cersei.
That’s not to say that he’s without his flaws or his head-scratching moments. And more than a few moments, incidents, and actions, which, over the years and the seasons, just haven’t made sense. Sure, Game of Thrones is a fantasy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments when we wondered, "Just what is going on with Jon Snow?"
15 How Is He So Sure He's A Descendant Of The First Men?
"My father was Ned Stark. I have the blood of the First Men. My ancestors lived here, same as yours!" That's what Jon Snow told Ygritte, way back in Season 2, Episode 7, and it’s been an accepted premise of the story. But how can he really know that for sure? The First Men were the original humans who lived in Westeros, reaching the area about 12,000 years before the events of GoT get started. The Andals invaded Westeros beginning 6,000 years ago. Who can trace their family tree so confidently that far back? As all those surprised people who took one of those ethnic DNA tests can tell you, the stories your family told you about your ancestors and where they came from may or may not be exactly true. Let’s not forget that the universe of Westeros is also one where the industrial revolution has never occurred, and there are only handwritten, paper records to go by in a world where violent changes of regime seem to be par for the course. How could anyone be that certain of their ancestry?
14 Jon’s Not-So-Great Plan
Aside from the fact that we get to see our fave GoT heroes – Jon Snow, Gendry, Tormund Giantsbane, the Hound, Thoros, Beric Dondarrion, and Jorah - together on an awesome road trip into the fearsome North, getting into scenic battles with White Walkers, and so on, there’s really no logic behind Jon’s great quest to capture a wight. He’s taking a tight band of comrades in arms to confront the land of the White Walkers on their own with the plan of bringing a wight back to convince Cersei the threat from the North is real. First off, what makes him think they'll encounter a single wight wandering around on its own? The Night King is assembling a huge army – it seems unlikely. Even supposing they do come across one and tie it up somehow, with something, how do they plan on getting it back to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea without getting into a skirmish with other wights along the way? It sounds like a complete suicide mission – we’ve seen how quick those wights can be in combat. Even Jon admits it’s not his greatest plan.
13 Where’s Ghost?
We get that this is a TV show with a budget and everything, but some of the cuts and changes don’t make sense when it comes to Jon. Such as, where is Ghost? Let’s not forget, when Ghost was first introduced in Season 1, the direwolf’s value to Jon was emphasized. In the A Song of Ice and Fire books, Jon looks to Ghost to protect him. Ghost could detect Jon’s enemies no matter how they tried to hide their intentions. Now that’s a skill that Jon is in short supply of. It’s especially puzzling that Jon has decided against taking Ghost along on his quest beyond The Wall. Ghost and Jon have already battled wights together -- and Wildings, too. Ghost refused to leave Jon’s side when he died. And what does he get for all that? The White Wolf dumps his own white wolf and leaves him out of the action. We haven’t seen Ghost since Season 6, Episode 3.
12 Why Did Jon Spare Littlefinger?
Unlike many of Westeros's prominent inhabitants, Jon Snow doesn’t typically indulge in overkill. Most of the time, he'll kill in battle or combat, but only if it’s necessary, whereas so many of Westeros’s leaders think nothing of wiping out whole families just in case. But if he was thinking a little more clearly about the situation, he would've taken the opportunity to choke the life out of Littlefinger in Season 7, episode 2. They're in the crypts underneath the castle, and Littlefinger had just been talking about his love for Sansa and Catelyn. Jon’s disgusted and picks him up by the throat. He throws him against the wall as he threatens him to stay away from his sis. Why not just go all the way and rid the North of its ultimate backroom schemer and Jon’s inner circle of an undermining influence he could certainly do without?
11 Why Does Jon Get Away With Breaking His Night’s Watch Vows?
When Jon became part of the Night’s Watch, he vowed to "hold no lands" and "wear no crowns." Ahem. As audience members who are privy to the whole story, we, of course, realize that, since he actually died and then came back from the dead, he’s technically been released from those vows. But, that fact is a secret to nearly everyone else in Westeros. Why is it that not one single person, from Tyrion to Cersei, has ever questioned Jon about what happened between serving as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and taking up the throne of the North? It just doesn’t make sense. If you’ve been with the series since the beginning, you’ll recall that the execution of a Night’s Watch deserter, as witnessed by Jon at the tender age of 14, was one of the shocking incidents of Season 1. Leaving the Night’s Watch isn’t something that's to be taken lightly, so how did it suddenly become a non-issue?
10 Seriously, How Has Jon’s Parentage Been Kept Secret For So Long?
The trick to a great TV series is, of course, great writing. It lies in creating characters and situations so absorbing that your viewers hang onto every week’s episode and get caught up in the details as they unfold each and every week. That way, they don’t really stop to consider the big picture -- such as, how it can be that Jon’s lineage, especially one as seminal to the whole saga of Westeros, was kept a secret for so long. Series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have done a great job of sprinkling the plot with clues every now and then to keep fans guessing, but let’s take a step back for a second. Sure, we get that Lyanna and Rhaegar's true relationship was retconned as a kidnapping by the Starks and Baratheons who won the ensuing conquest of the Targaryen empire. But at the time, there must've been those who knew the truth. Oberyn seems to know about it, and the Kingsguard were present at the birth. What about the annulment of Rhaegar’s marriage and subsequent wedding to Lyanna, which must've taken place well before the battles raged? If there's a written record at the Citadel, then there were functionaries and others who knew the truth. Littlefinger and many others witnessed the start of their love affair. Did no one put together the convenient timeline between Lyanna Stark's death, whom she was with at the time, and the sudden appearance of Eddard's so-called bastard son? In a world full of schemers and rivals for the throne, no one looked into the details?
9 Jon Snow’s Death
Jon Snow’s death at the hands of his brothers in the Night’s Watch at the end of Season 5 was a shocker – a season-ending finale to end all season-ending finales– and one that kept fans talking and speculating right up until the premiere of Season 6. And, that may be the most logical reason for the shocking development. It's not that heroic figures don't die on GoT – we all know what happened to Ned and Robb Stark, among others. It's that you don't set up a character with a mysterious origin, make him pivotal to the story, and then kill him off in a way that derails some of the show’s momentum. The attack on Jon by mutinous members of the Night's Watch does occur in the books, and, in fact, it's where Jon's saga currently ends in A Song of Ice and Fire. But there, Jon is left grievously injured; his ultimate fate remains unknown. The plot has taken a very different turn on the TV series as compared to the novels, including fundamental issues like Jon's parentage, which remain hidden, still presumably a Stark bastard.
8 Battle Of The Bastards
The Battle of the Bastards was a spectacular television event that's still talked about by fans. Visually, there’s no question that it hit all the right buttons, delivering nonstop action that overwhelms the senses. Emotionally, it was a rollercoaster ride. But logically, did it make sense? Jon may not be an intellectual giant, but he's known to be very good on the battlefield -- except for the biggest battle of his life, apparently. Just as Sansa told him not to do, he charges alone at Ramsay after Rickon is killed. What’s he got on the line, after all, other than his own life? The lives of the lords of the North who’ve remained loyal to the Starks, the Wildings, and others fighting on his side? And, as far as he knows, he’s committing suicide by battlefield, which means that the Boltons will keep the throne, and the North won’t be able to fight off the White Walkers. It was Jon at his emotional, unreliable best. Lucky for him, Sansa had help coming.
7 The Resurrection
Jon's resurrection leaves a few dangling questions – such as, why would Melisandre, as a follower of the Lord of Light, suddenly desert Stannis to get involved with Jon and his story? She even talks about her doubts with Davos, but then there she is, cutting and burning Jon’s hair as she mutters her incantation in Valyrian. This isn't anything like the way Thoros of Myr brought Beric Dondarrion back to life after he'd been killed by the Hound in Season 3. Then, all he had to do was say, "Bring him back from death and darkness. His flame has been extinguished. Restore it." The Lord of Light was apparently appeased, and he came back to life. He repeats the process six times, but to Beric’s detriment. "Every time I come back, I'm a bit less," Beric tells Arya. It doesn’t seem to be affecting Jon at all. The books have yet to catch up to the TV series storyline and end with Jon injured from the attack with his fate unclear. They hint, however, at a very different kind of resurrection for Jon in Ghost. Jon is a warg, after all, with a special connection to the albino direwolf.
6 Why Did Jon Send Sam Away?
Now, here in Season 7 with all the revelations coming via Samwell and his access to the libraries of The Citadel, it all comes together. But when Jon first gave his blessing to Sam’s studies at The Citadel toward the end of Season 5, sending his BFF far away didn’t make a lot of sense. Think about it. Jon had just been elected to the post of Lord Commander. Maester Aemon, one of his last allies in the Night’s Watch, had just died. White Walkers were threatening to overcome the Wall, and he was surrounded by enemies who considered him as a traitor... and we all know how badly that turned out. As we now know, the move proved to be a good one for Sam and his family and has become a source of background into the saga since then. Interestingly, this situation is handled slightly differently in the books, A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. In that storyline, Jon sends Sam to The Citadel for a specific purpose – the mission of keeping Maester Aemon and the son of Mance Rayder safe from Melisandre’s blood sacrifices.
5 Why Does Jon Alienate Sansa?
You’d think a dude who’d already been killed once by people he’d alienated might be at least a little hesitant to get into that position again. You might think. But not our boy, Jon. Apparently, without telling his sis, in Season 7, Episode 1, he announces to the assembled Northern lords and allies that he’s going to show mercy to the Umbers and Karstarks. Sansa, who's proven herself an adept strategist when it comes to the political end of things, reminds him that the smart thing to do is reward those loyal to him while punishing traitors. He totally blows her off in a public forum. It’s not just a dickish thing to do; it’s politically stupid and makes no sense at all. It was Sansa who talked him into making his claim to the throne and her own allies that swung the balance in his favor and allowed him to make his bid for King of the North, after all. She’s a valuable ally and a dangerous enemy to make. The public exchange also makes Jon look weaker at a time he needs to show strength. Maybe it just boils down to flaws in Jon’s character. As actor Kit Harington said in a recent interview, Jon can be "a bit of a psychopath." That’s putting it nicely.
4 Why Does Jon Command Zero Loyalty?
Into the seventh season of Game of Thrones, we’ve seen the character of Jon Snow emerge as more and more integral to the overall story. He’s also one of the few people in Westeros whom you’d describe as having good intentions, at least most of the time. Some of the time, anyway. We’ll admit, though, that with GoT, the bar for decent behavior is set very low. Why is it, then, that his compatriots are so ready to turn on him, while someone like the evil Queen Cersei has followers so loyal they’d rather burn to death than bend the knee to Dany? The Northern lords, who’ve really only just proclaimed him King in the North, start complaining about his absence almost as soon as he’s left. He did explain his reasoning to the group, but it doesn’t seem to have done any good. Why are they so quick to talk mutiny? And why are they all just hanging around Winterfell anyway? Don’t they have their own lands to attend to?
3 The Spying Mission With Qhorin Halfhand
During his time with the Night's Watch, in Season 2, Snow and Qhorin Halfhand end up on a mission to disrupt Wilding lookout point. And first off, we’d have to question why the Night’s Watch would let their most inexperienced member go on a dangerous spying mission – only to get lost and captured in no time? Jon had no idea what he was getting into and was completely unprepared for the wintry conditions and the Wildings. For some reason, it's Qhorin himself who speaks up for Jon when Jeor doubts his abilities. It's also Qhorin who, seemingly without any qualms, sacrifices his own life so that Snow will be released by the Wildings. Really?
2 Keeping Ser Alliser Thorne at Castle Black
When Jon Snow allied himself with the Wildlings, it clearly wouldn’t have sat well with his brothers on the Night’s Watch under any circumstances. You’d think a leader would be able to anticipate that kind of reaction. Not only does Jon not see it coming; he makes sure to give the mutiny a leader of its own by keeping Ser Alliser Thorne at Castle Black. Stannis tries to warn him, but rather than take the advice, he makes Ser Alliser the First Ranger. Ser Alliser himself seems to expect a much different fate. He looks apprehensive as Jon’s awarding posts. But Jon has some idea about keeping enemies close, a saying that seems to originate in Godfather Part II – a head-scratching move by our GoT hero, for sure.
1 Zero Travel Time
We get the whole bit about budgets and dragons, location shoots all over the world, and yada, yada, yada. That's why Season 7 is a mere 7 action-packed episodes long. It still doesn't explain how Jon seems to be jumping from place to place seemingly in no time, in a world as vast as Westeros is supposed to be. In Season 7, he's bounced from Winterfell down to Dragonstone, then back up to the Wall and beyond with his very own suicide squad -- never mind the part where Gendry buzzed back to Eastwatch to send the letter to Dany and all that. There's no sense that any time has passed between all those events, which stretches credulity just a little. They’ve already strayed from the original novels so far – why not just create a way for them to travel or send messages quickly if that’s going to be the way the story unfolds from now on?
Sources: www.theverge.com; mic.com; www.nytimes.com