Jon Snow... certainly one of the more important characters in A Song of Ice and Fire. Bastard son of Ned Stark (or is he?) and Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, his story arc is one of the most eventful and compelling in the series. The bulk of Jon's story takes place in the north, much of it beyond the Wall, so it is through his eyes that we learn about the Watch, the Others and the forbidding lands of the wildlings. For this post I wanted to take a look at some of the major points of Jon's life, mainly from the perspective of the books. Some of this will apply to the show as well, since there is overlap, but I'm coming mainly from the book perspective here. And there will be spoilers obviously.
I'm not going to exhaustively go through his history- that would take lots of posts- I'm going to share some thoughts and relevant quotes from key moments. The first is from Jon's early relationship with Donal Noye, the blacksmith of the Watch. He's the one who kills the giant Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg in the tunnel beneath the Wall, losing his own life in the act. He has an interesting perspective on the Baratheon sons.
"Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he's copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day."
And here's what Stannis thought of Noye.
"Noye made my first sword for me, and Robert's warhammer as well. Had the god seen fit to spare him, he would have made a better Lord Commander for your order than any of these fools who are squab bling over it now."
Noye is the one who taught humility to Jon, and urged him to fight with the other recruits, not just to lord it over the others.
Let's talk about Ygritte. The love of Jon's life, he encountered her high in the Frostfangs on a scouting mission with Qhorin Halfhand. The Halfhand later died and Jon joined the wildlings, as he was commanded to do, to spy on them. This whole sequence in A Clash of Kings, when Jon meets the wildling host and sees giants and mammoths for the first time, is one of my favorites. And his relationship with Ygritte is awesome.
"You're mine. Mine, as I'm yours. And if we die, we die. All men must die, Jon Snow. But first we'll live. "
Jon's relationship with Stannis is fascinating. Stannis clearly likes Jon, and Jon knows that Ned Stark respected Stannis even if he didn't love him, so their verbal sparring is amazing. You get a sense of it on the show, but in the books there are whole chapters to revel in where they go back and forth. I like this exchange where Melisandre is walking with Jon after a meeting with Stannis.
"His Grace is growing fond of you."
"I can tell. He only threatened to behead me twice."
And since we're talking Melisandre... their relationship is amazing too, and she has warned him numerous times that he is in danger. The frustrating part is that he does not listen.
The ruby at Melisandre's throat gleamed red. "It is not those foes who curse you to your face that you must fear, but those who smile when you are looking and sharpen their knives when you turn your back. You would do well to keep your wolf close beside you. Ice, I see, and daggers in the dark. Blood frozen red and hard, and naked steel. It was very cold."
"It is always cold on the Wall."
"You think so?"
"I know so, my lady."
"Then you know nothing, Jon Snow, she whispered."
Next time I'll look at Jon and his relationship with Tormund Giantsbane as well as a few others including Arya. And I'll speculate a bit on where Jon's story might be headed...
I haven't tried the books or the show but maybe one dayReplyDelete
One of these days!Delete
You know how much I love the TV series but the books I've read so far, the first two, really add so much depth to the characters and give you some history to enjoy. What I also love about the books is that you get so much extra but it's not pointless waffle that you see in most fantasy books. As a character I love Jon and his entire journey. The way he knows nothing to becoming a statesman of sorts, diplomat, leader and fighter. I love it! I love his relationship with Sam in the early books so I know I'll enjoy it when he gets into the wildling camp. I'm looking forward to maybe getting to book three as a birthday treat in August once I've got a bit more ahead in my Goodreads challenge!ReplyDelete
I'm glad you're enjoying the books. I bug people to read em and if they didn't like em I'd feel bad. And I agree- as long as the books are, they don't seem padded. the chapters are often a manageable length, somehow he pulls that off.Delete
Jon and whole journey is great, you're in for a treat in book 3!
Aye will he die or live....waiting to seeReplyDelete
I'm still not over everything that happened with Ygritte, to be honest. Such a heartbreaking turn of events! Poor Jon. His journey has been something of a nightmare. And I think you're right - he definitely doesn't listen to people as often as he should!ReplyDelete
Jon and Ygritte was so sad. I loved those two. And yes he should listen- he had multiple warnings in book five (even more than on the show) and he didn't listen!!!Delete
I've only seen a few episodes of the show and he bores me to tears lol I'm sure if I watched more or even better - read the books my opinion would change.ReplyDelete
For What It's Worth
I think he's boring on the show too to be honest- he's much more nuanced and interesting in the books.Delete
I still haven't read the fifth book, because the 4th bored me so much but at the same time I'm so intrigued by the universe that I feel like trying again... maybe when they're all out? If I'm still alive by then, ha!ReplyDelete
wow I really need to read the books. Those are great quotes! I 'think I heard that in the TV Show! Ygritte... LOVED HER SO MUCH! The female GoT characters are so badass love love loveReplyDelete
I do really like Jon Snow and I love his parts of the story up in the North, but I actually find him a little vanilla. I feel like he's mostly interesting through his relationships and his story. Even when they are a smidge vanilla, Martin knows how to write characters though!ReplyDelete
Jon is one of my favorite characters i this series. I love his relationship with Sam.ReplyDelete
Bookmarked for the day when I finally READ the books and truly know Jon Snow. :) I'm up to date with the TV show though, and Jon Snow is <3ReplyDelete
Cass @ Words on Paper
Great post! Jon Snow has always fascinated me. I also loved him with Ygritte even though I always had a feeling things wouldn't go well for them.ReplyDelete
I am not Jon's greatest fan, but I love the way that he interacts with other characters within the story. I personally can't wait until he meets up with Tyrion again, their scenes from the start of the series were some of my favourites.ReplyDelete
Aentee at Read at Midnight
I love Jon's chapters in the books; it was a little tough for me to get through A Feast for Crows sometimes without his POV. I love Donal Noye's take on the Baratheon brothers; it's been so long since I read the books that I've forgotten A LOT, lolol!ReplyDelete
I cannot believe it's taken me so long to get here! I've had a manic week+!ReplyDelete
You know me and GOT and I've been dying to read this to see your take. Now I have to wait for your next post to delve a little deeper! I want to know what you think of Jon's heritage, whether you think he's 'The One' or who else you might think could be a possible/probable Azor Ahai come again???