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Lord Snow |
The Bastard of Winterfell
The Black Bastard of the Wall
|Title||Lord Commander of the Night's Watch|
|Born||In 283 AC, at Unknown|
A Game of Thrones (POV)|
A Clash of Kings (POV)
A Storm of Swords (POV)
A Feast for Crows (Appears)
A Dance with Dragons (POV)
|Played by||Kit Harington|
|TV series||Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3|
Jon Snow is the bastard son of Eddard Stark, by a mother whose identity is a source of speculation. He was raised by his father alongside his true-born half-siblings, but joins the Night's Watch when he nears adulthood. He is constantly accompanied by his albino direwolf Ghost. At the beginning of A Game of Thrones, Jon is fourteen years old. He is one of the major POV characters in the books.
Appearance & Personality
Even at age fourteen, Jon is said to have more Stark-like features than any of his siblings. He has a lean build and a long face, with dark brown hair and grey eyes that border on black. He is strong and fast. (See this collection of images.) After joining the Night's Watch, he dresses in their official black garb.
Jon was raised as a Stark and Northerner and in many ways took to their values of honor, to which he tries to conform even when faced with complex and morally ambiguous decisions.
There is no description of a personal coat of arms in the books, but George R.R. Martin told the company Valyrian Steel, who made replicas of Jon's sword, to use the reversed Stark colors on the plaque that goes with the sword.
Jon Snow's parentage remains a mystery (see theories below). He is believed to have been born towards the end of Robert's Rebellion, within one month, give or take, of the Sack of King's Landing. Returning from the war, Lord Eddard Stark brought the new born babe to Winterfell, insisting on raising him with the rest of his family.
Jon has an older half-brother, Robb, two younger half-sisters, Sansa and Arya, and two younger half-brothers, Bran and Rickon. His presence at Winterfell turned out to be a source of friction between Eddard and his wife, Catelyn, who saw Jon as a constant reminder of her husband's infidelity. She treated him coldly making him feel unwelcome. His appearance, resembling Eddard more closely than any of his true born siblings, strained the relationship between himself and Catelyn further. However, Eddard always treated Jon the same as his trueborn children and Jon got on well with his half-siblings, particularly with Robb and Arya. Still, Jon always had issues with his bastardy and at time felt alienated, contributing to his eventual decision to join the Night's Watch, where the circumstances of his birth would be of little importance.
A Game of Thrones
Jon is fourteen years old, he accompanies his father, Robb, Bran and Theon Greyjoy to an execution of a deserter from the Night's Watch. On their way back to Winterfell, they encounters the direwolf pups, five for the Stark children and another albino pup, an outcast from its litter, for Jon.
Jon's position both inside and outside the family subtly chafe him over the years until, when he nears adulthood, he joins the Night's Watch, after his uncle Benjen suggested that the Watch could use a man like him. On his journey to the Wall, Tyrion Lannister accompanies him, and their friendship is fostered by their shared position as noble outsiders. 
At first Jon remained aloof and distant making no friends; he scorned his fellow recruits who returned the feeling, resenting him because of his noble background. He feels particularly alone as his uncle Benjen leaves to lead a ranging. After a fight between Jon and several recruits, a talk with Donal Noye helped him correct his attitude, and he soon became a natural leader, mentor, and friend to most of his fellow trainees, earning him the enmity of the master-at-arms, Ser Alliser Thorne. Jon also protects Samwell Tarly from bullying by some other recruits.
After being raised to the black, Jon was angered by his appointment to the stewards, as he expected to be posted to the rangers. Though in time and with the help of Samwell, he realize that his assignment as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont's personal steward was intended to groom him for command. During a wight attack on Castle Black, Jon saves Mormont's life and receives serious burns on his hand. Mormont gives him the Valyrian steel bastard sword, Longclaw, of House Mormont, and has a direwolf head engraved onto the pommel in honor of House Stark.
Although Jon has learned to fit in with the Watch, he has difficulty separating from his old life. At the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings, Jon became torn between his family and his vows to the Watch. Jon found himself imprisoned after striking at Ser Alliser, who provoked him by mocking his father and after learning of his father's arrest. After his father's execution, Jon tried to desert to join Robb's army, even though the common penalty for deserting the Night's Watch is death. His new friends bring him back, however, and save him from this fate.
The next day, Lord Commander Mormont, chastises him for running and after Jon finally decides to honor his bonds and fully commit to the Watch, he accepts his place as Mormont's squire and prepares for the journey north, on the large Ranging into the Far North that Mormont leads.
A Clash of Kings
Jon has started to wear two gloves, the right because it is burned, the left because it felt foolish wearing only one glove..
Jon is part of the The Great Ranging north to investigate the goings-on in the Haunted Forest beyond the Wall after disappearances of several rangers, including Benjen Stark. After reaching the Fist of the First Men, Jon happens upon an old warhorn and a cache of dragonglass, which he distributes among his sworn brothers. Afterwards he is picked to accompany one of the three scouting parties into the mountains, led by the famous Qhorin Halfhand.
In the Skirling Pass, they come across a groups of wildling sentries, and Jon is one of those assigned to take them out. He kills one, but discovers one of them is a women. Jon takes the girl Ygritte, prisoner instead and later when Qhorin ordered Jon to kill her, he secretly let her go . The party is later discovered and pursued by wildlings led by Rattleshirt. Before they are overtaken, Qhorin commands Jon to join the wildlings and discover their plans, making Jon appear to be a traitor. Ygritte is part of Rattleshirt's band and believes that Jon has abandoned his former ways after he kills the Halfhand at Rattleshirt's command.
A Storm of Swords
Jon meets with Mance Rayder and convinces him that his desertion is sincere. During their conversation, Jon learns Mance's plans to invade the Seven Kingdoms. For a time, Jon breaks his vows of chastity and becomes Ygritte's lover. He hesitates between betraying her or leaving the Night's Watch. Jon joins Styr's mission to scale the Wall and take unaware the skeleton crew left manning Castle Black. After scaling the wall, he gets the opportunity to escape as the wildlings are attacked by Summer in the vicinity of the abandoned Queenscrown. He manages to escape in the confusion on a horse, but not before taking an arrow in the leg.
Jon survives his arrow wound and reaches Castle Black, where he learns that his brothers, Bran and Rickon, have died at the command of Theon Greyjoy. There he helps Donal Noye in the Defence of Castle Black against Styr's raiders. All of the raiders are killed, including Ygritte, who dies in a grief-stricken Jon's arms. After the fall of Donal, Jon receives command of the Wall's defences against Mance's direct assault. Using his natural leadership, Jon successfully holds the Wall against overwhelming odds for several days. However, upon the arrival of Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt to Castle Black, Jon is arrested for his earlier defection and forced to make an assassination attempt on Mance during a parley. Before Jon can attack, Stannis Baratheon's forces make a surprise appearance and route the wildlings.
Jon's service defending the Wall earns him popular support and his release from imprisonment. Due to the efforts of Samwell Tarly, Jon is voted as a compromise candidate between rival factions of the Watch for the post of Lord Commander. Though Stannis offers to legitimize him, which would make him Lord Jon Stark of Winterfell, if Jon will recognize Stannis as king, Jon refuses and becomes the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. His earliest acts as Lord Commander serve to frustrate the plots of Stannis's priestess, Melisandre, by secretly sending Mance's child away from the Wall and impersonating him with another.
A Dance With Dragons
Slowly Jon grows into his position as a leader. Jon takes up residence within Donal Noye's quarters, following the blacksmith's death in the previous novel. Jon is continually harassed, predominantly by Stannis's men, who have taken up residence within Castle Black and the Nightfort, which Jon granted to Stannis as thanks for his aid against the wildling assault.
Jon rebukes all demands from Stannis to settle his men within the Gift, claiming that the land and all of the 16 unoccupied castles along the Wall as belonging to the Night's Watch. He sends Sam to the Citadel to train as Castle Black's next maester. With him, he sends Gilly, Maester Aemon, and the infant son of Mance Rayder, the last two for fear that Melisandre might want to use their royal blood for her magic. When Jon orders Janos Slynt to garrison one of the abandoned castles along the Wall, Janos refuses and Jon beheads him for insubordination, using Longclaw to carry out the sentence himself.
Jon continues to displease his fellow commanders of the Night's Watch by sending the wildling Val to treat with Tormund Giantsbane. This results in a fragile alliance between the Night's Watch and the wildlings. Jon settles the wildlings on the Gift and gives the warriors the opportunity to guard the Wall by garrisoning unoccupied castles against the Others. As the wildings are moved into the gift, Mance Rayder is given to the flames by Melisandre. It is later revealed, however, that the burned man was in fact Rattleshirt under a glamour created by Melisandre. Mance is sent by Jon to rescue his sister Arya Stark from Ramsay Bolton, being unaware that it is actually Jeyne Poole.
With Stannis about to march on Deepwood Motte, Jon advises him to seek the help of the Northern mountain clans. Following Jon's advice, Stannis is able to secure the allegiance of the clans, greatly augmenting his own strength. Soon after Stannis has taken Deepwood, news arrive of Ramsay Bolton's impending marriage to "Arya Stark". Stannis immediately marches on Winterfell, the chosen site for the marriage, to face the forces of the Boltons.
Melisandre tells Jon she sees in her flames a girl on a dying horse making for Castle Black; Jon is convinced it must be Arya escaped from the Boltons, but the girl turns out to be Alys Karstark. Melisandre also tells him she sees him surrounded by daggers in the dark, but he pays no mind to this warning.
Weeks after Stannis has departed for Winterfell, Jon receives a letter purportedly from Ramsay Bolton entitled 'Bastard,' which claims that Stannis has been defeated and Mance Rayder captured. It demands fealty from Jon to House Bolton if the Night's Watch is to survive. Jon responds to this letter by relinquishing command of an impending ranging and announcing his intention to ride South against the Boltons. He does does not order the Night's Watch to fight with him, but asks both wildlings and black brothers alike to join him of their own volition. Jon's decision (which is in violation of his oaths) causes great discontent within the Watch's upper leadership; in the confusion resulting from Wun Wun's killing of Ser Patrek of King's Mountain, he is stabbed repeatedly by Bowen Marsh and other black brothers, who attack in tears while muttering "for the Watch". Whether or not Jon survives this attack is currently unknown.
Quotes about Jon
– Varamyr Sixskins
Never ask me about Jon...He is my blood and that is all you need to know.
Whoever Jon's mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely, for nothing Catelyn said would persuade him to send the boy away. It was the one thing she could never forgive him. She had come to love her husband with all her heart, but she had never found it in her to love Jon. She might have overlooked a dozen bastards for Ned's sake, so long as they were out of sight. Jon was never out of sight, and as he grew, he looked more like Ned than any of the trueborn sons she bore him. Somehow that made it worse.
Jon Snow's parentage remains a mystery, as Eddard rarely spoke of the matter. When Catelyn confronted him about the rumor that Jon's mother was Ashara Dayne, Eddard would not answer. Years later, when queried by Robert, he claimed that a lowborn woman named Wylla is Snow's mother. Both possibilities have been mentioned by outside sources. Cersei Lannister believes his mother to be Lady Dayne, while Edric Dayne, who was wet-nursed by Wylla, told Arya that he and Jon are milk-brothers.
According to Lord Godric Borrell, the daughter of the fisherman who tried to take Ned Stark from the Vale across the Bite to the North at the beginning of Robert's Rebellion, gave birth to Eddard Stark's bastard.
References and Sources
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
- Longclaw: Plaque>> Valyrian Steel
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 70, Jon IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 43, Jon V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 53, Jon VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 7, Jon II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10 - Jon III, pages 134-138
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 31 - Melisandre I, pages 418-419
- A Dance with Dragons,Chapter 69 - Jon XIII, pages 907-908
- A Dance with Dragons, Prologue.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 5, Jon I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
- Discussion of parentage on Westeros Forum
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