Artwork by Anja Dalisa ©
Lord Snow |
The Bastard of Winterfell
The Black Bastard of the Wall
Lord Commander of the|
|Born||In 283 AC, at Unknown|
A Game of Thrones|
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
A Dance with Dragons
|Played by||Kit Harington|
|TV series||Season 1 | Season 2|
Jon Snow is presumably 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 reaches adulthood. He is constantly accompanied by his albino direwolf Ghost. Jon was 14 years old at the beginning of the novel.
Character and Appearance
Jon was raised by father Eddard Stark, alongside his true-born half-siblings. Eddard always treated Jon the same as his true-borns and Jon got on well with his half-siblings, particularly with Robb and Arya. Jon always had issues with his bastardy and eventually choose to join the Night's Watch, where the circumstances of his birth are of little importance.
Jon has strong Stark features. He has a lean build and a long face, with dark hair and grey eyes.
Ned brought Jon back after he returned from Robert's Rebellion and insisted on raising him with the rest of his family. Jon got along with most of the Stark family, but Catelyn always considered him an outsider and his presence served as a constant reminder of her husband's infidelity.
A Game of Thrones
When the family encounters the direwolf pups after Gared is executed for deserting the Night's Watch, Jon takes the albino pup, as it is an outcast from its litter. 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.
Tyrion Lannister accompanies Jon to the Wall, and their friendship is fostered by their shared position as noble outsiders. Jon is initially resented by the other Watch recruits because of his noble background, but he eventually learns to fit into the crowd. His actions towards his fellow recruits exacerbate the lasting enmity from the caustic master-at-arms, Alliser Thorne. Jon also protects Samwell Tarly from bullying by some other recruits.
Lord Commander Jeor Mormont appoints Jon as his personal steward and squire in order 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, he tries 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. Jon finally decides to honor his bonds and abandon his Stark past.
A Clash of Kings
When Mormont mounts an expedition to investigate the goings-on in the Haunted Forest beyond the Wall after disappearances of several rangers, including Benjen Stark, Jon goes ahead with a small group of scouts led by the famous Qhorin Halfhand. Along the way, Jon releases a captured wildling woman, Ygritte, instead of killing her. 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 so that Jon would 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 defection 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 they are attacked by Summer (direwolf), in the vicinity of the abandoned Queenscrown, he escapes in the confusion and rejoins the Watch.
He survives and reaches Castle Black, where he learns that his brothers, Bran and Rickon, have died at the command of Theon Greyjoy. There he helps in the Defence of Castle Black against Styr's raiders. All of the raiders are killed, including Ygritte. Jon then 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 make him Lord of House Stark if he will recognize Stannis as king, Jon refuses and became 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 it with another.
A Dance With Dragons
Jon has taken 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 Maester Aemon, Gilly, and the infant son of Mance Rayder in an effort to spirit him away from Melisandre. When he 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 continually displeases 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 oppurtunity 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.
Stannis soon departs accompanied by the Northern mountain houses to go to war with House Bolton upon hearing of Ramsay's impending marriage to "Arya Stark", who is in fact Sansa's childhood friend Jeyne Poole. Jon is warned throughout the novel by Melisandre of what she has seen in her flames: a girl on a dying horse, who turns out to be Alys Karstark fleeing from her uncle who is then captured by the Night's Watch, and daggers in the dark. Jon pays no heed to Melisandre's warnings. Jon receives a letter 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 giving command of an impending ranging to Tormund Giantsbane in his stead and announces he is journeying south to battle the Bolton's. He requests any aid that can be given from his men or the wildlings of their free will. Jon's decision, however, causes great discontent within the Watch's lower leadership, and he is stabbed several times by Bowen Marsh and other unseen faces. Whether or not Jon survives this attack is currently unknown.
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 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 which she named Jon Snow.
References and Sources
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
- 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
- Discussion of parentage on Westeros Forum
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