I never got around to covering Jon Snow in ASOS:
Recall that Jon, having been picked by Qhorin, was forced by Qhorin to kill Qhorin, because god forbid Jon Snow actually show some agency on his own accord. Well, in ASOS we have Jon similarly being pushed along his storyline by other characters.
First off, there's Ygritte. Who obligingly bails him out in front of Mance. So far so good, except that she puts Our Hero into one of his patented dilemmas. To help the Watch, obey Qhorin's orders, and have sex with the hot Wilding chick, or to get his head sliced off and help no-one? It is, of course, no choice at all, and meanwhile Ygritte provides Jon with a prosthetic penis in much the same way as Sam and Edd constitute prosthetic brain and wit: she temporarily obscures Jon's mind-numbing blandness and ensures he isn't a virgin when he hooks up with Daenerys, because a virgin guy just isn't Man Enough to save the world. Then she dies, thereby solving the pesky problems of a potential pregnancy (a death that is fortunately anonymously-caused - we can't have Jon killing his own lover, can we?).
Then there's Stannis' contribution. Slynt and Thorne, post-graduate students of the Snidely Whiplash School of Moustache-Twirling Villainy, actually manage to put Jon in a genuine dilemma: to kill Mance or not to kill Mance? Honour clashes with orders, and there's no clear way out for Our Hero. But not to worry. Before Jon has the chance to resolve things, Stannis Baratheon conveniently turns up just at the right moment, and solves everything. Once again, we see the world of ASOIAF warping itself to suit Jon Snow, the defining characteristic of the Gary Stu trope.
But this is a mere entree of cliche, an appetizer for the main course, before Jon's passive, dull, bland nature comes to full flower. I refer of course to the Lord Commandership. The backstory is bad enough. Lord Commander Mormont takes leave of his senses. deciding to take all his other potential successors with him on a suicide mission, and to no-one's surprise gets them (and himself) killed. Then the two leading replacement candidates are oh-so-conveniently at such loggerheads they can't possibly put aside their rivalry for the good of the Watch, and are oh-so-conveniently stupid, they can't be bothered to check the veracity of Sam's story. But at least Sam is trying. Which is more than Jon is doing.
But let's run with this. You're the Night's Watch. You've lost your Lord Commander and most of the elite men, and there's a deadlocked election. Winter is coming on, and the Wall faces its greatest ever threat. What do you do? Well, if you want a compromise candidate, you pick someone non-controversial, someone who sort-of makes everyone happy. Someone old enough to act as a reasonable placeholder so everyone can try again in a couple of years (this is what happens in papal elections). You don't pick someone with desertion charges hanging over their head, someone who is the bastard brother of a wrecked dynasty, someone who will piss off the most powerful man in the realm before he actually does anything. You don't pick a teenager, who, if they're ultimately incompetent, will nevertheless be ruling the Watch for the next sixty years, without the back-up of a friendly Winterfell. You don't pick Jon Snow.
But who am I kidding. This is Jon Snow, and common sense doesn't apply.
Edited by Roose Bolton's Pet Leech, 04 April 2013 - 08:45 PM.