Part of the appeal of Jon Snow to me is that, like Davos, he offers us a character that we can truly get behind and feel good about liking.
I know that his "boringness" is commonly cited as a negative. I respect that opinion, though I actually find his evolution from aGoT to DwD quite fascinating. He began this journey as a spoiled and somewhat narrowminded boy with a slight sense of entitlement; this was stripped from him, and he undergoes what I find to be an incredibly compelling transformation toward reframing the prejudices of his society and legitimately trying to do the right thing (not based on affiliation, race, House loyalty, but as men
). To this end, he's got a perspective I find myself believing in-- it's not about the title but the man
(some wit and wisdom courtesy of the Mance).
I get the sense that part of his "blandness" results from the fact that none of his decisions are truly that challenging to us, as modern readers. His decisions don't make us squirm, because they are largely in line with what we believe is right (in a moral sense), as well as the fact that we know him to be right in story about the threat from the North, because we're privy to things other characters are not.
I don't know that we can say "Jon had it better than everyone," or talk about plot gifts, because all of our POVs, save a small handful, come from the same social class and had similar opportunities; all receive ample plot gifts.
I find Jon's story appealing because I see it as one in which his success comes largely through merit and good sense (though his being a "son" of Ned Stark does help bring dissenters to his side on more than a few occasions, so I don't want to pretend that it is all
merit). But I love the fact that he's reasonable, that he sees all men as men, that he appeals to the sanctity of the individual in assessing merit and worth (his favorite wildlings), and that he's breaking conventions that have proven useless and defunct.
I like the fact that he's not taking the easy route, being seduced by Mel's promises of easy victory through magic (he knows that she is not a woman to whom be wants to be in debt). I like the fact that he's not swayed by aristocratic trappings (he sees Axell for what he is, and doesn't rise to the petty torments of the other Southron fools). He accepts Wun Wun as deserving of guest rite, and is gracious about allowing any wildlings to take the black. He recognizes that Satin - "the painted catamite"- has value, and makes him his steward despite the protests of the homophobes in the Watch. I like the fact that he is rightly critical of Stannis' policy to break the wildlings, and I like the fact that he believes in religious tolerance. I love the fact that he's willing to count advice no matter who it comes from so long as he deems it worthy (Mance's philosophies on power and leadership frequent his thoughts). I love the fact that he can see past artificial trappings and traditions to get to the meat of the matter.
One last thing- the fact that he was "assassinated" by 4 of his men is way overplayed as some kind of "proof" of his ineptitude. All it takes is for 1 rogue jerk to rise up and kill someone (look at MLK, Ghandi, Lincoln). I do not take assassinations or assassination attempts to somehow justify critique of a character (and to play this card, we should include Dany's poisoned locusts as well). I just don't think that these 4 jerks should be taken as gospel that Jon is a terrible leader or anything like that.
Edited by butterbumps!, 20 August 2012 - 08:06 AM.