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Lollygag

Rethinking Saint Jon and Winterfell

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He’s not Saint Jon. He never was. There’s a view about the fandom that Jon is selfless, a pureish hero, and it’s a misread of his character. I suspect it being a long time since a new book has been published + the show turning him into an insipid Messianic Disney character has something to do with this. I really like Jon as a character, but I don’t think he’s going to be the bland good-guy snooze-fest who will give us our big Starky fist pump moment as some seem to.

In AGOT Tyrion II, Jon’s feelings about his family are compared to Tyrion’s feelings about his family and we know how that turned out. Tyrion says that Jon has had similar thoughts of causing harm to his family which Jon denies, but Tyrion questions him again, we don’t get another denial from Jon. We see how deep his rage and despair is over his situation.

In ASOS Jon XII, we see that Jon’s berserker moment was triggered by remembering the moment Robb made him realize that he was inferior. Emmett became Robb, and Jon almost kills him. I’ve noted elsewhere in the forum about blood in the mouth being symbolic of a very real intent to kill in that moment.

Jon then acknowledges to himself how much he wants Winterfell for himself. It’s emphasized by the arrival of Ghost. The degree and violence of the want of Winterfell is compared to Ghost’s wanting to kill, eat, like a wolf hunting its prey. This is consistent with the red anger Jon feels in AGOT Tyrion II and earlier when fighting Emmett (Robb).

There’s set up for Jon to become a much darker character. Being stabbed, betrayed, and spending too much time in one’s wolf is apt to make this worse. Actually, there’s a lot of set up for most of the characters to become darker, not just Jon, and I will say that the set up for some of the other characters seems to be a darker path than Jon.  When I say there is set up for Jon to become darker, this should probably be kept in perspective with the events in the books and the set up for other characters, as well.

But within each of these passages, there’s the other side of Jon. He’s also appalled at the idea of hurting his family. He’s upset about his attack on Emmett. As much as he wants Winterfell, Jon has his limits.

So if we rightfully abandon the Saint Jon who never existed, what do you see in Jon’s future given that he’s very deeply conflicted? How will what Jon’s gone through (betrayal, stabbing, coma/death/resurrection, spending too much time in Ghost, desperation) affect his future decisions? Given that Jon’s feelings are compared to Tyrion’s and we know how that turned out, how likely is it that Jon’s anger could turn him against one or more of his family under certain circumstances?  Will Jon use rationalization to get Winterfell? If the NW is damned (really looks like it is) and thusly useless against the fight with the Others, will Jon use this as rationalization to steal Winterfell from his siblings? I’ll add that I think wanting Winterfell is more about proving the world wrong about him much like how Tyrion wants Casterly Rock. If Jon comes to see Winterfell as the only way he proves to himself that he is just as good as a true-born, not something to be dumped in the midden heap of the NW, then how might this affect Jon’s decisions and views about Winterfell? I’m quite sure we won’t be getting Saint Jon as he never existed, but I’m equally as sure that Jon won’t turn evil (or as evil as any other character seems set up to be), but as for the broad space between Saint and evil, I’m not sure.

 

 

AGOT Tyrion II

The boy absorbed that all in silence. He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son. "What are you reading about?" he asked.

"Dragons," Tyrion told him.

"What good is that? There are no more dragons," the boy said with the easy certainty of youth.

"So they say," Tyrion replied. "Sad, isn't it? When I was your age, I used to dream of having a dragon of my own."

"You did?" the boy said suspiciously. Perhaps he thought Tyrion was making fun of him.

"Oh, yes. Even a stunted, twisted, ugly little boy can look down over the world when he's seated on a dragon's back." Tyrion pushed the bearskin aside and climbed to his feet. "I used to start fires in the bowels of Casterly Rock and stare at the flames for hours, pretending they were dragonfire. Sometimes I'd imagine my father burning. At other times, my sister." Jon Snow was staring at him, a look equal parts horror and fascination. Tyrion guffawed. "Don't look at me that way, bastard. I know your secret. You've dreamt the same kind of dreams."

"No," Jon Snow said, horrified. "I wouldn't …"

"No? Never?" Tyrion raised an eyebrow. "Well, no doubt the Starks have been terribly good to you. I'm certain Lady Stark treats you as if you were one of her own. And your brother Robb, he's always been kind, and why not? He gets Winterfell and you get the Wall. And your father … he must have good reasons for packing you off to the Night's Watch …"

"Stop it," Jon Snow said, his face dark with anger. "The Night's Watch is a noble calling!"

Tyrion laughed. "You're too smart to believe that. The Night's Watch is a midden heap for all the misfits of the realm. I've seen you looking at Yoren and his boys. Those are your new brothers, Jon Snow, how do you like them? Sullen peasants, debtors, poachers, rapers, thieves, and bastards like you all wind up on the Wall, watching for grumkins and snarks and all the other monsters your wet nurse warned you about. The good part is there are no grumkins or snarks, so it's scarcely dangerous work. The bad part is you freeze your balls off, but since you're not allowed to breed anyway, I don't suppose that matters."

"Stop it!" the boy screamed. He took a step forward, his hands coiling into fists, close to tears.

Suddenly, absurdly, Tyrion felt guilty. He took a step forward, intending to give the boy a reassuring pat on the shoulder or mutter some word of apology.

He never saw the wolf, where it was or how it came at him. One moment he was walking toward Snow and the next he was flat on his back on the hard rocky ground, the book spinning away from him as he fell, the breath going out of him at the sudden impact, his mouth full of dirt and blood and rotting leaves. As he tried to get up, his back spasmed painfully. He must have wrenched it in the fall. He ground his teeth in frustration, grabbed a root, and pulled himself back to a sitting position. "Help me," he said to the boy, reaching up a hand.

 

AGOT Jon VIII

"As you say, my lord." It was not the thought of scars that troubled Jon; it was the rest of it. Maester Aemon had given him milk of the poppy, yet even so, the pain had been hideous. At first it had felt as if his hand were still aflame, burning day and night. Only plunging it into basins of snow and shaved ice gave any relief at all. Jon thanked the gods that no one but Ghost saw him writhing on his bed, whimpering from the pain. And when at last he did sleep, he dreamt, and that was even worse. In the dream, the corpse he fought had blue eyes, black hands, and his father's face, but he dared not tell Mormont that.

Whatever demonic force moved Othor had been driven out by the flames; the twisted thing they had found in the ashes had been no more than cooked meat and charred bone. Yet in his nightmare he faced it again … and this time the burning corpse wore Lord Eddard's features. It was his father's skin that burst and blackened, his father's eyes that ran liquid down his cheeks like jellied tears. Jon did not understand why that should be or what it might mean, but it frightened him more than he could say.

 

ASOS Jon XII

He was almost ready to lower his blade and call a halt when Emmett feinted low and came in over his shield with a savage forehand slash that caught Jon on the temple. He staggered, his helm and head both ringing from the force of the blow. For half a heartbeat the world beyond his eyeslit was a blur.

And then the years were gone, and he was back at Winterfell once more, wearing a quilted leather coat in place of mail and plate. His sword was made of wood, and it was Robb who stood facing him, not Iron Emmett.

Every morning they had trained together, since they were big enough to walk; Snow and Stark, spinning and slashing about the wards of Winterfell, shouting and laughing, sometimes crying when there was no one else to see. They were not little boys when they fought, but knights and mighty heroes. "I'm Prince Aemon the Dragonknight," Jon would call out, and Robb would shout back, "Well, I'm Florian the Fool." Or Robb would say, "I'm the Young Dragon," and Jon would reply, "I'm Ser Ryam Redwyne."

That morning he called it first. "I'm Lord of Winterfell!" he cried, as he had a hundred times before. Only this time, this time, Robb had answered, "You can't be Lord of Winterfell, you're bastard-born. My lady mother says you can't ever be the Lord of Winterfell."

I thought I had forgotten that. Jon could taste blood in his mouth, from the blow he'd taken.

In the end Halder and Horse had to pull him away from Iron Emmett, one man on either arm. The ranger sat on the ground dazed, his shield half in splinters, the visor of his helm knocked askew, and his sword six yards away. "Jon, enough," Halder was shouting, "he's down, you disarmed him. Enough!"

No. Not enough. Never enough. Jon let his sword drop. "I'm sorry," he muttered. "Emmett, are you hurt?"

Iron Emmett pulled his battered helm off. "Was there some part of yield you could not comprehend, Lord Snow?" It was said amiably, though. Emmett was an amiable man, and he loved the song of swords. "Warrior defend me," he groaned, "now I know how Qhorin Halfhand must have felt."

That was too much. Jon wrenched free of his friends and retreated to the armory, alone. His ears were still ringing from the blow Emmett had dealt him. He sat on the bench and buried his head in his hands. Why am I so angry? he asked himself, but it was a stupid question. Lord of Winterfell. I could be the Lord of Winterfell. My father's heir.

It was not Lord Eddard's face he saw floating before him, though; it was Lady Catelyn's. With her deep blue eyes and hard cold mouth, she looked a bit like Stannis. Iron, he thought, but brittle. She was looking at him the way she used to look at him at Winterfell, whenever he had bested Robb at swords or sums or most anything. Who are you? that look had always seemed to say. This is not your place. Why are you here?

His friends were still out in the practice yard, but Jon was in no fit state to face them. He left the armory by the back, descending a steep flight of stone steps to the wormways, the tunnels that linked the castle's keeps and towers below the earth. It was short walk to the bathhouse, where he took a cold plunge to wash the sweat off and soaked in a hot stone tub. The warmth took some of the ache from his muscles and made him think of Winterfell's muddy pools, steaming and bubbling in the godswood. Winterfell, he thought. Theon left it burned and broken, but I could restore it. Surely his father would have wanted that, and Robb as well. They would never have wanted the castle left in ruins.

You can't be the Lord of Winterfell, you're bastard-born, he heard Robb say again. And the stone kings were growling at him with granite tongues. You do not belong here. This is not your place. When Jon closed his eyes he saw the heart tree, with its pale limbs, red leaves, and solemn face. The weirwood was the heart of Winterfell, Lord Eddard always said . . . but to save the castle Jon would have to tear that heart up by its ancient roots, and feed it to the red woman's hungry fire god. I have no right, he thought. Winterfell belongs to the old gods.

Ygritte wanted me to be a wildling. Stannis wants me to be the Lord of Winterfell. But what do I want? The sun crept down the sky to dip behind the Wall where it curved through the western hills. Jon watched as that towering expanse of ice took on the reds and pinks of sunset. Would I sooner be hanged for a turncloak by Lord Janos, or forswear my vows, marry Val, and become the Lord of Winterfell? It seemed an easy choice when he thought of it in those terms . . . though if Ygritte had still been alive, it might have been even easier. Val was a stranger to him. She was not hard on the eyes, certainly, and she had been sister to Mance Rayder's queen, but still . . .

I would need to steal her if I wanted her love, but she might give me children. I might someday hold a son of my own blood in my arms. A son was something Jon Snow had never dared dream of, since he decided to live his life on the Wall. I could name him Robb. Val would want to keep her sister's son, but we could foster him at Winterfell, and Gilly's boy as well. Sam would never need to tell his lie. We'd find a place for Gilly too, and Sam could come visit her once a year or so. Mance's son and Craster's would grow up brothers, as I once did with Robb.

He wanted it, Jon knew then. He wanted it as much as he had ever wanted anything. I have always wanted it, he thought, guiltily. May the gods forgive me. It was a hunger inside him, sharp as a dragonglass blade. A hunger . . . he could feel it. It was food he needed, prey, a red deer that stank of fear or a great elk proud and defiant. He needed to kill and fill his belly with fresh meat and hot dark blood. His mouth began to water with the thought.

It was a long moment before he understood what was happening. When he did, he bolted to his feet. "Ghost?" He turned toward the wood, and there he came, padding silently out of the green dusk, the breath coming warm and white from his open jaws. "Ghost!" he shouted, and the direwolf broke into a run. He was leaner than he had been, but bigger as well, and the only sound he made was the soft crunch of dead leaves beneath his paws. When he reached Jon he leapt, and they wrestled amidst brown grass and long shadows as the stars came out above them. "Gods, wolf, where have you been?" Jon said when Ghost stopped worrying at his forearm. "I thought you'd died on me, like Robb and Ygritte and all the rest. I've had no sense of you, not since I climbed the Wall, not even in dreams." The direwolf had no answer, but he licked Jon's face with a tongue like a wet rasp, and his eyes caught the last light and shone like two great red suns.

Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandre's. He had a weirwood's eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one. And he alone of all the direwolves was white. Six pups they'd found in the late summer snows, him and Robb; five that were grey and black and brown, for the five Starks, and one white, as white as Snow.

 

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19 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

<snip>

Yes, book Jon is far more complex than Jon from the thing we cannot mention, for a whole host of reasons. Assuming (and that is a bold assumption at 7 years between books) we get another book in the series, we will see Jon's character progress in a way similarly to the way he progresses in ttwmcm.  Book readers on this forum seem to take everything Jon does in the worst possible light. Traitor, Oathbreaker, Bastard, son of anyone but Rhaegar and Lyanna and since we are waiting for the next book, these attitudes solidify. He is meant to be a hero. Not a perfect hero, but not so flawed to denigrate his hero status. That is a complexity that can be afforded on a written page, as opposed to a tv show, where there are budgets, schedules, release dates and writers who write as a job instead of a whim   

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I think the book version of jon is better because he isn't perfect. He isn't riding in and saving the day on a shiny white steed and pretty armor. He has faults and in the books he is more cold then the show. Martin made him one of the best characters in terms of being "good" but if you look at the other characters that there are how many are not extremly flawed. You have sir barristan,sir davos,and jon (I might be missing one) who are the "pure" characters. But look at most of the other characters. Tyrion in a dance of dragons rapes a women and yes she had no choice so it was rape. And in the books he does other questionable things. Then you have the characters that are horrific like cersei and victorian. (I am only mentioning characters who we have been in their POV). Then you have theon who in my opinion is one of the worst. Because unlike ramsey who is pure evil theon knew the things he did were horrible but did them anyways and could feel guilt.  And jaime only became "redeemed"  because he could no longer fight like he could before. If he had not lost his hand he would still be the a** hole he was.

So by comparisson jon is the white knight.

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I agree that in the show they sort of "dulled" him down. Then again, it's more difficult to portray inner monologue in a visual format. I wonder how "dark" he'll turn, possibly a bit more decisive and less naïve.

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I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to Jon as a Saint before, especially on this forum. Even on the show where his character has been whitewashed up to the point where he doesn't even have a personality anymore.

He's not supposed to be a white knight character but he is supposed to be better then other characters. Jon at least has respect for other people and wants to do the right thing which is more then you could say for character's like Cersei, Euron, Ramsey etc

I do think that he is on his way to becoming a good seasoned commander though and the show that must not be named has just translated that into 'White Knight'

In the first book Jon had his head shoved so far up his own butt unit Joer Mormont set him straight after he tried to run away to join Robb's army and this is his 'ok I get it now' moment where he starts to look at things differently. This was his first step to becoming that (for lack o a better term) 'white knight' character

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19 minutes ago, WildlingWitch said:

I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to Jon as a Saint before, especially on this forum. Even on the show where his character has been whitewashed up to the point where he doesn't even have a personality anymore.

He's not supposed to be a white knight character but he is supposed to be better then other characters. Jon at least has respect for other people and wants to do the right thing which is more then you could say for character's like Cersei, Euron, Ramsey etc

I do think that he is on his way to becoming a good seasoned commander though and the show that must not be named has just translated that into 'White Knight'

In the first book Jon had his head shoved so far up his own butt unit Joer Mormont set him straight after he tried to run away to join Robb's army and this is his 'ok I get it now' moment where he starts to look at things differently. This was his first step to becoming that (for lack o a better term) 'white knight' character

I've not heard book Jon referred to as a Saint either on this forum, but I can't count how many times I've read to the effect of "Jon would never..." when in fact if you read his character more carefully or more recently than however many years ago, then yeah, he just might. 

It seems to be a given on the forum for many that Jon would never do anything even slightly skivy to get Winterfell. The above quotes suggest the possibility of otherwise. 

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Let's start by addressing the sJon, the show version.  That version is heavily bleached to the point that he is no longer the same character.  sJon and bJon are completely different characters and the corporate parent of hbo may have something to do with that.  The actor will have his own show coming up so they will definitely gave him a good send off and have erased anything controversial about his character.  I still don't like Jon on the show.  I don't like Jon in the books. 

The book version of Jon is an average guy with some very big emotional problems.  All you need to do is read the many comments on this forum to get a list of reasons why many of the readers don't like him.  I don't recall any of his critics calling him a saint.  To the contrary, I think they don't like him because he betrayed the watch and broke his oaths. 

Any average boy in his position would dream of owning Winterfell.  That's normal and even a Jon hater like me would not hold that against him if he fantasized becoming its lord.  It's not a sin for Jeyne Poole to fantasize becoming the lady of Winterfell.  Jon wasting his time away fantasizing about inheriting Winterfell is no more wrong than Sansa imagining herself the queen.  Both are woefully inadequate for the job in my opinion.  But they have a right to their fantasies if it makes life a little bit easier to accept.

I would not count out an evil Jon in the story.  His feelings for Arya is unhealthy.  It's an obsession.  Read his later chapters in Dance and he was obsessed with her like someone with prominent OCD.  So what happens if the Lannisters kill Arya?  A Jon who has spent time in a savage animal like direwolf will go all ham and go out for vengeance.  In life, Jon was too attached to the Starks and Arya particularly.  Those feelings led him to betray the wall and his actions will be the downfall of the watch and it will contribute to fall of the wall.  Jon is not really a hero.  He's more of a tragic character who could not keep his feelings under control.  Jon is not coming back a better man.  He's coming back more savage and more like the Weeper than Ned Stark.  I don't think Jon will ever get Winterfell.  That's show fiction to please some of the fans.  I don't think Jon will become king of westeros.  His job is to fight the Others and he, like his direwolf, belongs in the north.  Jon has never left the north and I don't think he will.  He proved he's inadequate as a leader and I don't think he will get another chance to lead again unless it's an army of Wildlings. 

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8 hours ago, Lollygag said:

So if we rightfully abandon the Saint Jon who never existed, what do you see in Jon’s future given that he’s very deeply conflicted? How will what Jon’s gone through (betrayal, stabbing, coma/death/resurrection, spending too much time in Ghost, desperation) affect his future decisions?

There may be a few Jon fans out there who really believe he's a saint.  The way they desperately try to defend Jon's behavior in the last book might be an indication.  They're not accurate and they just want to see what they want to see.  They're not seeing the real character.

I don't think Jon is a saint at all.  He's actually part of the problem.  He was never cut out for command.  A person so very deeply conflicted (using your description) should not be in such a position.  He always puts the welfare of the Starks ahead of the welfare of the entire country.  Which is stupid.  He really has no excuse because he had a lecture from his friends and Mormont about it.  It matters not who the lord of Winterfell is.  Nor does it matter what happens between Ramsay and Arya.  Because if the crows don't do their jobs none of it will matter.  Taking and hiding Arya away from Ramsay is of very little value if the wall fails to stop the Others.  It was obvious he was running on emotion when he made the decision to break his oaths to help Robb.  It was equally obvious that he was running on emotion when he decided to steal Arya and hide her from Ramsay.  

I don't see Jon ever becoming king in Westeros.  He will either stay dead or he will come back and live with the wildlings.  He might even take Mance Rayder's place to lead the wildlings for a time but in the end he will die and live his second life as a wolf.  

Jon and Arya are both made for each other.  I believe they will end up together as mates.  First as humans and then as wolves.  Think about it.  Jon and Arya share the same horsey faced look of the Starks.  They're both square pegs and don't fit in.  Jon, we know, has issues with obeying the rules of the watch.  Arya is very much the same at the house of black and white.  The only reasonable future for these two is to live without rules, to live as wildlings so they can finally be with each other. 

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Ah it could have been an interesting discussion. But half a dozen posts in, and it's already turned into yet another Stark/Jon hate thread. And we've hardly seen any of those lately... :rolleyes:

 

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Posted (edited)

I have no idea what will happen to Jon other than hints that he will go down dark paths. For some reason, I expect him to end up on the cold side of the equation; raising dead NW from the crypts and lichyards at the castles along the Wall...    

I'll add this exchange between Mormont and Jon:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Jon I

"I've always known that Robb would be Lord of Winterfell."

Mormont gave a whistle, and the bird flew to him again and settled on his arm. "A lord's one thing, a king's another." He offered the raven a handful of corn from his pocket. "They will garb your brother Robb in silks, satins, and velvets of a hundred different colors, while you live and die in black ringmail. He will wed some beautiful princess and father sons on her. You'll have no wife, nor will you ever hold a child of your own blood in your arms. Robb will rule, you will serve. Men will call you a crow. Him they'll call Your Grace. Singers will praise every little thing he does, while your greatest deeds all go unsung. Tell me that none of this troubles you, Jon . . . and I'll name you a liar, and know I have the truth of it."

Mormont recognizes Jon's underlying resentment and attempts to draw it out.

Edited by LynnS

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Alright then.  Let us begin.  Jon is a grey character.  All of the top tier characters in the story are grey.  There are no saints here.  Even Samwell Tarly is not a saint and Brienne is not even close to saintly.  Jon is most similar to Catelyn and Rhaegar.  I don't think he's a bad guy but instead he allows his personal feelings to determine his decisions.  Catelyn kidnaps Tyrion to get justice for her son knowing his dad will start a war that will kill many people.  Rhaegar protected and sheltered a runaway girl when he knew her dad might start a war to get her back.  It's that kind of thinking that causes the most suffering.  Jon, Catelyn, and Rhaegar are not evil but they are tragic.  Following their hearts led and will lead to a lot of grief for a lot of people.  To his credit, Jon doesn't even pretend at honor.  Which makes him better than Robb in my book.  At least he knows it.  He knew what he was doing is wrong but he did it because it's what he wanted to do.  He's too emotional for leadership.

I don't think Jon is coming back.  His arc is done.  At least his arc as a man.  The possibility that he comes back and live on in Ghost has been suggested and it is one that I think is likely.  Bringing Jon back will triviaize death and I don't think the author wants to do that.

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4 hours ago, LynnS said:

I have no idea what will happen to Jon other than hints that he will go down dark paths. For some reason, I expect him to end up on the cold side of the equation; raising dead NW from the crypts and lichyards at the castles along the Wall...    

I'll add this exchange between Mormont and Jon:

Mormont recognizes Jon's underlying resentment and attempts to draw it out.

Great find on that quote. Completely forgot about that scene. 

I'm considering that all of the Starks might end up on the cold side to use your term. Ned's intolerance of the heat was symbolic for him being a fish out of water and in the wrong place, but it was too heavy-handed to be just symbolism for me. Jon used to complain about the cold, but now he stands by windows which are the coldest place in the room and he takes walks in the cold rather than curling up by the fireplace. Sansa is also weirdly drawn to cold in a way she wasn't before. It almost reminds me of being compelled in a similar way that Dracula had a compulsion over his victims. I mean to reread Robb, Arya and Bran for this. I think I recall something of a change in Robb, but I can't bring it up off hand. In the show Catelyn says something like "Robb brought the cold down with him" and I thought it was also in the books, but perhaps not? Maybe the direwolves are just a beginning of something?

I never fully noticed it before yesterday, but Jon describes how badly he wants Winterfell as being stabbed by dragonglass. 

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35 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

Great find on that quote. Completely forgot about that scene. 

I'm considering that all of the Starks might end up on the cold side to use your term. Ned's intolerance of the heat was symbolic for him being a fish out of water and in the wrong place, but it was too heavy-handed to be just symbolism for me. Jon used to complain about the cold, but now he stands by windows which are the coldest place in the room and he takes walks in the cold rather than curling up by the fireplace. Sansa is also weirdly drawn to cold in a way she wasn't before. It almost reminds me of being compelled in a similar way that Dracula had a compulsion over his victims. I mean to reread Robb, Arya and Bran for this. I think I recall something of a change in Robb, but I can't bring it up off hand. In the show Catelyn says something like "Robb brought the cold down with him" and I thought it was also in the books, but perhaps not? Maybe the direwolves are just a beginning of something?

I never fully noticed it before yesterday, but Jon describes how badly he wants Winterfell as being stabbed by dragonglass. 

There is a black sheep within every family. That one dude in a different page from  the  rest of the family. Sansa  is that person for the  Starks. She's not one of the pack.  Jon may turn to the Others and  if he does,  Arya will follow.  That is one way I can think of that could make the Starks turn to the dark side.   Better yet,  Arya could turn to the dark side and Jon will follow.  Mind you,  the series is called A Song of Ice and Fire and we may get a conflict between the two.  

 

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I think there's a reason that GRRM gives us two northern bastards named Snow - he wants us to compare Jon and Ramsay. Ramsay also wants legitimacy, status, father's approval and Winterfell. For him, that involves marrying a Stark.

A lot of the evidence you site for Jon becoming "dark" has to do with his wish to possess Winterfell and to be a real Stark. Are there any other elements in Jon's story that match up with the most horrific aspects of Ramsay's arc? I don't recall Jon forcing anyone into marriage and then subjecting them to sexual sadism or starving them to death; maiming anyone and turning them into a frightened sycophant; killing his legitimate half-brother; promising amnesty for men holding a captured castle and then killing them after all; forcing people to rebuild a feast hall and then killing them afterward - what am I forgetting?

Did Jon even think about doing parallel things?

We know that Jon cares deeply for Arya, so Ramsay's marriage to fake-Arya is a possible parallel. But clearly Jon is not going to force Arya to marry him the way Ramsay forced Jeyne Poole. He did persuade Alys Karstark to marry a wildling, but she actually saw that as a rescue and was grateful. Jon was less benevolent toward the Karstark uncle (cousin?) who was imprisoned in an ice cell as I recall. Is he being left there to freeze, similar to Lady Hornwood being locked up to die? Maybe that is further evidence of Jon's dark side.

It's fair to point out, though, I think, that Daenerys also longs for the house with the red door, wherever it might be. And Tyrion wants to own Casterly Rock. Jon is not the only guy whose desire to own his childhood home is in the forefront of his motives.

I was browsing through some old posts and came up with this one. Apparently it builds on some ideas from others that brought in the notion of a bastard as an ingredient in the catspaw attack on Bran. I think exploration of that bastard connection will provide more clues about Jon's dark side.

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Would the George's character

Spoiler

have cowered behind a tree while an Other stole Craster's baby? 

I don't think so.

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35 minutes ago, Seams said:

Jon was less benevolent toward the Karstark uncle (cousin?) who was imprisoned in an ice cell as I recall. Is he being left there to freeze, similar to Lady Hornwood being locked up to die? Maybe that is further evidence of Jon's dark side.

Jon tells the watchmen to take him out of his cell before he's entombed there b/c of the snow.

ADwD, Jon XIII

“Ten stewards and one giant made short work of the drifts, but even when the doors were clear again, Jon was not satisfied. “Those cells will be buried again by morning. We’d best move the prisoners before they smother.”
“Karstark too, m’lord?” asked Fulk the Flea. “Can’t we just leave that one shivering till spring?”
“Would that we could
.” Cregan Karstark had taken to howling in the night of late, and throwing frozen feces at whoever came to feed him. That had not made him beloved of his guards. “Take him to the Lord Commander’s Tower. The undervault should hold him.”

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

I don't recall Jon forcing anyone into marriage and then subjecting them to sexual sadism or starving them to death; maiming anyone and turning them into a frightened sycophant;[...] promising amnesty for men holding a captured castle and then killing them after all; forcing people to rebuild a feast hall and then killing them afterward - what am I forgetting?

Yeah. Although he "forced" Ygritte in marriage through customs. But it is fair to point out that thinking about something and desiring a thing is something different than doing a thing. I believe UnCat and UnJon will clash over Jon's desires and problems at some point. 

 

1 hour ago, Seams said:

killing his legitimate half-brother

I find it increasingly difficult to even discuss against show events in the book part of this forum. I don't know. Roose expects him to do it. We expect him to do it. But will he do it ? Will he turn against his family ? Will UnJon turn against his family ? Will there be UnRamsay ? 

Edited by SirArthur

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2 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

I find it increasingly difficult to even discuss against show events in the book part of this forum. I don't know. Roose expects him to do it. We expect him to do it. But will he do it ? Will he turn against his family ? Will UnJon turn against his family ? Will there be UnRamsay ? 

To be clear, my intent was never to discuss the show here. Rather, it was to remove show Jon from book Jon which some posters have come to combine somehow (understandably) as I see a lot of statements intended to be about book Jon but which are actually only accurate for show Jon. 

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19 hours ago, 300 H&H Magnum said:

I think they don't like him because he betrayed the watch and broke his oaths. 

So you are saying that these people hate Jon for an act that he never committed, and had absolutely no intent of doing? 

Whether one wants to argue that Jon's attempt to have a young helpless girl (who he thought was Arya) rescued from the wilderness, extreme weather, and starvation, was breaking his oaths or not, none of those actions corelate into him having betrayed the Watch.

One may also argue that the decisions Jon made were not right, or beneficial to the Watch, but still, nothing he did (or intended to do) was a betrayal to the Watch, and is just a fabricated falsehood, made up by Jon haters in an attempt to justify their hatred. 

Edited by Blackwater Revenant

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24 minutes ago, Blackwater Revenant said:

So you are saying that these people hate Jon for an act that he never committed, and had absolutely no intent of doing? 

Whether one wants to argue that Jon's attempt to have a young helpless girl (who he thought was Arya) rescued from the wilderness, extreme weather, and starvation, was breaking his oaths or not, none of those actions corelate into him having betrayed the Watch.

One may also argue that the decisions Jon made were not right, or beneficial to the Watch, but still, nothing he did (or intended to do) was a betrayal to the Watch, and is just a fabricated falsehood, made up by Jon haters in an attempt to justify their hatred. 

Are you saying Jon simply meant to take his sister back to the wall, and then send a raven to let her husband know where to find her, give her back, and Jon had no intentions of hiding her away from her husband?  Because if that is the case, then perhaps you can give him a little bit of an excuse for sticking his nose where it doesn't belong.  But you and I know that is not what Jon intended.  He meant to take his sister away from Ramsay and keep her away from him.  That is meddling in the affairs of House Bolton.  That is behaving in a way that is very partial and very prejudice.  Not to mention that it is an act of war and any house will take that as an attack on their family.  There is no excuse for Jon.  George wrote those chapters in such a way that Jon definitely is guilty of betraying the watch for the sake of helping his sister.  Bowen had no choice but to stick him with the pointy end to keep him from escalating the situation and making it worse.  It's not hating on Jon to point out that he committed treason against the watch, the night's watch brothers, and Westeros.  

You may be right about your last sentence.  I do feel like many of Jon's critics already didn't like him before A Dance with Dragons.  I'm one of those critics.  And that's fine.  We all have our favorites among the characters and there are some characters we don't like.  Criticizing the character and his actions is not hating on him for the sake of hating.  It's a discussion.

On 3/4/2018 at 1:48 PM, Lollygag said:

He’s not Saint Jon. He never was. There’s a view about the fandom that Jon is selfless, a pureish hero, and it’s a misread of his character. I suspect it being a long time since a new book has been published + the show turning him into an insipid Messianic Disney character has something to do with this. I really like Jon as a character, but I don’t think he’s going to be the bland good-guy snooze-fest who will give us our big Starky fist pump moment as some seem to.

 

In AGOT Tyrion II, Jon’s feelings about his family are compared to Tyrion’s feelings about his family and we know how that turned out. Tyrion says that Jon has had similar thoughts of causing harm to his family which Jon denies, but Tyrion questions him again, we don’t get another denial from Jon. We see how deep his rage and despair is over his situation.

 

In ASOS Jon XII, we see that Jon’s berserker moment was triggered by remembering the moment Robb made him realize that he was inferior. Emmett became Robb, and Jon almost kills him. I’ve noted elsewhere in the forum about blood in the mouth being symbolic of a very real intent to kill in that moment.

 

Jon then acknowledges to himself how much he wants Winterfell for himself. It’s emphasized by the arrival of Ghost. The degree and violence of the want of Winterfell is compared to Ghost’s wanting to kill, eat, like a wolf hunting its prey. This is consistent with the red anger Jon feels in AGOT Tyrion II and earlier when fighting Emmett (Robb).

 

There’s set up for Jon to become a much darker character. Being stabbed, betrayed, and spending too much time in one’s wolf is apt to make this worse. Actually, there’s a lot of set up for most of the characters to become darker, not just Jon, and I will say that the set up for some of the other characters seems to be a darker path than Jon.  When I say there is set up for Jon to become darker, this should probably be kept in perspective with the events in the books and the set up for other characters, as well.

But within each of these passages, there’s the other side of Jon. He’s also appalled at the idea of hurting his family. He’s upset about his attack on Emmett. As much as he wants Winterfell, Jon has his limits.

 

So if we rightfully abandon the Saint Jon who never existed, what do you see in Jon’s future given that he’s very deeply conflicted? How will what Jon’s gone through (betrayal, stabbing, coma/death/resurrection, spending too much time in Ghost, desperation) affect his future decisions? Given that Jon’s feelings are compared to Tyrion’s and we know how that turned out, how likely is it that Jon’s anger could turn him against one or more of his family under certain circumstances?  Will Jon use rationalization to get Winterfell? If the NW is damned (really looks like it is) and thusly useless against the fight with the Others, will Jon use this as rationalization to steal Winterfell from his siblings? I’ll add that I think wanting Winterfell is more about proving the world wrong about him much like how Tyrion wants Casterly Rock. If Jon comes to see Winterfell as the only way he proves to himself that he is just as good as a true-born, not something to be dumped in the midden heap of the NW, then how might this affect Jon’s decisions and views about Winterfell? I’m quite sure we won’t be getting Saint Jon as he never existed, but I’m equally as sure that Jon won’t turn evil (or as evil as any other character seems set up to be), but as for the broad space between Saint and evil, I’m not sure.

 

 

 

 

 

AGOT Tyrion II

 

The boy absorbed that all in silence. He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son. "What are you reading about?" he asked.

 

"Dragons," Tyrion told him.

 

"What good is that? There are no more dragons," the boy said with the easy certainty of youth.

 

"So they say," Tyrion replied. "Sad, isn't it? When I was your age, I used to dream of having a dragon of my own."

 

"You did?" the boy said suspiciously. Perhaps he thought Tyrion was making fun of him.

 

"Oh, yes. Even a stunted, twisted, ugly little boy can look down over the world when he's seated on a dragon's back." Tyrion pushed the bearskin aside and climbed to his feet. "I used to start fires in the bowels of Casterly Rock and stare at the flames for hours, pretending they were dragonfire. Sometimes I'd imagine my father burning. At other times, my sister." Jon Snow was staring at him, a look equal parts horror and fascination. Tyrion guffawed. "Don't look at me that way, bastard. I know your secret. You've dreamt the same kind of dreams."

 

"No," Jon Snow said, horrified. "I wouldn't …"

 

"No? Never?" Tyrion raised an eyebrow. "Well, no doubt the Starks have been terribly good to you. I'm certain Lady Stark treats you as if you were one of her own. And your brother Robb, he's always been kind, and why not? He gets Winterfell and you get the Wall. And your father … he must have good reasons for packing you off to the Night's Watch …"

 

"Stop it," Jon Snow said, his face dark with anger. "The Night's Watch is a noble calling!"

 

Tyrion laughed. "You're too smart to believe that. The Night's Watch is a midden heap for all the misfits of the realm. I've seen you looking at Yoren and his boys. Those are your new brothers, Jon Snow, how do you like them? Sullen peasants, debtors, poachers, rapers, thieves, and bastards like you all wind up on the Wall, watching for grumkins and snarks and all the other monsters your wet nurse warned you about. The good part is there are no grumkins or snarks, so it's scarcely dangerous work. The bad part is you freeze your balls off, but since you're not allowed to breed anyway, I don't suppose that matters."

 

"Stop it!" the boy screamed. He took a step forward, his hands coiling into fists, close to tears.

 

Suddenly, absurdly, Tyrion felt guilty. He took a step forward, intending to give the boy a reassuring pat on the shoulder or mutter some word of apology.

 

He never saw the wolf, where it was or how it came at him. One moment he was walking toward Snow and the next he was flat on his back on the hard rocky ground, the book spinning away from him as he fell, the breath going out of him at the sudden impact, his mouth full of dirt and blood and rotting leaves. As he tried to get up, his back spasmed painfully. He must have wrenched it in the fall. He ground his teeth in frustration, grabbed a root, and pulled himself back to a sitting position. "Help me," he said to the boy, reaching up a hand.

 

 

 

AGOT Jon VIII

 

"As you say, my lord." It was not the thought of scars that troubled Jon; it was the rest of it. Maester Aemon had given him milk of the poppy, yet even so, the pain had been hideous. At first it had felt as if his hand were still aflame, burning day and night. Only plunging it into basins of snow and shaved ice gave any relief at all. Jon thanked the gods that no one but Ghost saw him writhing on his bed, whimpering from the pain. And when at last he did sleep, he dreamt, and that was even worse. In the dream, the corpse he fought had blue eyes, black hands, and his father's face, but he dared not tell Mormont that.

 

 

Whatever demonic force moved Othor had been driven out by the flames; the twisted thing they had found in the ashes had been no more than cooked meat and charred bone. Yet in his nightmare he faced it again … and this time the burning corpse wore Lord Eddard's features. It was his father's skin that burst and blackened, his father's eyes that ran liquid down his cheeks like jellied tears. Jon did not understand why that should be or what it might mean, but it frightened him more than he could say.

 

 

 

ASOS Jon XII

 

He was almost ready to lower his blade and call a halt when Emmett feinted low and came in over his shield with a savage forehand slash that caught Jon on the temple. He staggered, his helm and head both ringing from the force of the blow. For half a heartbeat the world beyond his eyeslit was a blur.

 

And then the years were gone, and he was back at Winterfell once more, wearing a quilted leather coat in place of mail and plate. His sword was made of wood, and it was Robb who stood facing him, not Iron Emmett.

 

Every morning they had trained together, since they were big enough to walk; Snow and Stark, spinning and slashing about the wards of Winterfell, shouting and laughing, sometimes crying when there was no one else to see. They were not little boys when they fought, but knights and mighty heroes. "I'm Prince Aemon the Dragonknight," Jon would call out, and Robb would shout back, "Well, I'm Florian the Fool." Or Robb would say, "I'm the Young Dragon," and Jon would reply, "I'm Ser Ryam Redwyne."

 

That morning he called it first. "I'm Lord of Winterfell!" he cried, as he had a hundred times before. Only this time, this time, Robb had answered, "You can't be Lord of Winterfell, you're bastard-born. My lady mother says you can't ever be the Lord of Winterfell."

 

I thought I had forgotten that. Jon could taste blood in his mouth, from the blow he'd taken.

 

In the end Halder and Horse had to pull him away from Iron Emmett, one man on either arm. The ranger sat on the ground dazed, his shield half in splinters, the visor of his helm knocked askew, and his sword six yards away. "Jon, enough," Halder was shouting, "he's down, you disarmed him. Enough!"

 

No. Not enough. Never enough. Jon let his sword drop. "I'm sorry," he muttered. "Emmett, are you hurt?"

 

Iron Emmett pulled his battered helm off. "Was there some part of yield you could not comprehend, Lord Snow?" It was said amiably, though. Emmett was an amiable man, and he loved the song of swords. "Warrior defend me," he groaned, "now I know how Qhorin Halfhand must have felt."

 

That was too much. Jon wrenched free of his friends and retreated to the armory, alone. His ears were still ringing from the blow Emmett had dealt him. He sat on the bench and buried his head in his hands. Why am I so angry? he asked himself, but it was a stupid question. Lord of Winterfell. I could be the Lord of Winterfell. My father's heir.

 

It was not Lord Eddard's face he saw floating before him, though; it was Lady Catelyn's. With her deep blue eyes and hard cold mouth, she looked a bit like Stannis. Iron, he thought, but brittle. She was looking at him the way she used to look at him at Winterfell, whenever he had bested Robb at swords or sums or most anything. Who are you? that look had always seemed to say. This is not your place. Why are you here?

 

His friends were still out in the practice yard, but Jon was in no fit state to face them. He left the armory by the back, descending a steep flight of stone steps to the wormways, the tunnels that linked the castle's keeps and towers below the earth. It was short walk to the bathhouse, where he took a cold plunge to wash the sweat off and soaked in a hot stone tub. The warmth took some of the ache from his muscles and made him think of Winterfell's muddy pools, steaming and bubbling in the godswood. Winterfell, he thought. Theon left it burned and broken, but I could restore it. Surely his father would have wanted that, and Robb as well. They would never have wanted the castle left in ruins.

 

You can't be the Lord of Winterfell, you're bastard-born, he heard Robb say again. And the stone kings were growling at him with granite tongues. You do not belong here. This is not your place. When Jon closed his eyes he saw the heart tree, with its pale limbs, red leaves, and solemn face. The weirwood was the heart of Winterfell, Lord Eddard always said . . . but to save the castle Jon would have to tear that heart up by its ancient roots, and feed it to the red woman's hungry fire god. I have no right, he thought. Winterfell belongs to the old gods.

 

 

Ygritte wanted me to be a wildling. Stannis wants me to be the Lord of Winterfell. But what do I want? The sun crept down the sky to dip behind the Wall where it curved through the western hills. Jon watched as that towering expanse of ice took on the reds and pinks of sunset. Would I sooner be hanged for a turncloak by Lord Janos, or forswear my vows, marry Val, and become the Lord of Winterfell? It seemed an easy choice when he thought of it in those terms . . . though if Ygritte had still been alive, it might have been even easier. Val was a stranger to him. She was not hard on the eyes, certainly, and she had been sister to Mance Rayder's queen, but still . . .

 

I would need to steal her if I wanted her love, but she might give me children. I might someday hold a son of my own blood in my arms. A son was something Jon Snow had never dared dream of, since he decided to live his life on the Wall. I could name him Robb. Val would want to keep her sister's son, but we could foster him at Winterfell, and Gilly's boy as well. Sam would never need to tell his lie. We'd find a place for Gilly too, and Sam could come visit her once a year or so. Mance's son and Craster's would grow up brothers, as I once did with Robb.

 

He wanted it, Jon knew then. He wanted it as much as he had ever wanted anything. I have always wanted it, he thought, guiltily. May the gods forgive me. It was a hunger inside him, sharp as a dragonglass blade. A hunger . . . he could feel it. It was food he needed, prey, a red deer that stank of fear or a great elk proud and defiant. He needed to kill and fill his belly with fresh meat and hot dark blood. His mouth began to water with the thought.

 

It was a long moment before he understood what was happening. When he did, he bolted to his feet. "Ghost?" He turned toward the wood, and there he came, padding silently out of the green dusk, the breath coming warm and white from his open jaws. "Ghost!" he shouted, and the direwolf broke into a run. He was leaner than he had been, but bigger as well, and the only sound he made was the soft crunch of dead leaves beneath his paws. When he reached Jon he leapt, and they wrestled amidst brown grass and long shadows as the stars came out above them. "Gods, wolf, where have you been?" Jon said when Ghost stopped worrying at his forearm. "I thought you'd died on me, like Robb and Ygritte and all the rest. I've had no sense of you, not since I climbed the Wall, not even in dreams." The direwolf had no answer, but he licked Jon's face with a tongue like a wet rasp, and his eyes caught the last light and shone like two great red suns.

 

Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandre's. He had a weirwood's eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one. And he alone of all the direwolves was white. Six pups they'd found in the late summer snows, him and Robb; five that were grey and black and brown, for the five Starks, and one white, as white as Snow.

 

 

 

I'm not sure how much a priority it is to Jon to have Winterfell now.  I think he started out green with envy.  Of Robb.  He was bitter and sore about his lot in life.  He grew up too busy resenting his second-class treatment at Winterfell and he was blind to how the non-nobles lived.  He came to the wall and got his attitude adjusted by Donal Noye and Alliser Thorne.  He came to the conclusion that he had it pretty darn good compared to the other boys at the watch.  It's at that point that he gradually stopped feeling sorry for himself.  

There is a slim probability that he ends up ruling over the north and becoming the lord of Winterfell.  If you were to really think about it, Jon is more of a Stark than Robb and Sansa.  He has the look of the north and he has quiet, but prickly demeanor.  Like Ned in other words.  Because you see, Ned has come to symbolize to many readers what the Stark model is.  I have a feeling Ned is a one-off and not the typical Stark though.  But the perception among the readers hold.  In his mind at least, Jon and Arya are much like how THEY SEE their father.  Jon is very attached to the Starks and he will betray the world to save the Starks.  Maybe he can do a good job as the next Stark family patriarch because he prioritizes their needs above anything.  He would make a terrible king because of his very strong partiality towards the Starks and the Baratheons.  Jon will have a difficult time handing out justice and making decisions because he's always looking out for the Starks.  That same defect that make him unsuited to rule anybody outside of the north makes him a strong advocate for Stark interest.  I would not want him to govern anything or anybody outside the north because he's too biased.  But confined to the north and only the north he could be alright.  

 

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