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Damsel in Distress

The execution of Janos Slynt was personal and it was not justice.

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Guess how long it took me to browse through all of the comments!  I am impressed with the stamina of the forum members.   The only contribution I can make is to give my opinion and where appropriate my advise on how the matter should have been managed.  

Slynt's Insubordination versus Jon's Sword

I believe the watch is lenient and tolerant.  The Order is made up of men.  Testosterone is in the air.  Outbursts are tolerated or leniently punished because it's men blowing off steam.  Jon's attempted killing of Ser Alliser is an extreme outbursts but it was leniently dealt with and nobody seemed very surprised.  This is a place for men where such things happen between men.  Janos' insubordination is less offensive compared to what Jon did.  Did anybody respect Ser Alliser less because Jon tried to kill him?  I don't think so.  It's just plain silly assumption from the readers to think Jon will be less respected if he showed mercy to Janos.  He might actually win some of Janos' supporters by showing he can be fair.  

Jon is an emotional time bomb with a short fuse.

Jon has a dangerous and violent temper.  He's like a pressurized container of anger and rage.  We first saw this during Robert's visit to Winterfell during the chapter scene in the dining halls.  He is way more volatile than his Uncle Brandon Stark.  At least Brandon can control his urge to finish off Petyr.  

Jon is an emotional wreck.  Which can lead support for R+L=J because a few male Targaryens have had very volatile tempers.  Jon would fit right in with the dragon males who showed emotional instability.  He knows something is wrong in his mind.  The mental wheel starts turning and he starts making all kinds of stupid justifications for why he should instead scratch his itch to do what he knows is wrong.  We witnessed this emotional issue here at Janos execution.  We see it again in the mission to find Arya.  Jon doesn't want to get Arya because it's a violation of his vows.  He sends Mance though because the wildling man doesn't bother with vows.  Jon's hand gets caught and he chooses wildlings to escort him to attack Roose Bolton.  He says in his mind "at least no one can accuse me of making my brothers betray their oaths".  Which is bull because he send brother Mance to get Arya.  Mance is still a brother of the watch.  Jon corrupted Ed Tollett when he involved the brother to carry the spear wives from Mole's Town and made him part of the mission.  

Slynt is a future threat to Jon's authority.

Maybe so but killing him is not the proper choice of action.  That only made Slynt's friends angry at Jon.  They kept silent because they feared Jon but that won't keep them from talking among themselves.  Jon didn't earn their loyalty.  Putting Slynt in confinement neutralizes his political influence.  That was all Jon needed to do.  Slynt in a cell is harmless.  There was no logical reason to kill him.  

 

Edited by Sire de Maletroit

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6 hours ago, Chris Mormont said:

Sneaking off to Moles Town would be desertion if that man was supposed to walking the wall at the time, because his post is unmanned. 

Not really. The Watch doesn't seem to be a place where you have regular working hours. Going to Mole's Town would only be okay if your superior gave you some off hours to go out whoring - which is against the vow of the NW, so you would never get that permission.

During off hours you can hang out in the common hall, eat stuff, practice in the yard, etc. but one assumes that you can't just leave the premises, not even for a walk, without permission. After all, people know where you are if something comes up and you have to do stuff. 

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So I think it is safe to assume that the LC looks the other way if the man is off duty and decides to go there instead of to bed.  Which is why Mormont gave Jon a pass when he went for his ride, he was back in time to his duty the next morning.

Mormont also turns the other eye when men go whoring and break their vows, yes, but he does know that Jon didn't do that. He basically pardons an oathbreaker and deserter who doesn't really regret what he did - without even a public show of regret.

Compared to what happens to other deserters this is clearly not justice. Especially not if you think of Dareon and Gared.

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In this world, Lords are obeyed, and in every world, commanders should be obeyed.  If Jon had not done that, what do you think Thorne would have done when Jon ordered him to go out ranging later on in the book.  Thorne knew he didn't have a choice, so he went.  If the choice is certain death vs a few nights in an ice cell, what would a person choose?

The point is just that we cannot say Slynt committed as grave a crime as Jon did when he died. The vow doesn't include obedience to the Lord Commander. When you compare these two Jon gets the special treatment and Slynt is, by comparison, treated pretty badly.

I personally liked that the man died, mostly because he betrayed Ned, but I don't think the sentence was just. And that's the issue here. Just look how Tywin sits in judgment over Tyrion. He includes Mace and Oberyn as judges, meaning that he cannot actually condemn or free against these two. Oberyn and Mace could overrule Tywin.

Considering Jon's own history with Slynt he should at least asked some neutral guy to give his opinion on the matter, perhaps only in relation to the sentence. That Slynt was guilty of an offense is obvious.

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Jon gave him overnight to reconsider.  And Slynt isn't that stupid, he was already victim of an unfair punishment, and he was in Kings Landing long enough to know, when a superior gives you an order, you follow. 

He looks like a stupid moron in the scene and he definitely realizes that he misunderstood the situation he found himself in. But he eventually understands and then he begs for his life.

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Slynt was a cancer, regardless if he begged or not, he would always be.  Sometimes you need to cut out the cancer to save the body.

That is a very twisted view. Slynt was an ass, but he was nothing but Thorne's puppet. He was propped as a figurehead so that Thorne - after the death/disappearance of many other senior officers - could effectively take over the Watch. He wasn't a real danger. He had no friends not experience at the Watch. Thorne and Marsh are the dangers, as especially the latter proves. 

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Killing Slynt was not the only option.  It's not even a good option.  Jon should have taken Slynt into custody and locked him up.  That should give both of them time to cool their jets.  Jon could always hold a trial for Slynt if he should choose to do so later on.  

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On July 17, 2018 at 11:29 AM, cyberdirectorfreedom said:

I suppose it is also admittedly difficult to lead a garrison without a tongue, but he doesn't have to be given command of Greyguard. Anyway, the point is that there are plenty of other punishments, which could easily put Slynt in line or prevent him from plotting with Ser Alliser, without simply killing him. Considering that the Watch needs every man it can get (which I do believe is something that Jon espouses quite a bit), throwing Slynt away was foolish

I have to say reading this I thought of Slynt being assighned as a common steward to which is tasked with butchering animal after having his tongue ripped out. It would be gloriously ironic; after all all the evil stuff Slynt did, all his work to rise above his caste,  he ended up right were he started. 

On July 17, 2018 at 11:29 AM, cyberdirectorfreedom said:

The Greatjon's actual crime was bearing steel against his Liege. He spoke of returning home and leaving Robb to his war, itself not a crime (though the act itself would be).

This seems to be a matter of perspective; Robb is planning to wage a rebellion over the legal arrest of his father; Greatjon(along with the rest of rebels), could be seen committing a crime by aiding Robb.  Do the oaths House umber have to the Iron throne supercede their oaths to house Stark? I would say yes. I can also see why someone could say no and it's the opposite .

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3 hours ago, Ygrain said:

For those who maintain that Jon was in the wrong: can you please entertain me and answer one question?

Why does Stannis nod at Jon after the execution?

Stannis has not sworn any oaths of the black, they mean nothing to him.  He also is on record for not liking Slynt, Stannis probably would have nodded had Slynt lost his head when Arryn wanted him replaced. 

9 hours ago, teej6 said:

 

As for the rest of your post, sufficient counterarguments with textual evidence has been provided and I think it is unnecessary to rehash them again. 

Come on, we both know that is not true, most of the arguments from one side have been along the lines of "you only think that because you hate Jon". 

The text is pretty clear on Jon's motivation and it is not for the insubordination, it is for what Jon fears Slynt may do in the future. He is also clear that he can not bring himself to think of him as a brother so he does not treat him like so.

7 hours ago, Chris Mormont said:

Jon gave him overnight to reconsider.

He never told him his life was on the line. As soon as he does he recants.

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  And Slynt isn't that stupid, he was already victim of an unfair punishment, and he was in Kings Landing long enough to know, when a superior gives you an order, you follow. 

Except given his reaction to the death penalty he clearly did not know that was the sentence and given the first two punishments  that  come  to Jon's mind then we can safely  deduct death is not the norm. 

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I will concede that Jon should have been punished more harshly for attacking Thorne,

maybe, maybe not. The Watch is dealing with a majority  who don't  want  to be there, going to harsh with punishments could lead to trouble later down the line

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Slynt was a cancer, regardless if he begged or not, he would always be.

yeah, not many people are really arguing differently. it is not really the point of the debate

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  Sometimes you need to cut out the cancer to save the body.

given that Jon is later murdered by allies of Slynt it is hard to argue he did that. 

Edited by Bernie Mac

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On July 17, 2018 at 11:29 AM, cyberdirectorfreedom said:

agree that this isn't the best punishment, but it's hardly inevitable that he'd desert. All men know the price for desertion is execution. Still, it'd leave him seething, serving as the cook (he also mightn't be able to cook, so that's another downside), so it's not what I'd recommend.

True. Slynt(even with a tongue) could not actually convince many if anyone to actually desert given doing so would have them immediately hunted and killed-quite literally staying at the grey guard is the only really viable option they have that involves living-it's near close to winter and a castle is the best shelter they're liable to get-Taking Slynt's tongue however although would can be seen as a practical(the most important thing to consider here)  and just punishment for his insubordination; even if he tried to persuade people he'd fail 100% of time given no one besides Slynt who could read would  be at castle. 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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3 hours ago, Vhagar's Ghost said:

Oh come on. Slynt deserved it, glad Jon did it, he was an annoying cunt. Good job Jon.

People find Sansa and Penny annoying.   Do you think they deserve to die?  It's not good job Jon.  It's now you've really broken the Night's watch Jon.

 

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17 minutes ago, Sire de Maletroit said:

People find Sansa and Penny annoying.   Do you think they deserve to die?  It's not good job Jon.  It's now you've really broken the Night's watch Jon.

 

Sansa and Penny didn't go ahead and slaughter innocent babies. Or betray and kill Ned who was just trying to do the right thing. Jon's big mistake was trying to rally men to fight Ramsay.

Edited by Vhagar's Ghost

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58 minutes ago, Vhagar's Ghost said:

Sansa and Penny didn't go ahead and slaughter innocent babies. Or betray and kill Ned who was just trying to do the right thing. Jon's big mistake was trying to rally men to fight Ramsay.

Hey now I thought you wanted Slynt to follow orders.

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On 7/14/2018 at 2:25 AM, Bernie Mac said:

We know that brothers broke their vows constantly  under Mormont, he looked the other way and gave chances and would explain his decisions to them in private, unless he was offering Jon preferential treatment when he spoke to him in private. 

Jon, who is literally fantasizing about chopping Slynt's head off that very morning, is trying to isolate Slynt and giving him a shit position based to rid himself off him. 

Jon was looking for an excuse to murder someone, as far as we know Mormont has never been in the same position. 

This is a false equivalency. If Mormont had executed Watchers for things like going to Mole Town and sleeping with women, he'd likely be killed in his sleep. If he did not execute someone for what Slynt did, he would lose his command, if not in title in practical matters.

Did Jon do it even mostly out of a sense of duty? No, but he did do it for political reasons (which as a benefit he got to enjoy) and he was right to do so. He is a fresh Lord Commander who is very young, very inexperienced, and some think his oath no longer means anything. He must do this.

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7 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

I can answer that, it's too easy! 

Stannis likes Jon + this is a Jon hate thread = Stannis is [almost] as bad and as wrong and as unfair as Jon! ::lol:

ETA: and fuck a duck w/ a barge pole if a couple of posts down you got exactly that reply! 

Not complaining, but the rabid haters make it so bloody easy! :rolleyes:

 

7 hours ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

Stannis is a poor choice to use as your example of fair and just.  He burned his own men, loyal men who followed his war campaign for eating the dead out of desperation.  A desperation he put them in.  He led them to war and he failed to provide them with food.  

Wow. Just wow. You really pick this one on Stannis?

4 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Stannis has not sworn any oaths of the black, they mean nothing to him. 

What does this have to do with anything? Since when do you have to be a member of an organisation to be able to assess if they behave justly or not?

4 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

 He also is on record for not liking Slynt, Stannis probably would have nodded had Slynt lost his head when Arryn wanted him replaced. 

Might I remind you that Stannis is generally considered a just man?

4 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

He never told him his life was on the line. As soon as he does he recants.

And would have hated Jon even more for humiliating him in public and be hellbent on finding a way to take his revenge on Jon. Such characters always do.

4 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Except given his reaction to the death penalty he clearly did not know that was the sentence and given the first two punishments  that  come  to Jon's mind then we can safely  deduct death is not the norm. 

Wrong. He is not ignorant about the ways of the world, he only thinks himself untouchable. That's why he doesn't argue "that's unjust" but "you wouldn't dare".

4 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

given that Jon is later murdered by allies of Slynt it is hard to argue he did that. 

Wrong again. Jon is murdered because some members of the Watch are too rigid in their perception of what the Watch should be doing and are unable to grasp that the old times are over and old ways won't suffice. That's why Jon is stabbed "for the Watch", not "here you go, you bastard", and Bowen Marsh is crying.

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8 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Insubordination is failing to stand to attention or salute an officer, refusing to address them as "sir".  The idea that this is merely insubordination is fairly ludicrous as is trying to translate the sort of punishments we might mete out for insubordination in 21st century western armies into a feudal Westeros.  The Westerosi mindset is different and Slynt knew the system and has the mindset, he just thought his court connections made him immune.  Slynt is not punished for disobedience alone but for the shocking manner of it.

Let's stick with the correct word: mutiny. Because labelling it as insubordination really evokes the wrong image.

 

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2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

 Let's stick with the correct word: mutiny. Because labelling it as insubordination really evokes the wrong image.

  

Let's stick with insubordination, because the word mutiny is describing what happens when Jon dies, so we would have to call what Bowen did an EXTREME SUPER MUTINY.

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On 7/18/2018 at 4:15 AM, kissdbyfire said:

Erhm. I said it, black on white. Not surprised w/ the question though, so I'll repeat myself:

the laughable insanity that is this thread

Love the tone. Maybe I should rephrase: what's laughable or insane about this thread? People have different opinions than you do? Madness. The only thing laughable about this thread is your way of dealing with people with different opinions. Your mockery and your self-righteous, arrogant superiority only serve to lessen your own position. This is supposed to be a civil discussion, and the only thing you choose to offer is snide remarks and insults. Laughable indeed.

On 7/18/2018 at 4:19 AM, White Ravens said:

Jon isn't a judge, he's the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch in a brutal medeival-type society.

Of course he's a judge. He's the proverbial Judge, Jury and Executioner. Part and parcel with being a Lord.

On 7/18/2018 at 4:19 AM, White Ravens said:

Allowing a mutinous faction to exist in his ranks would weaken the Wall's defenses. 

Never said he should allow Slynt's behaviour.

On 7/18/2018 at 4:19 AM, White Ravens said:

I've seen quite a few posts stating that Jon should have imprisoned Slynt rather than lop his head off but on the Wall that is a death sentence as well...

Except Jon didn't die in the ice cells. So, it's not necessarily a death sentence, if they're released.

On 7/18/2018 at 4:47 AM, Ygrain said:

Had his defiance gone without a response that would put a stop to it once and for all, it would have led to the creation of a faction that would split and cripple the Watch at a critical time,

It certainly needed to be addressed. Publicly whipping Slynt and parting him from Thorne would've put a stop to Slynt's nonsense. Death was hardly necessary.

On 7/18/2018 at 9:17 AM, teej6 said:

I feel if @the trees have eyes very thorough, thoughtful and clear description of events of the Slynt execution can’t convince the “Slynt was unjustly killed” camp, I doubt any argument is going to.

I could say the reverse. There have been some thorough, thoughtful and clear description of the events which lead to Slynt's execution that infer it was emotionally charged. If those arguments can't convince the "Slynt's death was necessary" camp, I doubt any argument is going to.

I daresay that few of us are on the fence about this topic. That doesn't mean it's not worth discussing. For most of us, we don't feel the way we do because we've missed something. There's nothing to point out that make someone think "oh, I hadn't thought of that", because we have, on both sides of the discussion. We know the text, we've just interpreted it differently. There may be some people on the fence, however, who perhaps hadn't thought of some interpretation, or have forgotten some fact, and these discussions could serve them well, to have differing opinions calmly discussed, to be able to decide which interpretation they favour. I'm sure that most of us discussing this passionately have thought of both interpretations, and others, but have come to the conclusion that one is right. You're not going to wow someone with something they've already considered.

On 7/18/2018 at 9:34 AM, kissdbyfire said:

What would have been, in-universe, a suitable punishment for Slynt? How many more chances should Jon have given him?

Having him whipped, imprisoned in the ice cells for a time or having his tongue out are a few examples. And just this one chance.

18 hours ago, Unacosamedarisa said:

I don't know why anyone would look for justice in the medieval penal battalion in the first place. 

The Wall is overseen by a Lord, and justice is one of the duties of a Lord.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Had the Greatjon been Slynt he would have responded to Robb's warning-cum-way-out of "perhaps you only meant to cut my meat" by repeating his threats the following day.

Perhaps the difference is that the Greatjon's "punishment" was immediate, whereas Slynt's wasn't. Post-punishment, it seems both men would've followed orders, only Slynt's punishment was death.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

She has no basis whatsoever to demand this from them or demand their lives.  

I'm sure you see the difference so I don't really see what your point is.

Yet she is demanding it, and I'm sure she expects them to obey her. Of course I see the difference, but it's the closest possible situations she's been in (except, perhaps, with Jorah's exile, in which he's quite insubordinate and mouthy, but to which she chooses to send him away (though that's out of emotion, of course, so it hardly applies to thoughts of impartiality)), and she doesn't react at all in the way you are suggesting. That's my point.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

And why do you think only an idiot would execute someone for this kind of repeated and open defiance in contradiction of their oaths?

When did I say only an idiot would do so? In fact, I think I made it quite clear that I think it's entirely possible that someone who is not an idiot would make such a decision. I'm going to quote myself here:

On 7/18/2018 at 3:59 AM, cyberdirectorfreedom said:

He's either emotional, or he's a fool. I don't think Jon's a fool, and it's perfectly understandable that he'd be emotional.

So I obviously don't think that only an idiot would take such action. Also, to call Slynt's actions "repeated" defiance is a bit of a stretch. This is the first offence. Both refusals - the one the night before and the one on the day of his death - were the same offense, refusing the same order. He hasn't shown that he can never be trusted or made to be of use, just that he'll need some punishment.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

If the man has committed a capital offence and there is no reasonable chance he will refrain from repeating such behaviour then it's fairly straightforward.

Firstly, it's not necessarily a capital offense. Other options of punishment are available. Secondly, there's no reason to assume he can't be made to not do so again. Jon hasn't tried to punish him even once, to see how he'd react in future. It's all supposition, with no backing. He showed that he wouldn't obey this one order without punishment, but that doesn't mean that he could never be made to fall in line.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Like I said before, his reasoning is solid whether you agree with it or not.

How so? Because you agree with it? You seem to be suggesting that because Jon made this reasoning, that it must be sound reasoning. Is it not possible he could be wrong? I'd say so. In fact, I say it's trivially easy to push holes in some of his reasoning, especially the idea that Slynty (accidentally made that typo there, but I kind of like it, so I'm keeping Slynty in, here) would continue plotting with Thorne immediately on release from prison; this is despite the fact that part of the reason for sending Slynt to Greyguard is to part the two of them. That's a direct contradiction. Not at all solid reasoning.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Your argument seems to rest on the idea that Slynt can be useful so should be reformed and rehabilitated in some way, hence the hoops you jump through to find some alternative punishment for Slynt and some "useful tasks" for him to perform afterwards.

Jump through hoops? It's not jumping through hoops to not choose a last resort first.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Slynt doesn't have to be given Greyguard?  Perhaps every member of the NW should only be "asked" to do what they want to.  Come on.....

Not even a close to what I was saying. What I said was that if Jon were to choose to remove Slynt's tongue, that having him command Greyguard would be more difficult, so if Jon were to choose to punish him in that way, he'd also need to choose to do something else with Slynt. Never did I say that Slynt should be free to choose what he does, nor that anyone else should. Come on...

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

It's disingenuous to pretend Jon did not try and make use of him and that Slynt did not shoot that down himself. :dunno:

Never said he didn't try, just that he abandoned that attempt almost immediately, at the first opportunity. It's disingenuous to pretend I've said otherwise.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

The Watch needs every man assumes the men of the Watch will follow orders and obey the Lord Commander they are sworn to obey.

Slynt thought he was in a superior position. He was wrong, obviously. If he was shown this, there's no reason to assume he wouldn't become sufficiently obedient. There is, in fact, reason to believe that he would become obedient, as his final words clearly show. That was when he came to the conclusion that his position was weaker than he thought, and he espouses obedience. Of course, Jon couldn't know this before choosing to kill him, so that's hardly marks against him, but it's still worth noting.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Why, I don't know, but it's not a hard puzzle to unpick: he tells us why he executes him.

Sure, but is that the whole reason? Perhaps not.

Hypothetical: During the day, Jon thinks to himself that it's cold (or perhaps he doesn't even bother, it's always quite cold at the Wall). Later in the day, he needs to go outside. He walks to the pegs on which he keeps his cloaks. He has two cloaks. Which of the following do you think is a more likely:

""This cloak is clean enough," Jon thought, pulling the cloak around himself and stepping out the door."

Or:

""This cloak is clean enough," Jon thought, "and it's also quite cold, so I need a cloak." He pulled the cloak around himself, and stepped out the door."

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm leaning strongly towards the first one. The cold is an obvious potential reason to desire a cloak, especially if he'd been thinking of it earlier. This hypothetical is, of course, rather petty, and perhaps Jon's desire for vengeance isn't quite so patently obvious as "people wear cloaks because it's cold", but the point remains that it something doesn't need to be said during a decision for it to be a reason said decision was made.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

So you are arguing that Stannis's nod of approval is because Jon executed a man Stannis did not like?

I'm certainly saying it's possible.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

You don't think his nod of approval is for Jon dealing with a mutinous subordinate denying his right to give him orders?  You really don't think Stannis's gesture has anything at all to say about how the newly elected Lord Commander has just dealt with a serious and public denial of his authority?  Or that this gives any insight into how Stannis himself would have dealt with such a challenge?

Be honest now.

11 hours ago, Ygrain said:

For those who maintain that Jon was in the wrong: can you please entertain me and answer one question?

Why does Stannis nod at Jon after the execution?

Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Stannis was even present when Slynt openly defied Jon. If he was out in the yard, drawn by the commotion, as I think he was, he'd only have seen Slynt mouthing off about not being intimidated by Jon and such. I'm sure a lot of people go to their death mouthing off about their executioner.

So, for reasons that Stannis nodded, there are plenty. One, as I mentioned earlier, is that Stannis often seems to be a bit petty, and he obviously wants Slynt dead. Another is that he might be approving of the fact that Jon didn't allow Slynt's "connections and friends" to overpower him, and that he made a decision of his own, regardless of how it might be taken in King's Landing, or by Slynt's friends. Do what you think is right, regardless of the potential backlash. Sounds like Stannis.

There are other reasons. He could have just been reassuring Jon that he wouldn't involve himself, regardless of how he feels. Jon's men are his to deal with. Hell, it could've just been a greeting. People often nod at each other as a greeting (this seems unlikely, but not impossible). Perhaps he was agreeing that Jon was right. But does that make it right? Stannis is known to be just, though quite harsh.

"My father always said you were a just man." Just but harsh had been Lord Eddard's exact words, but Jon did not think it would be wise to share that.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Then Robb told him he could do so, they would fight the war without him and return and hang him for a traitor. 

This makes it perfectly clear that refusing to obey your Liege's orders is punishable by death and that it is commonly understood so in Westeros.

The Greatjon's reaction shows how reasonable he thought Robb was being. It enraged him. At the point Robb would be warring against the Greatjon, he'd have just previously warred against the Crown, which is, of course, illegal. Robb is obviously willing to go outside the law, so who knows if it'd actually be lawful. You'll notice that Hoster Tully didn't have Walder Frey killed for arriving at the Trident too late (thereby disobeying his Liege, surely). It's not so cut and dried as all that.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

I know some people seem to like a good debate about whether water is wet but come on.

And I'm sure that you can't be the one who holds the position that water is dry. No, you are right, and I am wrong, is that how it is? The situation is murkier than you're making it out to be.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Here's the definition of cajole btw

Yeah, I'm completely wrong here. I've always thought that cajole had a threatening connotation. I am, evidently, wrong. I used the word to mean a somewhat lighter form of threatening or intimidating. It... simply doesn't mean that. I feel like quite the ass. I guess replace "cajole" with "intimidate", and I'm saying what I actually mean. Damn.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Stop pretending this is some petty act of insubordination, we can't have any kind of sensible discussion if you whitewash Slynt and act like you can't believe your eyes at what happened.

I've never said it was petty. It warranted some severe punishment, something that I've not disputed once. I'm not whitewashing anything, not trying to hide his crimes. What Slynt did was stupid and dangerous, and it necessitated action. It did not necessitate his death, however.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

No one protests the decision.

No? It obviously shocked Slynt. Ser Alliser and Bowen Marsh obviously don't approve. The decision almost caused a small war when it was made. 

Janos Slynt's face went as white as milk. The spoon slipped from his fingers. Edd and Emmett crossed the room, their footsteps ringing on the stone floor. Bowen Marsh's mouth opened and closed though no words came out. Ser Alliser Thorne reached for his sword hilt.

Half the men in the hall were on their feet. Southron knights and men-at-arms, loyal to King Stannis or the red woman or both, and Sworn Brothers of the Night's Watch. Some had chosen Jon to be their lord commander. Others had cast their stones for Bowen Marsh, Ser Denys Mallister, Cotter Pyke … and some for Janos Slynt. Hundreds of them, as I recall. Jon wondered how many of those men were in the cellar right now. For a moment the world balanced on a sword's edge.

Then Ser Alliser stepped aside, everything calmed down. But it certainly looks to me that the decision caused a lot of tension.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

I think your strange ability to see the loyal and useful brother lurking in poor Janos Slynt's misunderstood breast to be puzzling.

I find your inability to see it to be just as puzzling. The vast majority of the brother's of the Watch, loyal and useful, one and all, are scum the likes of which you'd not choose to associate, should you be able to avoid it. Rapists, thieves, killers, traitors, jaywalkers, you name it, the Wall has it. The filthy animal who raped all of those septas, and branded himself for each one so he wouldn't forget any of them, for instance. There's some filth on the Wall that make Slynt look like a saint. Yet they can obey. They can be trusted (enough). We have no idea what they'd have been like at the beginning, but I don't imagine they'd have been quite so servile as they are now.

Slynt could be just as loyal, or more, given time to properly adjust to his new situation. With a more lenient Lord Commander, like those others had. Eventually, just like petulant children who didn't like that their parents didn't let them do whatever they pleased can grow to appreciate their parents, Slynt might even come to be thankful for Jon. We'll never know.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Any man will change his tune when the sentence of death has been passed and he is literally on the chopping block.

Not any man. Some will go to their deaths spitting their defiance. Karstark, for instance.

""Would you speak a final word?"

"Kill me, and be cursed. You are no king of mine."

The axe crashed down."

He'd never have changed, never repented, and was being punished for a crime already committed that couldn't be taken back. Worse than Slynt's actions on the Wall, and yet defiant to the end.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

If you think this lasts beyond the moments of mortal danger and the lingering shock I think you are plain wrong. 

To turn back at that point would have been the height of foolishness, I'll say that. He'd forever have been seen as too weak to follow through. Regardless of whether or not it made Slynt fall in line, it'd show that doing what Slynt did will be scarcely punished. Bit of fear, repentance, acceptance. That'd never do. That said, there are ways of putting the fear of death in someone without actually being moments from killing them. That's what Jon should've done, and we can see it would've worked. 

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

The Greatjon was loyal before his outburst and loyal after.  Slynt was disloyal before and would be disloyal after.

Surely he wasn't completely loyal before his outburst, or he'd have just followed orders. As you are saying Slynt should have.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Don't make me laugh.  He served Robert Barratheon and Stannis would have had him executed for corruption and theft if Slynt had not been able to murder the witnesses against him.  He backed the Lannisters after Robert's death because LF bribed him to do so.  He was Commander of the Gold Cloaks and has never even set eyes on Harrenhal.

Crimes he shouldn't be judged for, on the Wall. The fact he's never seen Harrenhal is irrelevant, he was still it's Lord, and was treated as such.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

He could have made a fine enough brother of the Night's Watch, given the chance?  Well, perhaps he should have followed orders rather than trying to act like he was the kingpin and untouchable.

Of course he should have. Just as Jon should've reacted more submissively when he found out he was to be a Steward. Jon grew out of that quickly enough. I'm sure there were ways to whip Slynt's attitude out of him. I'd recommend doing so "literally".

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

In all honestly I can't see any objectivity in your assessment of Slynt's character or actions and the whitewashing is becoming particularly grueling to have to put up with.  The idea that the NW was robbed of it's finest brother by the depredations of the vicious Jon Snow is cartoonish and clownish and goes against everything the author shows us of this character.

You declare that I'm not being objective, and then have the audacity to put words in my mouth to skew my viewpoint towards ridiculousness. Nice.

Not once have I claimed that Slynt was the Watch's "finest brother", or that he was in any way a good person. That I haven't completely dismissed his usefulness does not mean that I am trying to alter his character.

"The vicious Jon Snow"? You speak as if I've painted Jon as some distasteful monster, that I've accused him of something so horrendous and out of the ordinary, that no man should ever act like he does. How absurd. His actions are perfectly understandable, they are just wasteful, stupid, and emotionally charged. But you know what? I'd probably do the exact same thing as he did. If someone killed a person I love, and I held their life in my hands, they'd almost certainly die. That hardly makes it the right thing to do.

If Jon was actually supposed to be judging Slynt for those actions, I'd have no issue. But they were supposed to be washed away by taking the Black. Jon couldn't see past Slynt's crimes, and as much as that is perfectly understandable, it's not just. It would take a rare person to be able to truly be impartial, and Jon is not that person. That's all.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Given Jon is a new Lord Commander, unusually young to boot, and has Stannis trying to wring concessions out of him I would argue that the climate at Castle Black is exactly the wrong one to try and publicly defy, ridicule and destroy your Lord Commander's position and that even a dimwit would avoid putting him in the position where he had to face down a challenge.  Seems we disagree over everything.....

There's scarcely a good climate for Slynt's actions. I've never defended his actions, though. Never would.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

This is not a negotiation, Slynt is not indispensable despite your argument (which logically concludes in the abolition of capital punishment in the NW and the return of deserters as "every man is needed"),

That is a logical conclusion, and one that not only I make, but Mormont made too. There's a point where desertion actually becomes desertion. Digging for buried treasure at Mole's Town is fine, midnight rides out from the Wall are fine, should friends return you, but actually leaving is not fine. Of course, a time comes when being lenient isn't possible, but it seems clear that Mormont always made the attempt.

What Slynt did is not at all comparable to murdering another brother or "true" desertion. I do suppose that it could be comparable to Jon's attempted desertion. Borderline capital. Jon could've taken the position of his friends and "brought Slynt back", but he chose not to.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

You don't agree but have offered precious little other than a character transplant to turn Slynt into a model citizen after his damascene conversion on the chopping block.

I've never changed Slynt's character, nor have I made him out to be some model citizen. I've maintained that he could be made to obey, and that he'd be good enough to serve on the Wall. Not some paragon of dutifulness, just decent enough.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Ah, the damascene conversion is all but certain then?  I find that a little too naive to be plausible.  It's far more likely he would find a way to continue plotting.

I'd love to hear how. At Greyguard, away from Ser Alliser, there's little he could do. Perhaps he'd send ravens to Castle Black, addressed to Thorne? Well, Jon could read any mail (not just that which is addressed to Thorne, just in case) coming from the other castles first (which I'm sure he does, anyway, though it'd mostly be addressed to him). Problem solved. Slynt could bluster on about Jon to the men he's assigned. Well, give him men that can be trusted. Problem solved. There's nothing he could do. Please tell me how he could continue plotting. I'd love to hear it.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Promises or obedience secured at sword point are fickle things. 

Yes. They can work, though. Jaime's oaths to Catelyn, for example. He intends to keep them.

Oaths secured at sword point are indeed fickle, no doubt, but oaths enforced by sword point are much more secure. If Slynt stepped out of line after being sent off to do whatever Jon would have him do, post-punishment, he'd know that one more misstep would be his demise. He obviously did not want to die. It stands to reason that he wouldn't provoke what he now knows is a dangerous bear, even if he thought to provoke it when he falsely thought it was a little squirrel.

A threat of death is a powerful thing.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Walder Frey was not Robb Stark's bannerman.  Catelyn undertook a difficult negotiation in order to reach an agreement.  You are equating a free agent in a negotiation with a vassal bound to obey. 

No, he was Tully's bannerman, sworn to serve Lord Hoster and Riverrun. Robb was on his way to break the siege at Riverrun. Lord Walder "should have" jumped at the chance to do assist Robb in this. Instead, he forced a little extra from the situation.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

this critique of Jon for not sufficiently incentivising a subordinate to obey entirely misunderstands the realities of the system and the situation.

Your dismissal of this critique entirely misunderstands the difference between the ideal of the system and it's realities. Ideally, all men should just obey their leader, without question, as they ought to do. In reality, it doesn't quite work that way.

The only difference between what Lord Walder did and what Slynt did is that Walder was actually in a superior position, whereas Slynt mistakenly believed he was. If Robb could've shown Lord Frey that he wasn't in a position to make demands, Walder would quickly have kowtowed to Robb's commands without needing further incentive. All Jon needed to do was show Slynt he was mistaken. I don't approve of what either one of these men did, by the way, that's just the reality of the system.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Mormont did not incentivise Jon into loyalty

I was referring to Longclaw, here. Jon only did what he should have done, when he protected his Lord Commander. Service is it's own reward, so why is good service rewarded? Incentive.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Well this seems the nub of the matter, the idea that Jon needs to find a way to get Janos to do what he wants other than simply ordering him to. 

...

But the idea that a perfectly reasonable order can be disobeyed and the one giving the order should seek the best strategy to persuade or incentivise the subordinate

I know that, ideally, Slynt should just obey, but that's not the reality. It simply isn't. If someone can get something more for doing their duty, they're going to want to.

Persuasion, incentive, or punishment in order to have your subordinates obey. That's not unreasonable. Take Tywin's dealings with the Reyne's and Tarbecks, for instance. Lord Tytos should have smacked them back down, but didn't. By the time Tywin involved himself, they were so sure of themselves that they wouldn't kneel. Despite this, Ser Tywin tried repeatedly to smack them down, to allow them to surrender. Tywin warred against them, and time and again he tried to make them surrender. By the time he killed them all, he'd given them multiple chances and reasons (they were losing the war, for instance) to back down. Contrast this with Jon, who merely told Slynt to obey, and killed him when he wouldn't.

Just because someone gets out of line, that doesn't mean that they need to die. Just smacked back down.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Precisely.  And Janos Slynt absolutely deserved to get "sacked" from the NW.

Right. But you cannot be sacked from the Wall. If being sacked is the same as being executed, where are the other steps? Having you scourged, having you imprisoned, having your tongue out. Do you really think that your boss wouldn't, say, have you whipped (should she be allowed to do so) and then have you put back to work, instead of getting rid of you and needing to find and train another person? That your boss wouldn't think that your offense necessitated more punishment than being suspended or having your pay docked, but that something harsher, but not quite to being sacked, would be reasonable? There is no harsher response but to fire you, so that becomes the only choice. That is not so, for Jon.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

As to equivalence, it's an analogy, :rolleyes:.

Yeah, fair enough. If a one-to-one analogy or metaphor would work, you wouldn't need to bother with the analogy or metaphor at all, considering agreeing with one would automatically have you agree with the other. Unless you're dealing with a hypocrite, I suppose.

11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Sure, it's more difficult to replace someone on the Wall but that doesn't mean the ultimate sanction is not on the table.

Yeah, as a last resort, not the first.

9 hours ago, Vhagar's Ghost said:

Oh come on. Slynt deserved it, glad Jon did it, he was an annoying cunt. Good job Jon.

Being annoying, being a cunt, or even being an annoying cunt are not traditionally punished with death.

8 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

I have to say reading this I thought of Slynt being assighned as a common steward to which is tasked with butchering animal after having his tongue ripped out. It would be gloriously ironic; after all all the evil stuff Slynt did, all his work to rise above his caste,  he ended up right were he started. 

Heh. That would've been something, indeed! I wouldn't recommend it, though. Even among servile positions, that's just salting the wound. Wouldn't be a great decision, though certainly an amusing picture.

8 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Do the oaths House umber have to the Iron throne supercede their oaths to house Stark? I would say yes. I can also see why someone could say no and it's the opposite .

I'd actually say so, too, but the fact is that the Greatjon had already decided he was to support Stark over Crown. If he'd obey, just not behind the Hornwoods or the Cerwyns, he's already put Robb's authority first. That's why I named it a crime. They're all treasonous criminals as far as the Crown is concerned, anyway. I can see both sides, but surely vows to the higher authority come first.

8 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

True. Slynt(even with a tongue) could not actually convince many if anyone to actually desert given doing so would have them immediately hunted and killed-quite literally staying at the grey guard is the only really viable option they have that involves living-it's near close to winter and a castle is the best shelter they're liable to get-

Yeah, I've racked my brain, and I honestly can't come up with any way that Slynt could continue to conspire, after a punishment and going to Greyguard, in any way that matters. I've asked, in this monstrously large post, so hopefully I'll get an answer.

8 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Taking Slynt's tongue however although would can be seen as a practical(the most important thing to consider here)  and just punishment for his insubordination; even if he tried to persuade people he'd fail 100% of time given no one besides Slynt who could read would  be at castle. 

Leading the garrison would be a bit hard, though, seeing as how nobody would be able to figure out his orders, if they're all illiterate. Could be good for a laugh, I suppose, seeing him trying to mime out some orders to his men, but ideally Greyguard would be run well.

5 hours ago, Vhagar's Ghost said:

Sansa and Penny didn't go ahead and slaughter innocent babies.

Nor did Slynt. That particular offense is on Allar Deem, not Janos Slynt. In that televised rubbish, it's Slynt who kills Barra, but not in the books. He orders it, but he's also ordered to order it, by either Cersei or Joffrey. So who's really at fault, here? Deem for going through with it, Slynt for ordering him to do so, or Cersei or Joffrey for wanting it done in the first place? All of them, I suppose, but surely Slynt's role is actually the least egregious, considering he's just a mouthpiece for Cersei or Joffrey in this situation.

3 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Wow. Just wow. You really pick this one on Stannis?

What's wrong with it? I suppose I have no issue with those men being punished, even executed, but executions traditionally aren't conducted by burning someone alive. That's a particularly cruel death.

3 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Let's stick with the correct word: mutiny. Because labelling it as insubordination really evokes the wrong image.

It was mutinous, perhaps, but there was no mutiny. Mutinous insubordination.

 

Wow, that was one hell of a long post. Slightly more than half the page, at present. Damn.

Edited by cyberdirectorfreedom
Long post.

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11 minutes ago, cyberdirectorfreedom said:

Perhaps he was agreeing that Jon was right. But does that make it right? Stannis is known to be just, though quite harsh.

"My father always said you were a just man." Just but harsh had been Lord Eddard's exact words, but Jon did not think it would be wise to share that.

Harsh justice is justice still, i.e. the punishment is not completely out of range for the offence. Meaning, if Slynt's punishment was not only harsh but also unjust, Stannis would have had issues with it.

12 minutes ago, cyberdirectorfreedom said:

What's wrong with it? I suppose I have no issue with those men being punished, even executed, but executions traditionally aren't conducted by burning someone alive. That's a particularly cruel death.

And in our world, people were perfectly fine with burning heretics...

Cannibalism is a huge offence against the societal taboos, a sin against the gods, and Stannis' god is R'hllor. I'd never worship such a god and I think Stannis made a huge mistake by his choice, but he had the men burnt for this reason, not out of innate cruelty or perversion like Aerys used to.

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BTW, I am rather shocked that people think Jon should have had Slynt's tongue removed...

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1 hour ago, cyberdirectorfreedom said:

The Wall is overseen by a Lord, and justice is one of the duties of a Lord.

So, one of Jon's duties then? And he performed his duties, and delivered his brand of Justice. 

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6 hours ago, Vhagar's Ghost said:

Sansa and Penny didn't go ahead and slaughter innocent babies. Or betray and kill Ned who was just trying to do the right thing. Jon's big mistake was trying to rally men to fight Ramsay.

This is true.  But Slynt was ordered by Queen Cersei to do those things.  That might mitigate the immorality of it.  Executing Janos Slynt is not in the same league as rallying the wildlings to attack the citizen he was supposed to protect.   The Slynt thing is a discussion on ethics.  That's my opinion and I shall stick to it.  

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1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Harsh justice is justice still, i.e. the punishment is not completely out of range for the offence.

Harsh justice is justice, yes, but justice is supposed to be blind and meted out impartially. I don't believe that's what happened here.

Sure, Jon may have been "legally" able to do what he did. In theory, a Lord can act how they please, executing people for the least of offenses, should they deem it justice. In practice, they cannot, because there'll be a mutiny. You can abuse your power while still being within your power.

2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Meaning, if Slynt's punishment was not only harsh but also unjust, Stannis would have had issues with it.

I reread these passages, by the way, and found I was right in my other post, in thinking that Stannis wasn't there when Slynt publicly disobeyed him. Stannis came out because he heard the commotion in the yard. So all he would've seen was Slynt's reactions to being executed, not the reason why. It doesn't paint Slynt in the best light, it's true, but I'm sure a lot of people react negatively to their executioners. Stannis wouldn't have any idea whether or not Jon was being just. He didn't see what happened.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Cannibalism is a huge offence against the societal taboos, a sin against the gods, and Stannis' god is R'hllor. I'd never worship such a god and I think Stannis made a huge mistake by his choice, but he had the men burnt for this reason, not out of innate cruelty or perversion like Aerys used to.

Sure, he didn't burn people because he was cruel, but that doesn't make it not cruel. Burning to death is often considered one of the worse ways to go. Shortly behind things like being flayed alive, and it's mostly because it's comparatively quick.

I'm sure if R'hllor was the god of flaying people alive, you wouldn't excuse Stannis flaying people alive "because he's not cruel like Ramsay". Nowhere in Westeros but with Stannis is burning people alive considered justice.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

BTW, I am rather shocked that people think Jon should have had Slynt's tongue removed...

Burning people alive is fine, but having someone's tongue torn out is where you draw the line? Harsh justice is justice still.

Anyway, the reason I suggested it is that it covers all of the reasons that people are saying necessitated Slynt's execution. It prevents him from plotting. It firmly establishes Jon as a no-nonsense Lord Commander, who won't tolerate with this level of mutinous insubordination. It, obviously, punishes Slynt for his remarks. Is it worse than killing him? It might seem to be more harsh, but at least this way, he gets to live, perhaps work his way to some measure of redemption. It also keeps the Watch from losing a man, unless he decides to desert, which is a death sentence anyway.

It wouldn't be my choice, though, as I firmly believe that Slynt would be most useful to the Wall in a leadership position, which would be borderline impossible without a tongue. You'd have to get one of the few people who are literate to translate for him for there to be even a hope that he could lead, which is a bit wasteful, and he couldn't make immediate decisions. There's a reason Ilyn Payne didn't continue leading men.

It would be quite unnecessary, considering there were other ways to put him in line which allowed him to keep all of his abilities.

50 minutes ago, Unacosamedarisa said:

So, one of Jon's duties then? And he performed his duties, and delivered his brand of Justice. 

Yes, it is one of Jon's duties. But he didn't deliver "his brand of justice", because he wasn't being impartial, and justice requires impartiality.

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