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Does Asoiaf Have a True Protagonist? *SPOILERS*

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1 hour ago, Sweet Desire said:

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen. It is known! 

Oh someone has the Dany fan goggles on today!

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2 hours ago, Dofs said:

Well, I remember someone reputable claiming that but I honestly don't remember who or where. It does make sense anyway, considering that the chapter was indeed read to public with Jon hanging Janos. Jon beheading him definitely wasn't something that George planned from the very beginning and he only changed it very late into the writing process. So Sansa's wishes about a hero beheading Janos and Jon doing it is a coincidence. A pretty amazing one though, but a coincidence nevertheless. 

There is rather substantial discussion of the hanging in the pre-aDwD archive

 

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In regards to Jon and maybe Dany there's nothing I can think of that I've disagreed with them on morally and ethically though I'm sure somebody will point out something. Plus they are in positions of strength to be the heroes which discounts your average morally good character like a Sam or Brienne. The thing that tips it towards Jon imo is that he's dealing with the actual threat in the true North while Dany is a bit shortsighted as she's only dealing with Mereen and then probably the Iron Throne. The Others have always been the true enemy and yes Dany will have her part to play but R+L=J is pretty a given and the irony will be that Jon is the rightful king of Westeros yet he will be the only person who has a claim that won't give two shits about it and he's dealing with the real problem. His is the song of ice and fire (because he is ice and fire) but Dany's is too. For me Jon is 1 and Dany is 1A

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I'd say that Jon is the protagonist as he's one of the leading characters and fights the true threat of all of the POV characters.

I think that you're talking about a hero though, which is a more permeable term. I beleive that a hero is a selfless person who faces and overcomes adversity and fights for their ideals. Jon fits these standards well.

Other characters that I consider to be heroes are Robb, Ned, Stannis, Davos, Waymar Royce, Edmure, Blackfish, and Quorin Halfhand. These characters don't get as much "screentime" as Jon though. Not sure about Dany, Sansa, Tyrion, fAegon, or Jaime yet.  

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7 hours ago, Dofs said:

Well, I remember someone reputable claiming that but I honestly don't remember who or where. It does make sense anyway, considering that the chapter was indeed read to public with Jon hanging Janos. Jon beheading him definitely wasn't something that George planned from the very beginning and he only changed it very late into the writing process. So Sansa's wishes about a hero beheading Janos and Jon doing it is a coincidence. A pretty amazing one though, but a coincidence nevertheless. 

Unless a fan or a friend really did suggest the change, I wouldn't say it's a coincidence, but rather that the author hadn't already planned it that way when he wrote that Sansa chapter in Game. 

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AOIAF does have a protagonist.

The series is an argument for moderation between ice and fire. Fire represents passionate intervention, for example Dany's war on slave traders. Ice represents dispassionate calculation, for example the NW's policy with Craster, or the whole of Tywin's political decision making.

The protagonist will be the one who carves the line between both ice and fire that the author most morally agrees with. And that will be Jon, not coincidentally the child with both the ice and fire parents.

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Jon is not going to a protagonist.  He already betrayed the Nightswatch and broke his oaths.  The author just might increase the drama and the tragedy to push Jon over the edge to the Others.  Jon got his cock bitten off by prophecy.  He committed an injustice and let Mance Rayder go unpunished for his crimes so he can send him to get Arya.  Or who he believed is Arya.  He broke his vows and interfered with the game of thrones.  Jon would have made an even bigger mess if not for Bowen Marsh and the loyal men of the watch stopping him.  Jon is not a protagonist.  He was a very conflicted man who finally crossed the line and got what was coming to him from Bowen Marsh.

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11 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Unless a fan or a friend really did suggest the change, I wouldn't say it's a coincidence, but rather that the author hadn't already planned it that way when he wrote that Sansa chapter in Game. 

A couple of posts above is the link to the pre-aDwD archive for the relevant chapter. Slynt was originally hanged .

Here is the first post to mention it has been changed

Edited by HelenaExMachina

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26 minutes ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Jon is not going to a protagonist.  He already betrayed the Nightswatch and broke his oaths.  The author just might increase the drama and the tragedy to push Jon over the edge to the Others.  Jon got his cock bitten off by prophecy.  He committed an injustice and let Mance Rayder go unpunished for his crimes so he can send him to get Arya.  Or who he believed is Arya.  He broke his vows and interfered with the game of thrones.  Jon would have made an even bigger mess if not for Bowen Marsh and the loyal men of the watch stopping him.  Jon is not a protagonist.  He was a very conflicted man who finally crossed the line and got what was coming to him from Bowen Marsh.

How so? If we look at the Night's Watch vows you'd be hard pressed to find which part of his vows he actually broke. 

Quote

"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."

Doesn't seem like he broke any of those. So now that we established that he's stayed true to the silly by modern standards in universe rules, let's judge him by modern standards. He's doing the right thing by sending someone to go and get who he thinks is his sister, a little girl from a traitorous house and a husband who is a flayer, torturer and a raper. After all he is the shield that guards the realms of men. The game of thrones is not some noble practice either. So I have to ask are you looking at his situation from an in universe perspective or a modern perspective? Because if you look at it from a modern perspective there is no way that you can fault him for anything he's done when it comes to the Night's Watch.

Bowen Marsh and the 'loyal men' are the traitors in this situation when it looking at it from both perspectives. You don't stab your Lord Commander or boss just because you disagree with his commands. Otherwise you get rightfully reprimanded. Bowen Marsh is not in the right here. And if he happens to get executed it will be more than justified.

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3 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

A couple of posts above is the link to the pre-aDwD archive for the relevant chapter. Slynt was originally hanged .

Here is the first post to mention it has been changed

Yeah, I saw the change, I just don't see where a fan suggested the change. Is there an SSM or a first hand account to support that claim? 

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11 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

The protagonist will be the one who carves the line between both ice and fire that the author most morally agrees with. And that will be Jon, not coincidentally the child with both the ice and fire parents.

 

5 hours ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Jon is not going to a protagonist.  He already betrayed the Nightswatch and broke his oaths.  

 

4 hours ago, flaydagawd said:

 If we look at the Night's Watch vows you'd be hard pressed to find which part of his vows he actually broke. 

Well, win no glory and wear no crowns means don't get involved in the wars of the realm, don't defend political prisoners or exiles like arya & stannis, don't come to winterfell's aid.

So he is in violation, and he does need to be clean of it if he's to be carried on the shoulders of the people to be made king. 

So, what I'm freshly wondering is what if Jon's body really is done and dead?  No unlikely miracles of flesh regeneration, no Dondarrion problems of being the undead.  What if he comes back, but with a different living body.  Not the damn wolf, a human body, so the legal problems wouldn't follow him into his new life.  Lord commander no more.  A champion's body.  Like, say, Hodor's. 

 Could be tied in significantly with the ending of the Dunk & Egg stories.  Some sort of coming full circle deal, like.... uhhhhh.... the Egg immolations mess didn't really fail, it empowered the Dunk bloodline to provide this champion vessel for Jon.  

.....(in Ellen Degeneris voice):  ..."Anyway....."

Edited by The Mother of The Others

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5 hours ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Jon is not going to a protagonist.  He already betrayed the Nightswatch and broke his oaths.  The author just might increase the drama and the tragedy to push Jon over the edge to the Others.  Jon got his cock bitten off by prophecy.  He committed an injustice and let Mance Rayder go unpunished for his crimes so he can send him to get Arya.  Or who he believed is Arya.  He broke his vows and interfered with the game of thrones.  Jon would have made an even bigger mess if not for Bowen Marsh and the loyal men of the watch stopping him.  Jon is not a protagonist.  He was a very conflicted man who finally crossed the line and got what was coming to him from Bowen Marsh.

Yup.  Jon's been destructive to the Watch so far.  Sending Mance and his wildling women to get fArya brought the wrath of the Boltons down on the Watch.  Jon might become one of the protagonists later on but he is absolutely not the True Protagonist.  I believe the distinction of True Protagonist belongs to Daenerys Targaryen.  Like I said, it doesn't mean Jon won't see the light later and gain a little bit of honor later on but so far he has not been a protagonist.  He doesn't intend to be the antagonist but his general poor judgment and his queer attachment to Arya make his decisions harmful to the fight against the Others.   He has a history of putting the Starks ahead of his duties.  Jon is not who we want as a leader.  

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1 hour ago, The Mother of The Others said:

 

 

Well, win no glory and wear no crowns means don't get involved in the wars of the realm, don't defend political prisoners or exiles like arya & stannis, don't come to winterfell's aid.

So he is in violation, and he does need to be clean of it if he's to be carried on the shoulders of the people to be made king. 

So, what I'm freshly wondering is what if Jon's body really is done and dead?  No unlikely miracles of flesh regeneration, no Dondarrion problems of being the undead.  What if he comes back, but with a different living body.  Not the damn wolf, a human body, so the legal problems wouldn't follow him into his new life.  Lord commander no more.  A champion's body.  Like, say, Hodor's.

I'd say that part is more vague and open to interpretation. Like the characters do a lot of interpreting themselves and they act like their interpretation is what binds them but 'win no glory and wear no crowns' can simply mean winning no glory (whatever that means; I suppose competing in tournies because you're literally winning glory) and wearing no crowns (don't become king because kings require a coronation which involves being crowned). They'll have their own interpretation but really only the literal parts of the vow can be upheld. Otherwise if the whole vow is figurative then people can just add as many rules as they want can't they? (which would be terrible and it's a good thing that isn't the case) Hell, the things you've just mentioned can fall under Jon being 'the shield that guards the realms of men'. Arya and Stannis (when did he 'break' his vow regarding Stannis?) are within the realms of men, Winterfell is within the realms of men. Jon wouldn't be wrong because his vow actually says nothing about NOT helping out and in fact he is upholding his vow. And if whoever runs the Watch (which IS Jon) has a problem with certain things being done that they feel is against the vow then the vow should be updated shouldn't it?

 

Looking at it from a reader who lives in the real world perspective how can we fault Jon for his actions? 

 

1. He's doing a morally good thing trying to save his 'sister'

2. You could look at it like he is upholding his vow being 'the shield that guards the realms of men'

3. The vow while sounding cool and sacred is silly anyway.

 

I mean as the author I think GRRM has tried to write his 'heroish' protagonists as the most morally impregnable in OUR eyes. Not the eyes on the in universe people as we've seen that they can and are unreliable as hell when it comes to their judgement. Which means Jon, Dany, possibly Tyrion although he's been shaky since Dance are probably the 3 most 'heroish' characters. IMO

 

Anyway in regards to the last part about Jon's body, who could he warg/resurrect into that would make sense? Hodor probably won't happen and I along a lot of others I assume wouldn't want it to happen. Death will most probably pay for life here. Melisandre will be involved. Jon gets his old body who the hell wants to see him interact with Dany, Arya, Bran, Sansa, Tyrion and whoever when he sees them in somebody else's body? Plus the legal problems won't be problems because his watch ended when he literally died as per his vow.

Edited by flaydagawd

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25 minutes ago, flaydagawd said:

Looking at it from a reader who lives in the real world perspective how can we fault Jon for his actions? 

We tend not to.  Much of the above sounded like a wishful perspective, though, the wishes of the readership.    As for the real, The fictional world is Jon's real one,  we must remember.   In it, he lives bound in a warrior culture who would know that 'win no glory' applies to the wars of the realm.  It would not be interpretive from their perspective, it would be the established meaning of the phrase.    The "shield" (the Watch) stands apart from the realms of men, facing outward.  They leave it to the king to guard the realm in the way you want Jon to.  The king is simply failing bigtime in this story.  Their charter does not include a line like "defend the realm against enemies foreign and domestic."  Their job is to shield Man from outside threats.  Other threats.   Now maybe what we're seeing in progress  is the revising of their vows to include domestic threats like crappy kings.   But in the real, Jon remains in violation at this moment, because the changes haven't gone through into law yet.   

The Hodor idea is just something I'm throwing out there as a way to keep the magics a bit more limited than full on resurrection, which even R'hllor doesn't seem capable of thus far, while also bringing Jon an obvious supernatural event  he could use to rally support, the way Azor Ahai probably showed signs of OMG magic that made his name so long ago.  It'd be a jarring change for his character which people haven't requested and which many would find objectionable, yes.   But Westeros is not about getting what we want.  It's a series of unfortunate events that has us spellbound.  This could be the next one is all I'm saying.

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1 hour ago, The Mother of The Others said:

We tend not to.  Much of the above sounded like a wishful perspective, though, the wishes of the readership.    As for the real, The fictional world is Jon's real one,  we must remember.   In it, he lives bound in a warrior culture who would know that 'win no glory' applies to the wars of the realm.  It would not be interpretive from their perspective, it would be the established meaning of the phrase.    The "shield" (the Watch) stands apart from the realms of men, facing outward.  They leave it to the king to guard the realm in the way you want Jon to.  The king is simply failing bigtime in this story.  Their charter does not include a line like "defend the realm against enemies foreign and domestic."  Their job is to shield Man from outside threats.  Other threats.   Now maybe what we're seeing in progress  is the revising of their vows to include domestic threats like crappy kings.   But in the real, Jon remains in violation at this moment, because the changes haven't gone through into law yet.   

The Hodor idea is just something I'm throwing out there as a way to keep the magics a bit more limited than full on resurrection, which even R'hllor doesn't seem capable of thus far, while also bringing Jon an obvious supernatural event  he could use to rally support, the way Azor Ahai probably showed signs of OMG magic that made his name so long ago.  It'd be a jarring change for his character which people haven't requested and which many would find objectionable, yes.   But Westeros is not about getting what we want.  It's a series of unfortunate events that has us spellbound.  This could be the next one is all I'm saying.

I suppose you're right. 

The warrior culture in Westeros is very rigid and wouldn't look at the vow the way a reader like myself did. Perhaps when the story finishes (if it ever does) the Westerosi society will look back and think how progressive Jon was. I feel it could be heading towards that after they deal with the Long Night and everything or even during. Maybe they'll even absolve Jaime for killing an obviously insane, bloodthirsty king. Anyway who's your true protagonist?

" R'hllor doesn't seem capable of thus far" But wasn't Beric resurrected by Thoros a few times? And Stoneheart later resurrected by Beric giving way with his life? Magic is limited but it's becoming a big part of the story more and more and GRRM doesn't have a problem of using it sparingly. With Mel...and Shireen being at The Wall everything is already in place for Jon to jump right back up. But it's not gonna be rosy of course. Jon will have to deal with the moral dilemma of Shireen (possibly) being forcefully sacrificed so he could come back. He certainly will have to deal with Mel in a manner that doesn't want to along with the traitors in the Watch all of which will scar him mentally, a trope that is certainly an ASOIAF specialty. Again, there's nobody that's close enough that makes sense for him to warg into. Tormund? Edd? Ser Alliser?  

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6 hours ago, flaydagawd said:

I'd say that part is more vague and open to interpretation. Like the characters do a lot of interpreting themselves and they act like their interpretation is what binds them but 'win no glory and wear no crowns' can simply mean winning no glory (whatever that means; I suppose competing in tournies because you're literally winning glory) and wearing no crowns (don't become king because kings require a coronation which involves being crowned). They'll have their own interpretation but really only the literal parts of the vow can be upheld. Otherwise if the whole vow is figurative then people can just add as many rules as they want can't they? (which would be terrible and it's a good thing that isn't the case) Hell, the things you've just mentioned can fall under Jon being 'the shield that guards the realms of men'. Arya and Stannis (when did he 'break' his vow regarding Stannis?) are within the realms of men, Winterfell is within the realms of men. Jon wouldn't be wrong because his vow actually says nothing about NOT helping out and in fact he is upholding his vow. And if whoever runs the Watch (which IS Jon) has a problem with certain things being done that they feel is against the vow then the vow should be updated shouldn't it?

 

Looking at it from a reader who lives in the real world perspective how can we fault Jon for his actions? 

 

1. He's doing a morally good thing trying to save his 'sister'

2. You could look at it like he is upholding his vow being 'the shield that guards the realms of men'

3. The vow while sounding cool and sacred is silly anyway.

 

I mean as the author I think GRRM has tried to write his 'heroish' protagonists as the most morally impregnable in OUR eyes. Not the eyes on the in universe people as we've seen that they can and are unreliable as hell when it comes to their judgement. Which means Jon, Dany, possibly Tyrion although he's been shaky since Dance are probably the 3 most 'heroish' characters. IMO

 

Anyway in regards to the last part about Jon's body, who could he warg/resurrect into that would make sense? Hodor probably won't happen and I along a lot of others I assume wouldn't want it to happen. Death will most probably pay for life here. Melisandre will be involved. Jon gets his old body who the hell wants to see him interact with Dany, Arya, Bran, Sansa, Tyrion and whoever when he sees them in somebody else's body? Plus the legal problems won't be problems because his watch ended when he literally died as per his vow.

Oh yes we can fault Jon for his actions.  Jon deserted as early as GoT.  He would have lost his head and deservedly so where it not for the courage of the other boys who dragged him back.  We have it on Jon's own POV that what he was doing is treason.   Bowen did the right thing when he stabbed Jon to stop the wildling raid on the Boltons.

The NW vows are not silly.  It's what kept the order together for thousands of years.  The watch has no enemies in the south and that is why their castles are not walled nor defended from the south.  Remaining neutral is crucial to the survival of the watch and fulfilling their mission of protecting all.  The watch does not get to choose who to support among the factions in Westeros.  They protect all.  Even the Boltons.  Jon's personal feelings is unimportant in the larger scheme of things.  Jon started a fight with Ramsay when he sent his man to take Arya away.  

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14 hours ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Jon is not going to a protagonist.  He already betrayed the Nightswatch and broke his oaths.  The author just might increase the drama and the tragedy to push Jon over the edge to the Others.  Jon got his cock bitten off by prophecy.  He committed an injustice and let Mance Rayder go unpunished for his crimes so he can send him to get Arya.  Or who he believed is Arya.  He broke his vows and interfered with the game of thrones.  Jon would have made an even bigger mess if not for Bowen Marsh and the loyal men of the watch stopping him.  Jon is not a protagonist.  He was a very conflicted man who finally crossed the line and got what was coming to him from Bowen Marsh.

 

1 hour ago, Enuma Elish said:

 Bowen did the right thing when he stabbed Jon to stop the wildling raid on the Boltons.

The NW vows are not silly.  It's what kept the order together for thousands of years.  The watch has no enemies in the south and that is why their castles are not walled nor defended from the south.  Remaining neutral is crucial to the survival of the watch and fulfilling their mission of protecting all.  The watch does not get to choose who to support among the factions in Westeros.  They protect all.  Even the Boltons.  Jon's personal feelings is unimportant in the larger scheme of things.  Jon started a fight with Ramsay when he sent his man to take Arya away.  

I hope you're also critical of Stannis because he's basically doing the exact same thing.

Stannis:

- Let Mance Rayder go without being punished

- Is marching with an army of Northerners whose main motive is to GET ARYA

- Is playing the game of thrones

- Also wanted to march with an army of wildlings on Winterfell

- Is starting a personal fight with Ramsay

- Knows he can't remain neutral because he must unite the North to fight the Others, and knows the Boltons wont do jack shit to help them in that fight

- Is putting the North and Watch at risk by launching a war he can't win

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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6 hours ago, Enuma Elish said:

Oh yes we can fault Jon for his actions.  Jon deserted as early as GoT.  He would have lost his head and deservedly so where it not for the courage of the other boys who dragged him back.  We have it on Jon's own POV that what he was doing is treason.   Bowen did the right thing when he stabbed Jon to stop the wildling raid on the Boltons.

The NW vows are not silly.  It's what kept the order together for thousands of years.  The watch has no enemies in the south and that is why their castles are not walled nor defended from the south.  Remaining neutral is crucial to the survival of the watch and fulfilling their mission of protecting all.  The watch does not get to choose who to support among the factions in Westeros.  They protect all.  Even the Boltons.  Jon's personal feelings is unimportant in the larger scheme of things.  Jon started a fight with Ramsay when he sent his man to take Arya away.  

No he didn't because that's Bowen being a traitor and stabbing his Lord Commander. If you're gonna use in universe rules to call Jon a traitor then be consistent. Beside why should we as sane readers who actually live in a sensible...ish society throw mud at Jon who is a child by the way, for wanting to go and avenge his father and help his brother? He's doing what normal people would do in that situation. We as readers aren't bound by Westeros' code of honor and shouldn't be otherwise we'd still be saying Jaime Lannister did the wrong thing by killing some psychotic king (but he swore a vow!), thought this should be said. Why should we care about treason when we know the Lannisters to be absolutely horrid people who deserve to have the throne ripped away from them? Aye he went out and he was close to Mole Town when he intended to desert, and then he decided came back. Shows personal growth and strength in that moment to uphold his vows.

Let me ask you something, you know the Boltons, especially Ramsay aren't good people right? More than that, they are flayers, torturers and rapers. So why would you expect Jon to do nothing when he hears his sister who would be about 12 at this point (though age shouldn't really matter) is forcefully married to some psychopath? You love to make a point about protecting all well guess what? Ramsay was demanding a whole bunch of hostages in the Pink Letter, are you expecting Jon to give them all up? Is that the right thing to do? Tell me from a reader's perspective now rather than the rigid in universe perspective. Because the question here is who is the true protagonist (or the 'hero' of the story) and being a protagonist isn't about following the rules of the rigid in universe society, it's about doing the right thing.

Most people think Daenerys is the true protagonist and yeah she has done the right thing for the most part. But she hasn't had that many tough choices like Jon has had. It's easy to say Jon's feelings don't matter as a reader because it's a fiction and we don't put ourselves in their shoes. But even when you talk about the larger scheme of things (which is The Others), Jon is the only one who's preparing for that as well. And he can't prepare for it while a psychopath like Ramsay threatens guests (and the Watch itself if he doesn't hand over those guest) at the Wall or while traitors like Bowen Marsh are stabbing him. I mean if you're support Ramsay and Bowen Marsh in this situation that's fine. Maybe they're your favourite characters or something.

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19 hours ago, Allardyce said:

Yup.  Jon's been destructive to the Watch so far.  Sending Mance and his wildling women to get fArya brought the wrath of the Boltons down on the Watch.  Jon might become one of the protagonists later on but he is absolutely not the True Protagonist.  I believe the distinction of True Protagonist belongs to Daenerys Targaryen.  Like I said, it doesn't mean Jon won't see the light later and gain a little bit of honor later on but so far he has not been a protagonist.  He doesn't intend to be the antagonist but his general poor judgment and his queer attachment to Arya make his decisions harmful to the fight against the Others.   He has a history of putting the Starks ahead of his duties.  Jon is not who we want as a leader.  

Agree.  Jon's attachment to the Starks and Arya in particular make him blind.  He lacks objectivity.  He allowed his feelings for the Starks to affect his judgment of Janos Slynt.  He made that even worse when he let Mance Rayder go despite the man's more serious offenses.  His own thoughts betrayed him.  Had one of the brothers asked about his sister, Jon would have said it was none of his concern.  Yet Jon himself could not live up to the standards.  He failed to maintain standards.  Jon is at fault here.  His actions are not the actions of a good protagonist.  

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