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silverwolf22

true motivation of jon snows assassination ( counter to the claims I have seen made)

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http://zaldrizer-sovesi.tumblr.com/post/129931160977/the-nights-watch-takes-no-part

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This post started out prompted by a review comparing Jon’s assassination in the show and the books. While I do have a lot left to say about the adaptation of Jon’s storyline, what jumped out at me was actually a defense of the mutineers’ motives which I think is contradicted, or at least severely complicated, by the books themselves. So I want to talk a bit about Jon, Stannis, Bowen Marsh, and the state of the Watch’s neutrality in ASOS and ADWD.

It’s certainly true that Jon has emotional incentive to want Stannis to depose the Lannisters. But Jon’s agenda, at least, prioritizes the war beyond the Wall. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all of his brothers. 

“Mormont sent a bird from the haunted forest, to report that he was under attack. More ravens have returned since, but none with letters. This Bowen Marsh fears Lord Mormont slain, with all his strength.” (Tyrion, ASOS)

Pycelle gave Tyrion a sly glance. “An excellent thought, my lord. I know the very man. Janos Slynt.” ……

“Lord Janos is a hollow suit of armor who will sell himself to the highest bidder.”

“I count that as a point in his favor. Who is like to bid higher than us?” [Tywin] turned to Pycelle. “Send a raven. Write that King Joffrey was deeply saddened to hear of Lord Commander Mormont’s death, but regrets that he can spare no men just now, whilst so many rebels and usurpers remain in the field. Suggest that matters might be quite different once the throne is secure…provided the king has full confidence in the leadership of the Watch. In closing, ask Marsh to pass along His Grace’s fondest regards to his faithful friend and servant, Lord Janos Slynt.” (Tyrion, ASOS)

A man needed the votes of two-thirds of the Sworn Brothers to become the LC of the NW, and after nine days and nine votes no one was even close to that. Lord Janos had been gaining, true, creeping up first past Bowen Marsh and then Othell Yarwyck…..(Sam, ASOS)

“I don’t know,” a man was saying, in a voice thick with doubts. “Maybe if I knew the man better…Lord Stannis didn’t have much good to say of him, I’ll tell you that.”

“When has Stannis Baratheon ever had much good to say of anyone?” Ser Alliser’s flinty voice was unmistakable. “If we let Stannis choose our lord commander, we become his bannermen in all but name. Tywin Lannister is not like to forget that, and you know it will be Lord Tywin who wins in the end. He’s already beaten Stannis once, on the Blackwater.”

“Lord Tywin favors Slynt,” said Bowen Marsh, in a fretful, anxious voice. “I can show you his letter, Othell. ‘Our faithful friend and servant,’ he called him.” (Jon, ASOS)

Even with Bowen Marsh’s support, Lord Janos was still only third. (Sam, ASOS)

Bowen Marsh 1) exchanges secret correspondence with Tywin Lannister as soon as he thinks Mormont might be dead, 2) disregards Tywin’s blackmail when he thinks he has a shot at taking over the Watch himself, even though this ran the risk of running afoul of both the Iron Throne and the King on the Wall to the benefit of no one but himself, and then 3) sells out the Watch for Tywin’s preferred candidate, who, lest we forget, is put forward as a result of Pycelle’s vendetta with Tyrion (the only advocate the Watch has on the Small Council) and is Tywin’s preferred candidate precisely because of his corruption and lack of suitability for actual leadership. 

[Sidebar: It can be easy to underestimate Sam because his own POV is so self-flagellating, but this kid single-handedly outmaneuvered Tywin Lannister on a whim. Even acknowledging that Tywin’s purported Machiavellian genius is overstated, this is Littlefinger-level off the chain.]

Not that Marsh ever comes across as villainous, per se. I think he’s a weak-willed man in a very hard time, futilely chasing some sense of security from compliance with a higher authority which no longer exists. And of course, Marsh having definitely done the thing he accuses Jon of doing, doesn’t mean that Jon wasn’t also oathbreaking. Jon’s actions are pushing the line, though IMO not over it. But  there is excellent reason to be skeptical that Marsh and, presumably, his co-conspirators were sincerely acting based on high-minded principle when they mutinied. Jon wasn’t just moving against “the south” as an undifferentiated mass. He was moving against the Boltons, and by extension their allies the Lannisters, on whose behalf Marsh has been trying to influence the Watch since before Jon even took office. 

I’m not sure how a more skilled politician than Jon would have dealt with a liability like Marsh in the upper ranks. Maybe he should have been sent on a counting progress of the empty castles - how many buildings are habitable, how much raw material from the ones that can’t be restored, and so forth - preferably with at least one trustworthy builder or steward to keep an eye on him.

Marsh’s concern-trolling about neutrality vis-à-vis Stannis is transparently hypocritical. But, to be fair, he is far from the only character on the Wall who misleads the reader with delusions about the political position of the Watch. We hear from NW members who desperately want to believe they have some small amount of control over how they are perceived, who are baselessly convinced that if only they play by The Rules they will be rewarded and saved. The harsh truth is that public perception of the NW’s neutrality was shot to hell the moment Stannis showed up.

“The father would have handed the realm to Stannis. The son has given him lands and castles.” 

“The Night’s Watch is sworn to take no part in the wars of the Seven Kingdoms,” Pycelle reminded them. “For thousands of years the black brothers have upheld that tradition.” 

“Until now,” said Cersei. “The bastard boy has written us to avow that the Night’s Watch takes no side, but his actions give the lie to his words. He has given Stannis food and shelter, yet has the insolence to plead with us for arms and men.” 

“An outrage,” declared Lord Merryweather. “We cannot allow the Night’s Watch to join its strength to that of Lord Stannis.” 

“We must declare this Snow a traitor and a rebel,” agreed Ser Harys Swyft. “The black brothers must remove him.” 

Grand Maester Pycelle nodded ponderously. “I propose that we inform Castle Black that no more men will be sent to them until such time as Snow is gone.” 

(Cersei, AFFC)

“More” men. They haven’t even sent criminals since Tyrion was Hand of the King. The farce of neutrality was shot throughout the year before, when the Watch sent out dozens of ravens begging for help with the situation, and the only response they got was Tywin Lannister’s attempt to blackmail them. The realm – and specifically Roose Bolton, who committed a wretched breach of his duty as Warden of the North when he failed to respond to the wildling attack on the Wall – broke faith with the Watch long before the Pink Letter. It doesn’t really help relations with the IT that Jon is the Lord Commander, but he could hardly have stopped being Ned Stark’s last living son.

(In the interests of completeness: though Cersei gets distracted by Qyburn’s more convoluted assassination plot, we can’t actually rule out the possibility that Pycelle or Kevan took it upon themselves to send such a letter. And if so, who would they send it to? Bowen Marsh, who has contacted Pycelle before. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain the assassination, but it is possible.)

And what could they have done about it? Tried to overthrow Stannis?

“What would they have me do, take up swords against Stannis and the wildlings both? His Grace has thrice the fighting men we do, and is our guest besides.” (Jon, ADWD)

Again, this proves nothing but the utter collapse of the agreement between the Watch and the Seven Kingdoms. The IT’s refusal to get involved means that the NW literally cannot avoid choosing sides. 

But even if they could make a decisive move against Stannis, it wouldn’t do them any good.

“Greyjoy demands half the kingdom as the price of alliance, but what will he do to earn it? Fight the Starks? He is doing that already. Why should we pay for what he has given us for free?” (ASOS, Tyrion III)

Taking an entirely antagonistic stance against Stannis is all risk and no reward. The men of the Watch don’t have the reader’s insider look into the Lannister regime, but it is entirely consistent with everything they’ve seen happen so far.

In that light, Jon’s giving intelligence to Stannis comes across very differently. Laying aside the questionable premise that Jon is even obligated to honor an agreement that’s already been broken, or that the NW’s PR is in good enough condition that he could damage it, there’s also the reality on the ground, which is that Stannis’ forces do outnumber the Watch, and so the king can just take whatever he wants. When Jon placates Stannis with useful information, and thus diverts the king from taking the Watch’s land and castles, he does an extremely good job protecting the NW’s interests while still technically following the letter of an agreement which, again, has been completely disregarded by all other parties.

The neutrality of the Night’s Watch is not some a priori moral imperative. The Night’s Watch has made an agreement with the rest of Westeros: we stay out of your business, so that you will pitch in when the time comes. When the realm continued to ignore the Watch as the shit hit the fan, the realm broke faith with the Watch and has no right to expect the Watch not to do the same. (Why is Roose so freaked out by his guests during the occupation of Winterfell? Because he’s the one who killed a bunch of Northerners when he destroyed guest right protections.) Bowen Marsh stopped adhering to the neutrality principle in a way that was underhanded, self-interested, and had little to no chance of actually doing the Watch any good. Jon stopped adhering to the neutrality principle in a way that showed he was at least trying to minimize these departures from tradition, and in a way that stands a good chance of helping the war against the Others: the personal hostility in Ramsay’s hate mail aside, Winterfell is the critical second line of defense against the Others, and this means it can’t be in the hands of people who have not only failed to fight the Others, but have actively made a threat against the Watch itself.

The real motivations behind Jon’s murder are, more or less, the same motivations as the ones behind Mormont’s murder: the Watch cannot bring itself to face the war that they must fight, and so they cling to the desire to deprive wildlings of resources. The tipping point is the Pink Letter, though in light of the above, I doubt that it was so much about trying to prevent Jon from getting involved in politics as it was seizing the opportunity provided by Stannis’ reported death to reposition the Watch politically. As Jon correctly pointed out, the Watch couldn’t risk provoking Stannis. Whatever characters think of Stannis personally or of his claim, people generally get that he doesn’t fuck around. It’s aside the point that he personally liked Jon, he wouldn’t suffer outright mutiny. Like Robert, Stannis is never happier than when he’s crushing traitors. But once he’s gone, there’s no political downside to making a statement of killing Jon in the hopes that it would serve as a Red Wedding-style repudiation of the rebel king in an attempt to get back in good with the Iron Throne. What the mutineers can’t bring themselves to understand is that there won’t be any upside to it, either.

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The Night’s Watch is dark and full of terrors. Before, it was an organization that brave men held, who enrolled willingly. It was an honor to be in the Night’s Watch. Now it is a lair of thieves, rapists and murderers, all the scum Westeros didn’t want (plus some unfortunate fellows victims of their lords). They’re not educated, and probably not very intelligent. For them, getting to the Wall was a way to avoid gelding, not the first line before a threat that hadn’t been seen since 8000 years ! They are afraid. And infortunately, instead of, like Jon, trying to prepare themselves they burry their heads in the sand (well, the snow) and sing very loud to cover the truth. They are ferociously trying to get back to the status quo who had been there for thousands of years, and thus every change (even necessary !) is a threat to this status quo. Look at how every decision Jon made was met negatively by Bowen Marsh and co !
 

 

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The assassination was the only way Bowen Marsh could stop Jon from leading the wildlings to attack the Boltons.  Jon had already admitted to illegal activities.  He sent a man sworn to the NW to take his sister away from Ramsay.  That's not smart and it is treason against the NW and Westeros.  What Jon basically did is start a war with the Boltons.  We all know this is wrong and something the watch should not involve itself with.  Jon was set to make matters worse with his plan to attack the Boltons.  Bowen had to do what he did.  Jon created that situation.

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He never sent anyone sworn to the NW to take his sister away from Ramsay. Nor did he ever admit to something he did not do. Jon also was not leading the wildlings to attack the Boltons. He was leading himself, to make Ramsay answer for threatening to attack the NW, everyone else volunteered to come with him so he wouldn't just get kidnapped and tortured. He also can't commit treason against Westeros. He's never once sworn an oath to anyone in Westeros, and even if he had he's been released from them due to his NW oath. Bowen Marsh is also an idiot who is dead, because there is a whole army of Wildings, and a large group of Queen's Men, and brothers who had volunteered to help Jon moments before, and a giant. Also you're kind of siding with and justifying Ramsay Bolton's raping and threats. What exactly do you think he was going to do to Val, Selyse, Shireen, the baby, Arya, and everyone else he asked for (most of whom had received guest right from Jon.) 

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Just now, CAllDSmith said:

He never sent anyone sworn to the NW to take his sister away from Ramsay. Nor did he ever admit to something he did not do. Jon also was not leading the wildlings to attack the Boltons. He was leading himself, to make Ramsay answer for threatening to attack the NW, everyone else volunteered to come with him so he wouldn't just get kidnapped and tortured. He also can't commit treason against Westeros. He's never once sworn an oath to anyone in Westeros, and even if he had he's been released from them due to his NW oath. Bowen Marsh is also an idiot who is dead, because there is a whole army of Wildings, and a large group of Queen's Men, and brothers who had volunteered to help Jon moments before, and a giant. Also you're kind of siding with and justifying Ramsay Bolton's raping and threats. What exactly do you think he was going to do to Val, Selyse, Shireen, the baby, Arya, and everyone else he asked for (most of whom had received guest right from Jon.) 

Mance Rayder is sworn to the NW.  

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No, Mance Rayder is dead. Burned alive in front of everyone. At best he's sworn to Melisandre. He was once sworn to  the NW, but he broke that oath. He is no longer sworn to the NW. 

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Just now, CAllDSmith said:

No, Mance Rayder is dead. Burned alive in front of everyone. At best he's sworn to Melisandre. He was once sworn to  the NW, but he broke that oath. He is no longer sworn to the NW. 

Mance Rayder is still sworn to the NW.  Faking death does not release him from his vows.  Gared's desertion did not release him from his vows.  Jon ordered a sworn brother to do something illegal.  That's treason.  

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Breaking an oath did not release Mance Rayder from his vows.  He is legally and permanently committed to the NW.  

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No that is not. And Mance Rayder is no longer a man of the NW. He is former King-Beyond-the-Wall. He is Rattleshirt. He is not acting as a man of the NW but as a wildling. It's also not treason, because Jon Snow is not subject to the law of the IT. He takes no part and they take no part with him. Also ordering someone to rescue your sister from being raped, abused, and forced to engage in bestiality is not treason. In their world or ours. 

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Just now, CAllDSmith said:

No that is not. And Mance Rayder is no longer a man of the NW. He is former King-Beyond-the-Wall. He is Rattleshirt. He is not acting as a man of the NW but as a wildling. It's also not treason, because Jon Snow is not subject to the law of the IT. He takes no part and they take no part with him. Also ordering someone to rescue your sister from being raped, abused, and forced to engage in bestiality is not treason. In their world or ours. 

It is treason for Jon to order Mance Rayder to get his sister.  Mance Rayder cannot escape his vows.  Burning Rattleshirt, who has nothing whatsoever to do with the NW, has no effect on the vows that Mance Rayder already took.  Jon is guilty of treason against the NW and Westeros.  I might also mention that NW Brother Mance Rayder murdered Roose Bolton's service people while on this mission from Jon.   That is as good a declaration of war as anything.  

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We're just going back and forth here wasting time. I'm not going to convince you that you're wrong, and you're not going to convince me the guy who makes his wife say: "I'll do whatever you want, even with the dog" is the victim/good guy. Good night. 

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4 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

We're just going back and forth here wasting time. I'm not going to convince you that you're wrong, and you're not going to convince me the guy who makes his wife say: "I'll do whatever you want, even with the dog" is the victim/good guy. Good night. 

Too right

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5 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

He never sent anyone sworn to the NW to take his sister away from Ramsay. Nor did he ever admit to something he did not do. Jon also was not leading the wildlings to attack the Boltons. He was leading himself, to make Ramsay answer for threatening to attack the NW, everyone else volunteered to come with him so he wouldn't just get kidnapped and tortured. He also can't commit treason against Westeros. He's never once sworn an oath to anyone in Westeros, and even if he had he's been released from them due to his NW oath. Bowen Marsh is also an idiot who is dead, because there is a whole army of Wildings, and a large group of Queen's Men, and brothers who had volunteered to help Jon moments before, and a giant. Also you're kind of siding with and justifying Ramsay Bolton's raping and threats. What exactly do you think he was going to do to Val, Selyse, Shireen, the baby, Arya, and everyone else he asked for (most of whom had received guest right from Jon.) 

Very well said. Unfortunately there’s a small and very vocal and loud group of Jon/Stark haters who will always, always put their dislike for the character above everything else, including all the [abundant] textual evidence. These readers are not going to like Winds, I can tell you that! Can’t wait! :D

To the OP, yes, all of that has been brought up many, many times whenever we have discussions about the assassination attempt. 

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8 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

No, Mance Rayder is dead. Burned alive in front of everyone. At best he's sworn to Melisandre. He was once sworn to  the NW, but he broke that oath. He is no longer sworn to the NW. 

Breaking his oath earned him an automatic death sentence, which Jon had a responsibility to carry out.  Jon was wrong in that situation and many others.  Mance does not get a get-out-of-his-vows simply by choosing to break his oath.  Every brother who doesn't want to be there and who is despicable enough to break an oath would have done so if that is all that it took to get out of the watch.  It doesn't work that way.  Mance took his vows and he is sworn to the Night's Watch no matter what he does.  

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, CAllDSmith said:

We're just going back and forth here wasting time. I'm not going to convince you that you're wrong, and you're not going to convince me the guy who makes his wife say: "I'll do whatever you want, even with the dog" is the victim/good guy. Good night. 

As @kissdbyfire said there are a few but vocal Jon/Stark haters who’ll say anything to disparage and diminish Jon’s character, even if that means making clearly vile and despicable characters such as Janos or Ramsay victims. 

Jon in ADWD is shown to be somone who sees and understands the real threat. He thinks outside the box and is not shackled by existing prejudices but some of his men are small-minded and downright bigots. The problem with Jon is he’s not able to get through with these men (although he does try). Besides his choices in ADWD are not easy. But even under these circumstances, we see the author show the character try and make the morally right choice.

As for the instance with Mance, I totally agree with you. Jon had no idea Mance was still alive and Mance was sprung on him by Melissandre who was clearly trying to ingratiate herself with Jon. In the text, Mel clearly states that Jon won’t send men of the NW to save his sister because that would be against his vows. We have this exchange between Mel and Mance:

“Me save her, you mean? The Lord o’ Bones?” He laughed. “No one ever trusted Rattleshirt but fools. Snow’s not that. If his sister needs saving, he’ll send his crows. I would.” “He is not you. He made his vows and means to live by them. The Night’s Watch takes no part. But you are not Night’s Watch. You can do what he cannot.””

The author didn’t put this line in there for kicks. And as you so rightly pointed, Jon was under the impression that Mance was send to save Arya who was fleeing and well away from Winterfell. He didn’t send Mance to Winterfell nor did he suspect that Mance would go there.

Although there are some good arguments to be made, such as Jon’s inabilty to communicate his thoughts/ideas with the likes of Marsh, Jon being a traitor is not one of them. In a recent interview [https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-game-of-thrones-author-george-r-r-martin-assures-fans-writing-is-coming-1542390476?mod=hp_lead_pos10] GRRM compared Jon to Joffrey when he was referring to role models for kids and who they should emulate as future leaders. Obviously he was hoping that kids would follow Jon’s example. I doubt he would have said that if he considered Jon to be traitorous and a bad leader. Anyway good luck making your case with the Jon haters. In my experience, there’s no convincing them. At least in the past, some of the posters who disliked the character had some good arguments and made them in good faith, now its just the trite “Jon is a traitor” argument.

Edited by teej6

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Posted (edited)

I can enjoy Preston Jacob's show as well as anyone but the answer to the question is not complicated.  Bowen carried out the assassination because they had a duty to stop Jon from attacking Ramsay.  It's very inappropriate and violates the law to attack Ramsay.  Bowen had no other way at his disposal to stop Jon.  Jon had gone nuts and lost his mind over Arya.  Jon was no longer fit to lead and his decisions to take f-Arya from Ramsay can only bring grief and disaster to everyone including the Watch and the north.  Bowen has the right on this.  

Edited by Enuma Elish

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2 hours ago, Enuma Elish said:

I can enjoy Preston Jacob's show as well as anyone but the answer to the question is not complicated.  Bowen carried out the assassination because they had a duty to stop Jon from attacking Ramsay.  It's very inappropriate and violates the law to attack Ramsay.  Bowen had no other way at his disposal to stop Jon.  Jon had gone nuts and lost his mind over Arya.  Jon was no longer fit to lead and his decisions to take f-Arya from Ramsay can only bring grief and disaster to everyone including the Watch and the north.  Bowen has the right on this.  

Like some bumbling small town cop arresting the super hero for breaking the speed limit while pursuing the villain about to destroy the galaxy. Yay! Nice end to the story. Wait, is that bittersweet? Oh, wait is this is the end of the series? Yeah, maybe it is. So, who needs TWOW and ADOS?

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I thank you for this thread. I completely missed the Bowen Marsh/ Lannister connection. I was kind of rushing through the Slynt stuff because I disliked him so.

Good points on the different  points of view on Jon. I think of Jon as someone who tries hard to do the right thing, though he had mentors and friends who help him that someone like Sansa does not have. Going by the book is not what what makes sense in his complicated situation, and most people would not like him if he did and brushed off all the dangers and heart of the story. But I can see how people get there.

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20 hours ago, Allardyce said:

It is treason for Jon to order Mance Rayder to get his sister.  Mance Rayder cannot escape his vows.  Burning Rattleshirt, who has nothing whatsoever to do with the NW, has no effect on the vows that Mance Rayder already took.  Jon is guilty of treason against the NW and Westeros.  I might also mention that NW Brother Mance Rayder murdered Roose Bolton's service people while on this mission from Jon.   That is as good a declaration of war as anything.  

Agree

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On 3/29/2019 at 9:54 PM, silverwolf22 said:

I don't buy your theory.  Bowen Marsh is dutiful man.  This is supported by the text and not some Jon-leaning fan's attempts to paint him negatively.  Jon gave an announcement which basically admitted his crimes.  The pink letter forced Jon's hand to admit the things he did.  Jon tried to spin it and failed.  To add insult to grievous injury he then announced his intention to lead a wildling raid on the Boltons.  No lord commander has ever done anything so wrong as that.  The watch does not attack the people.  Bowen was crying when he executed Jon.  He's a good man who got caught up in Jon's affairs.  I blame Jon for all of it.   You cannot blame what happened at the wall on the Lannisters.  I now the lions are douche bags but this tragedy is not on their shoulders.   

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Posted (edited)

The conspiration starts days prior the PL arrives.

Or at least that’s my impression.

So to me the letter simply “forced” the conspirators to act in that moment.

But they would have done it regardless.

That is an issue.

Jon’s reaction/decision - once he read the letter - is a totally different one.

I personally think he knew all to well that what he was about to do, was... treason.

Or at least, something that could have been easily consider as such.

So much so he says that he won’t ask his brothers to break their vows. If they would do that following him, then he knows that’s what he’s doing.

Which means another thing... that the problem the conspirators really had with him, was the expedition to save the FF. Jon is most likely about to die regardless, in the battlefield vs the Boltons or as a traitor.

If they took this risk, if they chose to have blood in their hands instead of staying clean, is because their goal was stop that order. To do that they had to kill him, right there and then.

Edited by lalt

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