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Lord Martin

Night's King is Jon Snow

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No, no that Jon Snow, a much older one.

My new theory is that the Night's King was a Stark bastard also named Jon Snow. This is sort of a prequel to the theory that Night's King = Cold Hands as it would explain why NK was not killed by the King In the North or the King Beyond the Wall.

This is a little heresy-ish with some textual support.

So when JS first meets Ygritte she remarks that he has an "evil name." But there is zero follow up on this. Now sure, Snow could be an evil name since it is given to bastards and "snow" is a common cause of death both in the North and Beyond the Wall. But that doesn't seem to explain Ygritte's comment. Why is "Jon Snow" more evil than say "Ramsay Snow" or "Brandon Snow?" This makes me think that there have been Jon Snows before and they were very evil men or at least one of them was. Obviously, not all Jon Snows must be Starks, but that would seem to make more sense.

I note that, IMO, the wildling use of "evil" is more accurate than when it is used south of the wall. Wildlings seem to have a very good grasp of relative morality, that history is written by the conquerors and "its all a matter of where you are standing." They don't seem to consider southerners "evil" but merely opponents. The only "evil" the freefolk encounter are The Others and perhaps at times, the Night's Watch at times.

So who was this evil Jon Snow? I am assuming its not the man who solved the Cholera epidemic in 1800s London!

My theory is that Jon Snow was the son of Bael the Bard and half brother to Joramun, King Beyond the Wall. He killed his own father in combat and took the black as penance There he met and fell in love with a female Other and dabbled in dark magics known to the Others. He was eventually defeated by, but not destroyed by Joramun. His body was left north of the wall and eventually he became Cold Hands.

Bael the Bard

We get this story not too long after Jon gives Ygritte his name. In fact I think this is the first "Wilding Tale" we get in the story.

First point, as a Wildling tale, not one told in the South (or North), I think there is a cultural reason for the narrative. So in the tale, Bael goes to Winterfell and steals away the daughter of "Brandon the Daughterless." By doing this, he helps ensure that the Stark line continues. My impression is that this is a case of wildling oral story telling carried forward thousands of years. Thus the Free Folk can claim a relation to the North and can also claim a role in ensuring that "there is always a Stark in Winterfell." What this tale does, practically speaking, is cause every wildling to believe that they share blood with the Starks. It is a lot easier to face a legendary opponent like the Starks if you share the same blood.

Second point, when Bael kidnaps the Stark girl, he leaves behind a blue rose. We all know that blue rose is strongly suggestive of Jon Snow and/or Lyanna. Then, when House Stark is on the verge of extinction, the Daughter returns with a Bastard son, a Snow. I won't link it here, but I think the usual suspects have posted at great length on the idea of Jon Snow or his mother being symbolized by a blue rose. So the use of the blue rose here is telling, IMO. A bastard son and a blue rose left in Winterfell.... it just screams Jon Snow.

What is interesting here is that we have a Stark daughter being "stolen" by a foreigner who would become king. The parallels to Lyanna and Rhaegar should be self evident and R+L=J. There is also the fact that Bael and the Daughter hid in the crypts to save the Stark line, a few chapters later we learn that Bran and Rickon did the same thing.

Finally, then Bael returns beyond the Wall, is made King and later is slain by his son, whom Ygritte calls "Lord Stark." at the battle of the Frozen Ford some 30 years later. This Lord Stark then goes home and his mother commits suicide in her grief and the Lord Stark had his skin peeled off (Flayed by a Bolton?). I think there are some inaccuracies and changes of time involved in this tale again based on its oral nature.

The use of "Lord Stark" suggests that the story post-dates the conquest. But we don't have any account of Brandon the Daughterless in any of our Stark histories. Jon Snow never heard the tale, its not one of Old Nan's nor does Bran or the Reeds relate it. How is this tale not written down anywhere? This suggests to me that the story is more than 300 years old and is less relevant south of the wall so it faded in time.

Second, the reference to the flaying of Lord Stark suggests a Bolton did it. Do we have accounts of the Starks and Boltons warring post-conquest? Doesn't seem likely.

So to sum up the Night's King evidence:

Bastard Stark, symbolized by a blue rose, has a mother who is "kidnapped" by his mother suggests Jon Snow.

Jon Snow is an evil name.

Jon Snow was a kin-slayer.

Jon Snow was punished for his kin-slaying, perhaps by being flayed.

Now, of course, a common type of punishment in the north is "taking the black." It would not be hard to see a Stark taking the black after he learns that he killed his father. I suppose it would be a stretch to suggest he didn't really have his "skin peeled off" but instead he traded his family cloak for a black one? Is that a form of "skin changing?"

The Night's King

So this is one of the next tales we get in the story. We all know it for the most part.

First, I will address the name of the Night's King. We are told right from the start that the Night's King ruled the NF before "his name was wiped from the memory of man." I know a lot has been made of: "Some say he was a Bolton," Old Nan would always end. "Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down." She always pinched Bran on the nose then, he would never forget it. "He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room.

The use of "mayhaps" makes me think this whole portion of the story is rubbish. We all know that "mayhaps" is a word that implies deception (Thanks Freys). So my thought it, this part of the story should be discounted or at least discounted in part. I think GRRM is telling us there is subtle misdirection here. Here's an interesting read:

The King Beyond the Wall and the Stark of Winterfell united against the Night's King when he claimed the NF and ensourcered the Night's Watch. Nan says, "He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down." Now the plain reading of this suggests that NK was a Stark who was brought down by his brother, another Stark. But what if the misdirection here is that the "brother" who brought down the NK wasn't the Stark of Winterfell, but Joramun, King Beyond the Wall? How could he be the NK's brother? Well what if he was the son of Bael the Bard, former King Beyond the Wall? Wouldn't that make the NK and Joramun brothers?

Also, when Nan says the name of the NK was forgotten by all men, I would add "south of the wall." My theory is that the tale of Night's King is why Ygritte claimed Jon Snow's name was evil. North of the Wall, they remember whereas in the south they've forgotten.

So thats it loosely. I have other thoughts on the Last Hero, "There Must Always Be A Stark In Winterfell," Greenseers, the Pact and the nature of what keeps the Others at bay. This would be a small part of that thought process.

Have at it folks, I'll just be happy to generate some discussion. I haven't seen this particular theory out there yet.

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No, no that Jon Snow, a much older one.

My new theory is that the Night's King was a Stark bastard also named Jon Snow. This is sort of a prequel to the theory that Night's King = Cold Hands as it would explain why NK was not killed by the King In the North or the King Beyond the Wall.

This is a little heresy-ish with some textual support.

So when JS first meets Ygritte she remarks that he has an "evil name." But there is zero follow up on this. Now sure, Snow could be an evil name since it is given to bastards and "snow" is a common cause of death both in the North and Beyond the Wall. But that doesn't seem to explain Ygritte's comment. Why is "Jon Snow" more evil than say "Ramsay Snow" or "Brandon Snow?" This makes me think that there have been Jon Snows before and they were very evil men or at least one of them was. Obviously, not all Jon Snows must be Starks, but that would seem to make more sense.

I note that, IMO, the wildling use of "evil" is more accurate than when it is used south of the wall. Wildlings seem to have a very good grasp of relative morality, that history is written by the conquerors and "its all a matter of where you are standing." They don't seem to consider southerners "evil" but merely opponents. The only "evil" the freefolk encounter are The Others and perhaps at times, the Night's Watch at times.

So who was this evil Jon Snow? I am assuming its not the man who solved the Cholera epidemic in 1800s London!

My theory is that Jon Snow was the son of Bael the Bard and half brother to Joramun, King Beyond the Wall. He killed his own father in combat and took the black as penance There he met and fell in love with a female Other and dabbled in dark magics known to the Others. He was eventually defeated by, but not destroyed by Joramun. His body was left north of the wall and eventually he became Cold Hands.

Bael the Bard

We get this story not too long after Jon gives Ygritte his name. In fact I think this is the first "Wilding Tale" we get in the story.

First point, as a Wildling tale, not one told in the South (or North), I think there is a cultural reason for the narrative. So in the tale, Bael goes to Winterfell and steals away the daughter of "Brandon the Daughterless." By doing this, he helps ensure that the Stark line continues. My impression is that this is a case of wildling oral story telling carried forward thousands of years. Thus the Free Folk can claim a relation to the North and can also claim a role in ensuring that "there is always a Stark in Winterfell." What this tale does, practically speaking, is cause every wildling to believe that they share blood with the Starks. It is a lot easier to face a legendary opponent like the Starks if you share the same blood.

Second point, when Bael kidnaps the Stark girl, he leaves behind a blue rose. We all know that blue rose is strongly suggestive of Jon Snow and/or Lyanna. Then, when House Stark is on the verge of extinction, the Daughter returns with a Bastard son, a Snow. I won't link it here, but I think the usual suspects have posted at great length on the idea of Jon Snow or his mother being symbolized by a blue rose. So the use of the blue rose here is telling, IMO. A bastard son and a blue rose left in Winterfell.... it just screams Jon Snow.

What is interesting here is that we have a Stark daughter being "stolen" by a foreigner who would become king. The parallels to Lyanna and Rhaegar should be self evident and R+L=J. There is also the fact that Bael and the Daughter hid in the crypts to save the Stark line, a few chapters later we learn that Bran and Rickon did the same thing.

Finally, then Bael returns beyond the Wall, is made King and later is slain by his son, whom Ygritte calls "Lord Stark." at the battle of the Frozen Ford some 30 years later. This Lord Stark then goes home and his mother commits suicide in her grief and the Lord Stark had his skin peeled off (Flayed by a Bolton?). I think there are some inaccuracies and changes of time involved in this tale again based on its oral nature.

The use of "Lord Stark" suggests that the story post-dates the conquest. But we don't have any account of Brandon the Daughterless in any of our Stark histories. Jon Snow never heard the tale, its not one of Old Nan's nor does Bran or the Reeds relate it. How is this tale not written down anywhere? This suggests to me that the story is more than 300 years old and is less relevant south of the wall so it faded in time.

Second, the reference to the flaying of Lord Stark suggests a Bolton did it. Do we have accounts of the Starks and Boltons warring post-conquest? Doesn't seem likely.

So to sum up the Night's King evidence:

Bastard Stark, symbolized by a blue rose, has a mother who is "kidnapped" by his mother suggests Jon Snow.

Jon Snow is an evil name.

Jon Snow was a kin-slayer.

Jon Snow was punished for his kin-slaying, perhaps by being flayed.

Now, of course, a common type of punishment in the north is "taking the black." It would not be hard to see a Stark taking the black after he learns that he killed his father. I suppose it would be a stretch to suggest he didn't really have his "skin peeled off" but instead he traded his family cloak for a black one? Is that a form of "skin changing?"

The Night's King

So this is one of the next tales we get in the story. We all know it for the most part.

First, I will address the name of the Night's King. We are told right from the start that the Night's King ruled the NF before "his name was wiped from the memory of man." I know a lot has been made of: "Some say he was a Bolton," Old Nan would always end. "Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down." She always pinched Bran on the nose then, he would never forget it. "He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room.

The use of "mayhaps" makes me think this whole portion of the story is rubbish. We all know that "mayhaps" is a word that implies deception (Thanks Freys). So my thought it, this part of the story should be discounted or at least discounted in part. I think GRRM is telling us there is subtle misdirection here. Here's an interesting read:

The King Beyond the Wall and the Stark of Winterfell united against the Night's King when he claimed the NF and ensourcered the Night's Watch. Nan says, "He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down." Now the plain reading of this suggests that NK was a Stark who was brought down by his brother, another Stark. But what if the misdirection here is that the "brother" who brought down the NK wasn't the Stark of Winterfell, but Joramun, King Beyond the Wall? How could he be the NK's brother? Well what if he was the son of Bael the Bard, former King Beyond the Wall? Wouldn't that make the NK and Joramun brothers?

Also, when Nan says the name of the NK was forgotten by all men, I would add "south of the wall." My theory is that the tale of Night's King is why Ygritte claimed Jon Snow's name was evil. North of the Wall, they remember whereas in the south they've forgotten.

So thats it loosely. I have other thoughts on the Last Hero, "There Must Always Be A Stark In Winterfell," Greenseers, the Pact and the nature of what keeps the Others at bay. This would be a small part of that thought process.

Have at it folks, I'll just be happy to generate some discussion. I haven't seen this particular theory out there yet.

wow, great job.this is amazing

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This is fucking amazing. Its entirely plausible, although I don't think we will ever find out who the Night's King really was.

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This is fucking amazing. Its entirely plausible, although I don't think we will ever find out who the Night's King really was.

I disagree, I think we're in for much more detail on the Night's King and other legends... Bran just got in position to teach us history.

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Someone suggested this -- Night's King was named Jon Snow -- in Heresy several months ago. I think it's true.

The thing about Ygritte flinching at the evil name was suggested as evidence there too and it's pretty good.

The Bael part... don't see how it fits. We have no clear idea when Bael lived or if he ever did. Even Ygritte admits the whole story might have been made up.

Wouldn't call this fanfiction any more than most theories. Even R+L=J starts with an idea that has no proof at all.

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Borderline fanfiction. Evidence is thin and the bit about Bael does not match the timeline.

Wouldnt go that far, if the timelines matched up he wouldve had a great catch.

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This is absolutely incredible. It's entirely plausible, and I like to believe your theory. Thank you OP :)

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Hey, thanks for the love all (and the dissents)

I agree the Bael timeline is a huge fly in the ointment. But something about that story just stinks to high heaven, IMO. Thats why I think its an ancient oral parable rather than factual history. But of course all myth and parable have roots in reality.

If the Bael story post dates the conquest then why is there no written record of it? Why is it a wilding tale instead of a Stark legend or part of NW's lore? As an oral tradition or perhaps even a genesis mythology it makes perfect sense as a mechanism to connect those north of the wall with the Starks of Winterfell.

What is more likely is that we know information from pre-conquest is really spotty. The written records of the NW only goes back to the 300rd LC and there is some dispute among the Maesters or Septons about how long ago the Age of Heroes really was. It makes much more sense if the tale of Bael was preserved beyond the wall and was slightly changed to "Lord Stark" instead of "King Stark" once everyone who once called the Starks Kings was dead. By the time Ygritte tells the story, no one has any notion whether the events happened 100 years ago or 10,000 years ago.

Also, there are suggestions in Feast and Dance that time has a cyclical element to it. We see certain themes repeating themselves such as the Dance of the Dragons, baby swapping, the Doom etc.... We also know that certain names are very common in certain parts of the world. How many Brandons? How many Aegons? How many Jons, Rodricks, Rickards and Theons? Countless. Is it really far fetched to believe that one Jon Snow gets mistaken for another or one Brandon becomes another when a story is told and re-told? Whose to say there was only one Bael the Bard? Bard kings seem a common theme north of the wall.

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I disagree, I think we're in for much more detail on the Night's King and other legends... Bran just got in position to teach us history.

Who do you think will fill us in? Sam at the Citadel? Bloodraven? Bran?

Do you think we'll get it as cannon or more myth?

I really have to say, GRRM's handling of myth, especially in the North is one of the coolest aspects of ASOIAF.

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No, no that Jon Snow, a much older one.

My new theory is that the Night's King was a Stark bastard also named Jon Snow. This is sort of a prequel to the theory that Night's King = Cold Hands as it would explain why NK was not killed by the King In the North or the King Beyond the Wall.

This is a little heresy-ish with some textual support.

So when JS first meets Ygritte she remarks that he has an "evil name." But there is zero follow up on this. Now sure, Snow could be an evil name since it is given to bastards and "snow" is a common cause of death both in the North and Beyond the Wall. But that doesn't seem to explain Ygritte's comment. Why is "Jon Snow" more evil than say "Ramsay Snow" or "Brandon Snow?" This makes me think that there have been Jon Snows before and they were very evil men or at least one of them was. Obviously, not all Jon Snows must be Starks, but that would seem to make more sense.

I note that, IMO, the wildling use of "evil" is more accurate than when it is used south of the wall. Wildlings seem to have a very good grasp of relative morality, that history is written by the conquerors and "its all a matter of where you are standing." They don't seem to consider southerners "evil" but merely opponents. The only "evil" the freefolk encounter are The Others and perhaps at times, the Night's Watch at times.

So who was this evil Jon Snow? I am assuming its not the man who solved the Cholera epidemic in 1800s London!

My theory is that Jon Snow was the son of Bael the Bard and half brother to Joramun, King Beyond the Wall. He killed his own father in combat and took the black as penance There he met and fell in love with a female Other and dabbled in dark magics known to the Others. He was eventually defeated by, but not destroyed by Joramun. His body was left north of the wall and eventually he became Cold Hands.

Bael the Bard

We get this story not too long after Jon gives Ygritte his name. In fact I think this is the first "Wilding Tale" we get in the story.

First point, as a Wildling tale, not one told in the South (or North), I think there is a cultural reason for the narrative. So in the tale, Bael goes to Winterfell and steals away the daughter of "Brandon the Daughterless." By doing this, he helps ensure that the Stark line continues. My impression is that this is a case of wildling oral story telling carried forward thousands of years. Thus the Free Folk can claim a relation to the North and can also claim a role in ensuring that "there is always a Stark in Winterfell." What this tale does, practically speaking, is cause every wildling to believe that they share blood with the Starks. It is a lot easier to face a legendary opponent like the Starks if you share the same blood.

Second point, when Bael kidnaps the Stark girl, he leaves behind a blue rose. We all know that blue rose is strongly suggestive of Jon Snow and/or Lyanna. Then, when House Stark is on the verge of extinction, the Daughter returns with a Bastard son, a Snow. I won't link it here, but I think the usual suspects have posted at great length on the idea of Jon Snow or his mother being symbolized by a blue rose. So the use of the blue rose here is telling, IMO. A bastard son and a blue rose left in Winterfell.... it just screams Jon Snow.

What is interesting here is that we have a Stark daughter being "stolen" by a foreigner who would become king. The parallels to Lyanna and Rhaegar should be self evident and R+L=J. There is also the fact that Bael and the Daughter hid in the crypts to save the Stark line, a few chapters later we learn that Bran and Rickon did the same thing.

Finally, then Bael returns beyond the Wall, is made King and later is slain by his son, whom Ygritte calls "Lord Stark." at the battle of the Frozen Ford some 30 years later. This Lord Stark then goes home and his mother commits suicide in her grief and the Lord Stark had his skin peeled off (Flayed by a Bolton?). I think there are some inaccuracies and changes of time involved in this tale again based on its oral nature.

The use of "Lord Stark" suggests that the story post-dates the conquest. But we don't have any account of Brandon the Daughterless in any of our Stark histories. Jon Snow never heard the tale, its not one of Old Nan's nor does Bran or the Reeds relate it. How is this tale not written down anywhere? This suggests to me that the story is more than 300 years old and is less relevant south of the wall so it faded in time.

Second, the reference to the flaying of Lord Stark suggests a Bolton did it. Do we have accounts of the Starks and Boltons warring post-conquest? Doesn't seem likely.

So to sum up the Night's King evidence:

Bastard Stark, symbolized by a blue rose, has a mother who is "kidnapped" by his mother suggests Jon Snow.

Jon Snow is an evil name.

Jon Snow was a kin-slayer.

Jon Snow was punished for his kin-slaying, perhaps by being flayed.

Now, of course, a common type of punishment in the north is "taking the black." It would not be hard to see a Stark taking the black after he learns that he killed his father. I suppose it would be a stretch to suggest he didn't really have his "skin peeled off" but instead he traded his family cloak for a black one? Is that a form of "skin changing?"

The Night's King

So this is one of the next tales we get in the story. We all know it for the most part.

First, I will address the name of the Night's King. We are told right from the start that the Night's King ruled the NF before "his name was wiped from the memory of man." I know a lot has been made of: "Some say he was a Bolton," Old Nan would always end. "Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down." She always pinched Bran on the nose then, he would never forget it. "He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room.

The use of "mayhaps" makes me think this whole portion of the story is rubbish. We all know that "mayhaps" is a word that implies deception (Thanks Freys). So my thought it, this part of the story should be discounted or at least discounted in part. I think GRRM is telling us there is subtle misdirection here. Here's an interesting read:

The King Beyond the Wall and the Stark of Winterfell united against the Night's King when he claimed the NF and ensourcered the Night's Watch. Nan says, "He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down." Now the plain reading of this suggests that NK was a Stark who was brought down by his brother, another Stark. But what if the misdirection here is that the "brother" who brought down the NK wasn't the Stark of Winterfell, but Joramun, King Beyond the Wall? How could he be the NK's brother? Well what if he was the son of Bael the Bard, former King Beyond the Wall? Wouldn't that make the NK and Joramun brothers?

Also, when Nan says the name of the NK was forgotten by all men, I would add "south of the wall." My theory is that the tale of Night's King is why Ygritte claimed Jon Snow's name was evil. North of the Wall, they remember whereas in the south they've forgotten.

So thats it loosely. I have other thoughts on the Last Hero, "There Must Always Be A Stark In Winterfell," Greenseers, the Pact and the nature of what keeps the Others at bay. This would be a small part of that thought process.

Have at it folks, I'll just be happy to generate some discussion. I haven't seen this particular theory out there yet.

This is a brilliant theory nice job in all the work done into it. It sounds plausible however it does have flaws for example Bael the Bard wasnt the father of Joramun or atleast the books dont tell us that. Overall great theory, kudos man! :)

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The only thing I can really disagree with is wildlings having a good grasp of relative morality. They know the real threat is the Others, but that's about it for their knowledge of good and evil. But otherwise they're mostly just savages.

The Bael story timeline might be a flaw but it could be based on an older tale just like Pocahontas was based on an older tale also.

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Wouldnt go that far, if the timelines matched up he wouldve had a great catch.

Several of the more learned characters in the series believe that the common historical timelines are totally wrong, and many of their events misinterpreted, so that need not matter much.

Really cool theory, OP.

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Not really happy with this theory because of the time lines BUT

Why did Ygritte say Jon Snow was an evil name?????

It seems in the North bastards are feared and despised ESPECIALLY if not acknowledged. It is for this reason I think Ned kept Jon in public view. It fights the evil associated with being a bastard

Note Craster ALWAYS marries his "wives". The kinds are never bastards.

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Really cool theory! I'm not particularly knowledgeable with regard to the timeline, so I shouldn't comment on that. However, I will anyways. If all this stuff happened a long time ago and there was no written, reliable report of events, whose to say it didn't happen? But the rest of the theory is awesome.

When Old Nan refers to "brother" in the text, could it be referring to "sworn brother" instead of biological "brother"? This wouldn't invalidate Jon Snow being an evil name at all (or the Night's King, for that matter). Just a thought.

In any event, it's posts like the OP that keep me coming back and thinking more about the books. Thank you!

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Very interesting. But if this story is relevant or known north of the wall, why is it that Ygritte is the only one who notices Jon's evil name or mentions it?

Also, what about Craster? Why doesn't he know about the NK, why is it that the first thing he thinks when he hears the name Jon Snow, is bastard, not Night's King?

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