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Monday, 6 May 2019

Jon Snow: The Prince Who Was Promised

It's been long foreshadowed that Jon is the one to sit on the Iron Throne. The Season 1 promo video showed several characters sitting on the throne, including Ned Stark, Cersei and Littlefinger. Jon is the only one whom the camera has a wide, central focus on. As explained in this video, having Jon as a contender for the throne (in season one) seems ridiculous. Not only is he a bastard, he joins the Night's Watch which automatically prevents anyone from inheriting lands or titles.  (Contains spoilers for those who are not up to date with Game of Thrones Seasons 7 and 8).

But as we all know, Jon isn't actually a bastard and his last name is not Snow. He is the trueborn son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, a secret we don't learn until the end of Season 7. But unlike Dany, his deserving place on the throne does not solely rest on his name, but his actions:

Jon united the free-folk with the Night's Watch. A good king brings people together and looks past petty differences. For thousands of years the free-folk and Night's Watch were sworn enemies, with those who lived north of the wall seen as a potential threat to the people of Westeros. Jon looked past this 'racism' and saw the free-folk for who they really were; human beings with lives, fears and dreams of their own. He fell in love with Ygritte because of who she was as a person, not caring that she was some 'wildling.'

Jon brought people together to fight the white walkers. Daenerys did not want to go north to fight against the army of the dead. But she did it because of Jon. His integrity and humility showed her that sticking together to fight for real life is more important than caring who sits on the throne. Lots of people were pissed off about Arya killing the Night King, but this story is about subverting cliches and letting everyone have their place. Arya trained to be a warrior, and Jon trained to be a leader. Him killing the NK would have been more heroic fairy-tale bullshit we don't need, and would have  weakened Jon's character. Jon's heroism was bringing everyone together to fight the NK, proving that the threat was real.

Jon is kind and humble. Above all, Jon has a good heart. We never once see him be cruel or malicious for the sake of it. He fights and he kills people but he does it in the name of honour, to protect a greater cause which is his family and/or his people. He doesn't walk around expecting everyone to bow down to him and crown him king. He didn't ask to be Lord Commander, he didn't ask to be King in the North, and he doesn't want to rule the seven kingdoms. And these qualities are exactly why he should be king; he doesn't seek power, he seeks to help people and do the right thing and ends up earning respect rather than demanding it.

Jon is a fighter. Plenty of monarchs are cowards when it comes to battle. This isn't always a bad thing; a person can be wise and brave without needing to fight with their fists (Bran, Tyrion, Catelyn). But Jon has been on the battlefield many times and fought and watched his brothers die. He has burned the bodies of people he loved, including his former lover. I wouldn't be surprised if he has to do it again to Dany.

In the second season and book, Dany goes to the House of the Undying in Quarth and she has several visions. One is of King's Landing having burned down and being covered in snow. Dany reaches for the throne but she doesn't take it. Many including myself believe this to mean Dany will never sit on the throne. 'Snow' in my eyes means Jon. Jon will take the throne and may have to kill Daenerys because Jon is the rightful ruler in name and character.

All throughout the story I have loved Daenerys, until recently. I have a lot of respect for Dany; she is brave, courageous and powerful. But she is a tyrant. She is a dictator. She freed a bunch of slaves and ruled over a foreign land without bothering to understand or respect their culture. Why should this foreign 'white saviour' come along and tell the people of Slaver's Bay how to live their lives? She didn't put any kind of stable government in place so as soon as she left the city fell. If not for Tyrion, Meereen would have collapsed.

Dany cares more about her ego and her 'birthright' than she does about actually ruling. And this has been in her all along; she watched her brother have gold liquid poured on his head. She locked two people in a vault and left them to starve. She burned people alive for not bowing down to her. She executed someone who was trying to do the right thing. She believes she deserves the throne because she believes she deserves the throne. Does she really care about helping people and bringing peace? Probably. But it overshadows her desire for power, just like it did with Margaery and Cersei and Joffrey and Littlefinger and every other power-hungry player in the game.

Jon deserves to rule because he really does care for people. He cares for the greater good of humanity. He brings people together. He over-looks differences and he does what is right. Jon will lose the love of his life for the sake of the greater good. As will Jaime; whether or not he survives, Cersei, the love of his life, will surely die for the sake of a better world (because the world is better without Cersei). And Theon died to save Bran; Ed died saving Sam, and countless others died so more could live.

That will be our real bittersweet ending: how many had to die, and how much sacrifice had to be made, so we could have what we have now? In the end, will it all be worth it? Yes and no.

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