Jon Snow: A reluctant and iconic hero

*as published in March of 2021

Jon Snow‘s death shocked the world as much as his older brother Robb Stark‘s years earlier. The betrayal of the two, added to the tragic death of their father, Ned Stark, “proved” the vulnerability of the family that was supposed to be the girl in the Game of Thrones saga.

With the “death” of Jon, we ended season 5 without much hope. Although Jon was resurrected the following season, somehow he didn’t come back. Season 5 – in fact – marked the shift in the series’ narrative.

Jon Snow is one of the greatest fictional heroes of all time. Integrity, fearless, suffering, and humble, has no parallel in his trajectory. For those who don’t know, Jon Snow is the bastard son of House Stark. Raised as a Stark, he is very attached to his “brothers”, Robb, Bran, Arya, Rickon, and Sansa. His stepmother, Catelyn Stark, deeply hates him because her husband, Ned, never revealed the identity of Jon’s mother.

As much as many were suspicious of the truth, it wasn’t until Season 6 that we found out that Jon was actually the son of Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark with Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, to whom she was secretly married. In this way, Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. To make Jon even more worthy of the crown, he is the only one in all of history who genuinely wants no power or position, just a family name. The name Stark.

Naturally, as much as he flees his destiny, of which he is completely ignorant, Jon is always driven to lead and ends up being chosen as King in the North. One of the most emotional moments of the series.

Coincidentally, the movement for female empowerment has been growing parallel to the production of HBO. This profoundly impacted the way the story was told. If in the first seasons’ women were exploited, silenced, or reduced to villains when they dared to want power, there was only in Daenerys Targaryen the hope of a worthy female leader. It was obvious that Jon and Daenerys would stay together as they complemented each other, Fire and Ice, the perfect balance of forces in GOT. It was never meant to be.

In a universe where incest was not an issue, some didn’t see how dramatic the fact that Daenerys was Jon’s aunt was dramatic. When they fall in love, they don’t suspect the blood connection. However, when they discover her, it is the final straw for Dany, who was already in the negative spiral that destroyed the heroic trajectory of the character. She became power-hungry, insecure, and violent. Jon, in order to save the population of Westeros, is “forced” to kill her. He loses his love and his crown ends his days in exile. For feminists, the worst conclusion is with a woman treated like crazy and a man saving the world. Classic and offensive. Jon Snow didn’t deserve this mission.

I particularly felt Jon’s fate very much. It would be bittersweet that George R.R. Martin promised, but on the way, it cost him everything and then some. It’s just that when GOT entered the sixth season, already without the books to use as a basis, it started to have an “original” story in the sense that it would have to reach the same conclusion proposed by the author in the books (theoretically), but the path would be like the showrunners thought better.

By this time, society and culture had changed. With charges growing, the plot was adapting. Women began to play a leading role, but the change seems to have contributed to the already famous controversy at the end of Game Of Thrones.

Jon Snow was one of the victims because to give up his role, he lost his essence. In Season 5, he was desperate to save the world from the onslaught of the Night Walkers, the undead that only grew in number. Jon was the only one in the entire GOT universe who genuinely wanted the best of everyone, enemy or friend, and paid with his life for integrity.

When he reunites with his sister, Sansa, Jon is already another. However, it is Sansa who is the most different. Until then, she was a weak and traumatized girl, a “woman of her time”. From that moment, he shows maturity and initiative previously unknown. More efficiently than Jon himself, who had already won some tough battles. It is she who plans, leads, fights, and wins. Just don’t fight physically because it would be inexplicable. Next to Sansa, all the leadership and strength that Jon had seemed just a shadow. All right because he remains focused on winning the fight against the dead. His destiny, it seemed, would be to kill his worst enemy, the Night King. Sansa could have everything else.

Not even that was left for Jon. The end to the 3,000-year threat of the Night Walkers was ended by Arya, her younger sister. He stayed outside, stopped by a dragon from getting close to the final duel. At this point, women no longer need a man, a hero, or a prince to sort things out. They can do it themselves. Cute and cool for Arya, but… what about Jon?

It was bad luck and a shame to have erased Jon Snow in the final stretch of Game of Thrones, even if, in the current context, he couldn’t be King. The female victory, represented by Sansa Stark, with a wonderful arc of reinvention, was what the audience wanted. But Arya could kill Cersei, who was also wanted, she didn’t need to take Jon’s only fight.

Apparently, when he started writing the saga more than 20 years ago, Martin imagined reversing the general perception to prove his theory that “a villain is a hero on the other side”. Therefore, only those who did not follow failed to realize that Daenerys Targaryen’s destiny was set from the beginning for a 180-degree turn. Jon didn’t want power, he couldn’t have a turnaround. Just her.

Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister weren’t the worst sexist representatives in history, even with their structural flaws. However, they were the main ones “punished” so that female protagonism gained space. Neither Arya nor Sansa would get any smaller with them going their way. Taking the death of an undeniable villain to put the murder of a villain beloved by the public was cruel. Jon was resurrected only to be morally killed. Deserved more. Daenerys too.

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