‘Game of Thrones’: Why Jon Snow Is Truly the Worst Character
Game of Thrones has a huge cast, which is one of the many reasons it’s known for killing off so many of its characters. But there is one cast member who has been a fan favorite from the very beginning and is therefore probably safe from death. That character is Jon Snow.
Jon Snow started off as the bastard son of Ned Stark who decided to go to the Wall to join the Night’s Watch. His story has taken many turns throughout the show’s run and he is now one of the only remaining members of House Stark. Because of this, it’s understandable why Jon Snow is a fan favorite, but in reality, he’s truly the worst character and a weak spot in an otherwise successful show.
Not sure why? Here are seven reasons why the boy who knows nothing is the worst character on Game of Thrones.
1. The story poses him as an underdog, which isn’t the case
The fantasy show is full of underdogs. One of the most obvious is Tyrion Lannister who was born into a rich and powerful family, like Jon Snow, but is a dwarf and therefore has to overcome prejudice. He also has to live with the guilt of knowing his mother died while giving birth to him.
Then there is Jon Snow, who starts off with some angst. He is the bastard son of Ned Stark and his mother figure, Catelyn, doesn’t hide her contempt for him. But other than that, Jon has a loving family. He’s handsome, a skilled warrior, and enjoyed a wealthy upbringing.
The show tried to compare Tyrion to Jon Snow in the beginning. At a dinner, Tyrion advises Jon Snow by saying, “Never forget what you are, wear it like armor. It could never be used to hurt you.” Jon Snow petulantly asks, “What do you know about being a bastard?” and Tyrion answers, “All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.”
Although the comparison might be tempting, it’s a gross misstep. Tyrion has a physical disability and has to work harder to garner respect. Jon Snow can’t inherit from his rich father, but his story has proven that there are many things about his physique and upbringing that work for him rather than against him. The many hardships that he does face often come from his own life choices, like joining the Night’s Watch.
2. He has the entitlement of Joffrey, without the money
King Joffrey Baratheon is still one of the show’s greatest villains. This is because he was a ruthless and entitled child with the world at his feet. By the end of his storyline, every fan was happy to see that he got what was coming to him.
But those same fans might not notice the similarities between Joffrey and Jon Snow. When Jon Snow first makes it to the Night’s Watch he believes he’s better than everyone else and acts like it. Some may argue that he was better, but Jon Snow is rude to the less-skilled men who weren’t raised with a rich family and given proper lessons on things like archery and wielding a sword.
Both characters are rarely told they’re wrong for feeling entitled. Cersei coddles Joffrey until he steps on her toes. When Jon Snow complains about his menial Night’s Watch duties to Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, he responds by telling Jon Snow he’s being groomed for command after just taking his oath to be in the Night’s Watch.
What makes Joffrey and Jon Snow different is that we’re told Jon Snow means well. But his motivation is not that different than Joffrey’s. Both characters want glory and respect.
3. He doesn’t really stand by his ‘code’
Jon Snow starts off as an understandably naive character. In the book, he is just a young kid and we are introduced to him before he ever leaves the safety of his home.
Along the way we see Jon Snow join the Night’s Watch and take an oath. The oath includes the following conditions: to serve in the Night’s Watch until you die, remain chaste, not own land, wear no crown, and not have children. He breaks a few of these rules and perhaps it’s naive for any fan to believe he wouldn’t.
But the “goodness” that is often tied to Jon Snow is based on his sense of honor and justice. So the fact that he has sex with an enemy and is still able to return to the Night’s Watch is evidence that he can do whatever he wants. Jon Snow has no real code of conduct because none of the rules seem to apply to him, which is another reason why viewers shouldn’t take his struggles seriously.
4. His storyline is one of the most drawn out of the series
Jon Snow’s arc doesn’t just have a predictability issue, it also has a pacing issue. Over the many seasons, his main storyline has been joining the Night’s Watch and discovering the villains (White Walkers), with a goal of ultimately fighting the White Walkers in order to save the world. The arc could certainly be interesting, but the pacing is too drawn out. Multiple characters have wrapped up their storylines in half that time and are still fondly remembered.
If Jon Snow is ultimately the “savior” it’s understandable why the writers would want to pace out his storyline. However, the show might have had more success if they dropped his storyline and later returned to it, like they did with several other characters. There just wasn’t always enough going on in the world of Jon Snow to justify the amount of time Game of Thrones focused on him.
5. The ‘mystery’ behind his birth parents is one of the show’s worst-kept secrets
From the very beginning, the identity of Jon Snow’s mother is a mystery. He asks Ned Stark who she is and Ned says he’ll tell him the next time they see each other. We all probably should have known then that their next meeting would never happen.
So it’s understandable why fans have tried to figure out the answer to that question for themselves, coming up with numerous fan theories. The answer was finally given in the Season 6 finale. Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark are Jon Snow’s parents. However, this conclusion was one of the most-popular fan theories.
Given that Jon Snow is such a hero archetype, after dying only to predictably come back to life, it doesn’t help that the only mystery behind the character was a predictable one.
The answer to the mystery also gives Jon Snow a possible claim to the throne, proving once again that he never really was an underdog.
6. He’s just another messiah archetype
Religious texts in general, but specifically the Bible, have been the inspiration for many fictional stories. When the show killed off Jon Snow, there was a chance he was actually gone, but most fans didn’t buy it.
That’s because Jon Snow is a messiah archetype. He is supposedly an underdog and outcast who leaves home to go on a noble mission. He learns about the White Walkers and is therefore the “chosen” savior to take them down. Even his parents are a mystery for the majority of the show, as if he was created through an immaculate conception.
While many fans might not have vocalized why they felt so confident that Jon Snow’s death was just a misdirect, the reason is that his tale is old and widely familiar, inspired by the Biblical messiah.
7. He gets a lot of undeserved fan support
Jon Snow has a large fan base because he’s one of the show’s main characters. He also fits perfectly into the “underdog” stereotype, so many people want to root for him, whether that is well deserved or not.
But maybe one of the most frustrating things about his character is how he draws the attention away from other fan favorites like Daenerys Targaryen, whose character is truly well-written.
Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.
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