George R. R. Martin’s series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire is much-loved by its fans for many reasons. As the most in-depth and imaginative fantasy world since J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, in Westeros Martin has created a world that is full of intrigue, suspense and surprise.
Furthermore, the characterisation of its dramatis personae is treated with more realism and maturity than that of Lord of the Rings – rather than two-dimensional good heroes and evil villains, Westeros is populated by far more complex creations.
The wildly successful HBO adaptation of the series, Game of Thrones, capitalises upon this compelling characterisation through the use of impeccable casting. One of the most interesting and appealing characters in the series is Jon Snow, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark. Why is Jon Snow in Game of Thrones so so loved by the hordes of fans who watch the show religiously each week? There are a number of different reasons why we love Jon Snow, but here are five of the main ones.
WARNING: Mild TV spoilers ahead!
Everyone loves an underdog
Born a bastard, Jon is deprived of all of the advantages of his half-siblings. He is given the insulting name of Snow (indicating his low status), treated with hatred by his adoptive mother, Catelyn, derision by his sister, Sansa and thinly veiled contempt by the family ward, Theon. Though he is able to match his brother Robb in intelligence, courage and martial prowess, he is condemned to know he will never enjoy all of the riches that the true-born son will inherit. As an outsider and an underdog, he instantly becomes a fan favourite – much like the smart-mouthed dwarf son of another powerful family, Tyrion Lannister.
He always makes the best of a bad situation
Despite all of the hardships, Jon refuses to allow bitterness and resentment to consume him. He enjoys a close relationship with Robb and shows kindness and warmth to his younger half-siblings, Arya and Bran. After weighing up his options, he decides to pursue his own path in life at the Wall, swearing allegiance to the Knight’s Watch. Even when he is captured by the wildlings, he still doesn’t lose faith and uses all of his resourcefulness and acumen to turn the situation to his advantage.
He’s perhaps the “purest” character in the series
Game of Thrones is filled with unscrupulous individuals who only act in their own interest in every situation. From Littlefinger’s scheming to Tywin’s tyranny to Catelyn’s selfishness, it seems almost everyone has their own agenda. Jon proves that he is perhaps the only character who retains anything like an honourable nature when he declines Stannis’ offer to take a pureblood title and become Lord of Winterfell; not many other characters in his shoes would have done the same.
He stands up for his beliefs
Throughout the HBO series, Jon consistently acts accordingly to his principles. He defends Sam, he protects the wildlings, and he is not afraid to go against the grain, buck the trend or stand up for himself or his ideals. On the few occasions when he makes mistakes and errors of judgement, he is always ready and willing to listen to advice from sager sources than himself, including from Tyrion, Lord Commander Mormont, and Master Aemon.
He’s a good-looking fellow
HBO didn’t miss a trick with their casting of the bastard – Kit Harington’s luscious locks and baby-faced charm make him irresistible to women and the envy of men. Although Jon is a true hero in the sense that he’s morally just, adept at swordplay, brimming with bravery and a natural leader, it doesn’t hurt that he has a nice face, either.
So let’s hear it for the one person in all of Westeros who always had a moral compass—not to mention luxurious tresses—Jon Snow.