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Monday, July 18, 2016

Who Is Jon Snow?

Game of Thrones: 

Speculation on the true identity of Jon Snow... Jon Stark, Jon Targaryan or Jon Baratheon?

Apparently, millions of people  watched  the "Battle of the Bastards," the finale of the sixth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 59th episode overall. According to Wikipedia, with some editing:

Jon Snow almost dies in the Battle of the Bastards by ignoring Sansa's advice. He displays the odd mixture of naivety and arrogance that got Eddard Stark killed at Westeros.
In the North, the armies of Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton (formerly Ramsey Snow) face off in an epic battle for control of Winterfell. In an appaling display of arrogance and naivety (ignoring Sansa's advice not to allow Ramsay to manipulate his emotions and to accept that Rikon's fate is sealed), Jon Snow attempted to save Rikon, who is mortally wounded by an arrow, shot by Ramsay. Jon is alone in the middle of the battle field and in an attempt to save him, Jon's army, largely made up of Wildlings, rushed into battle prematurely and is crushed by the Bolton army. Jon Snow, himself, almost died in this battle.
Sansa Stark and her step-brother/cousin Jon Stark of Winterfell
However, Sansa Stark arrived in the nick of time, along with Petyr Baelish and the Knights of the Vale, and they manage to defeat the Bolton army. Ramsay retreated to Winterfell, where Jon beat him into the mud and locked him up in the dungeons.  Sansa demanded to know where Ramsay is being kept and in a horrifying scene, released his own hounds on him. Apparently, Ramsay had been starving them for almost a week... and the hounds had developed an appetite for human flesh, thanks to the egregious Ramsey, himself.

In Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen refused to surrender to the Masters. She summoned Drogon, her firstborn dragon, and proceeded to  burn the Masters' fleet, forcing them to surrender. Yara and Theon Greyjoy arrived in Meereen offering their ships to Daenerys, and swearing loyalty to help her take the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms.

However, the question which has dominated social media after the show was: Who is Jon Snow? Or more accurately, who was Jon Snow's father? 

We now know that he is not Eddard (Ned) Stark's son as we were led to believe in 58 episodes of the series. Jon Snow is in fact, Ned's nephew, the son of his beloved sister, Lyanna Stark. Well, at least we now know that he is not the son of a common peasant woman and is in fact a Stark on his mother's side. We learn all this through Bran's eyes.

So the popular hypothesis now is that Jon Snow is not Jon Stark but Jon Targaryan, son of Rhaegar Targaryan. I've noticed that in almost every single episode of GOT Season 6, someone mentioning that Lyanna was abducted and 'raped' (aargh, I hate this word) by Rhaegar. A red herring, surely.

According to the 'Jon is a Targaryan' hypothesis, Lyanna Stark, fell in love with Rhaegar Targaryan, who was apparently the most beautiful man alive. As she was promised to Robert Baratheon, Lyanna eloped with Rhagaer to the Tower of Joy. After the birth of her son, she made Ned promise her that he would take him as his own bastard, to make sure Robert did not find out he was a Targaryan. She knew that Robert had vowed to destroy every single Targaryan in the Seven Kingdom.

The beautiful Rhaegar Targaryan and the profligate Robert Baratheon.
However, Robert must have been good looking in his youth as Cercie Lannister was in love with him. 
Beautiful of course, except for the fact that Jon Stark does not resemble a Targaryan at all. Also, plots are never that symmetrical and neat in GOT. I think that Jon Snow is in fact the son of Robert Baratheon. Apart from the dark swarthy looks, there is the ambivalent attitude that Ned has towards him. As in the previous scenario, Lyanna was promised to Robert, but she was secretly in love with Rhaegar. What if it was Robert who forced himself on Lyanna, who later fled with Rhaegar to escape having to marry him? 

Carice van Houten as Melisandre in Game of Thrones
Melisandre is so powerful, she is impervious to cold. She was convinced that Stannis Baratheon would defeat Ramsay Bolton and become Lord of Winterfell. She also perpetrated an unspeakable atrocity by convincing Stannis to sacrifice his own daughter, Shireen, by fire  - an act which doomed him in the end.
I admit that the 'Jon is a Baratheon' hypothesis is based mainly on the Red Priestess Melisandre's visions and actions. First of all, why was she so convinced that Stannis Baratheon would sit on the Iron Throne? Why ally herself with him when there were many other potential kings to chose from? Did she know secretly that a Baratheon would sit on the Iron Throne, after Robert's death? 

In the last season, she was convinced that Stannis Baratheon would defeat Ramsay Bolton and take over as Lord of Winterfell because she saw the Baratheon banner hanging in Winterfell in one of her visions. But we all know that Stannis and his army were routed by the Bolton forces and he was ultimately executed by Brienne of Tarth. However, if Jon Snow/Stark is in fact Jon Baratheon, her vision would make sense. A Baratheon did become Lord of Winterfell...

And a second reason for thinking that Jon Snow is in fact Jon Baratheon is our impression that A Song of Ice and Fire refers to the union of the House of Stark and the House of Targaryan. There is Lyanna and Rhaegar of course, but they were ill-fated. Perhaps the Song actually refers to the union of Jon and Deanarys? This will bring together three great Houses - Baratheon, Stark and Targaryan (assuming Jon is a Baratheon).

The shortfall of this theory is this:  Why did Ned Stark conceal Jon's identity from Robert Baratheon? Was it to protect Jon from the Lannisters? Or perhaps, his sister did not want her son to be raised by a man she despised? Hmm... a disturbing thought just arose... what if Jon is the son of Stannis Baratheon?

However, the more pressing question is, was there a terrible mistake in the casting of Yara Greyjoy? Apparently, this is how the producers of Game of Thrones see Yara Greyjoy...

Gemma Whelan plays Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones
And this is how viewers imagine Yara Greyjoy should look like...Muah hah hah. Incidentaly, my esteem for Theon Greyjoy, whom I used to dismiss each time he appeared on screen, has risen considerably after what he went through at the hands of the monstrous Ramsay Bolton. Theon is a true Ironborn and a greater man than his father or uncle.
Anna Silk plays Bo Denis in the SciFi series Lost Girl

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