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Jon Snow

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"A bastard boy with nothing to inherit, off to join the ancient order of the Night's Watch. Alongside his valiant brothers in arms..."
Tyrion Lannister on Jon Snow[src]

Jon Snow is a major character in the first and second seasons. He is played by starring cast member Kit Harington and debuts in the series premiere. Jon Snow is the bastard son of the late Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell. Jon is a steward in the Night's Watch. Now serving on the Wall, Jon has found a place of acceptance where the circumstances of his birth are of little importance. Jon has a pet direwolf named Ghost. He wields the bastard sword Longclaw, which was a gift from Lord Commander Jeor Mormont who sees Jon as a surrogate son.



Jon is the alleged bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell. Eddard is the head of House Stark and Lord Paramount of the North. The North is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Stark is one of the Great Houses of the realm. House Stark rule the region from their seat of Winterfell and Eddard also holds the title Lord of Winterfell. He is also the Warden of the North to King Robert Baratheon.[1]

The identity of his mother is the source of much speculation. Eddard once told King Robert Baratheon that Jon's mother is a serving girl named Wylla, but refused to elaborate any further. Jon himself has no knowledge of his mother.[2]

Jon was raised at Winterfell on an equal footing with Eddard's legitimate children. He has an older half-brother Robb, two younger half-sisters Sansa and Arya, and two younger half-brothers Bran and Rickon. Jon's presence at Winterfell is a source of friction between Eddard and his wife, Catelyn. Jon got on well with his half-siblings, particularly Robb and Arya.[3]

Season 1

Jon Snow and Robb instruct Bran in archery, when they learn about a captured deserter. Jon accompanies his father, Robb, Bran and Theon Greyjoy to the beheading of a deserter from the Night's Watch; it is Bran's first time seeing something like this and Jon praises Bran on his decorum afterwards. On their way back to Winterfell, they find a dead direwolf and six newborn pups. Jon talks Lord Eddard into allowing the young Starks to adopt them, he takes the runt of the litter, an albino, as his own, naming him Ghost. Treated coldly by his stepmother, Jon decides to approach his uncle Benjen and offer to join the Night's Watch.[4] He meets Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf who knows what it is like to be an outcast. Tyrion tells him to where the name "bastard" as a badge of honor so no one can hurt him with the word.

Jon has a run in with Jaime Lannister who thanks him for protecting all of them from the terrible things beyond the Wall, but really he was just making fun of Jon. Before Jon departs for the wall, he says goodbye to Bran, who has been injured in a fall. He gives Arya a sword named Needle that he had made especially for her, advising her to "Stick them with the pointy end." At their parting, Eddard vows to tell Jon the truth about his mother the next time they meet. Jon is travelling with Benjen and Tyrion Lannister, who has expressed a desire to see the Wall, and pee off of it, before he dies.[5]

At Castle Black, Jon's expectations of the Night's Watch are confounded. Instead of a brotherhood of noble warriors sworn to defend the realm from wildlings and White Walkers, he realizes the Watch is a dumping ground for criminals and wastrels. He earns the enmity of Ser Alliser Thorne, the Master-at-Arms in charge of training new recruits. He humiliates his fellow recruits with his superior fighting skills, learned from Winterfell's Master-at-Arms over the course of many years. Benjen stands with Jon on his first watch and tells him that he is going ranging North of the Wall. Jon is keen to accompany him but Benjen insists that he complete his training. Tyrion helps Jon see that he is no better than the recruits but has been afforded more advantages than them. Jon offers to train some of his new brothers and Pypar and Grenn accept.[6] He also befriends Samwell Tarly when he arrives at Castle Black and helps to protect him from the cruelty of Thorne. Thorne angrily tells Jon that going easy on Sam won't help him, and will risk getting him killed during the next winter.[7]

Jon and Sam oaths

Jon and Sam swear their oaths to the Old Gods in "You Win or You Die".


Jon encounters a wight at Castle Black.

Jon and Jeor

Lord Commander Mormont rewards Jon Snow.

After completing his training, Jon is inducted into the Night's Watch and swears his oath. He is assigned to the stewards rather than the rangers, he thinks it is due to his ongoing feud with Ser Alliser Thorne. Sam points out that Lord Commander Jeor Mormont has asked for Jon as his personal steward, and may be grooming him for command. Jon is concerned when his Uncle Benjen's horse returns to the Wall riderless. Later, Ghost finds the corpses of two rangers assigned to Benjen, Othor and Ser Jafer Flowers.[8] Learning of Eddard's imprisonment in King's Landing, Thorne taunts Jon about being a traitor's bastard, causing Jon to draw a knife. He is restricted to quarters. Later, Othor's corpse becomes a wight and attacks Commander Mormont. Jon saves Mormont's life by burning the wight, earning a pardon for his earlier misdemeanour.[9] Mormont also gives Jon his Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw. Jon ponders abandoning the Watch to join Robb's army when it marches against the Lannisters, but Maester Aemon tells him that he chose to stay with the Watch when he was similarly tested, when Robert Baratheon's rebels slew his nephew the Mad King and his son and grandchildren.[10]

News of Eddard's execution reaches Castle Black. Jon immediately leaves, meaning to join Robb and seek vengeance for his father's death. Samwell, Pypar and Grenn intercept him and convince him to stay. Mormont tells Jon their war against the White Walkers is more important than the game of thrones in King's Landing. He tells Jon that the Watch is marching beyond the Wall in force, to find Benjen and learn the truth about the threat. Jon snwears to him not to attempt to desert again and accompanies the troops as they set out.[11]

Season 2

Main: Jon Snow Season 2

Lord Commander Jeor Mormont prepares Jon for a command role as the Great Ranging travels North seeking Benjen Stark and an explanation for the wight attack. They pass through several abandoned wildling villages before arriving at the home of their unsavory ally Craster. Jon is perplexed when he learns that Craster marries his daughters but apparently has no sons. He takes an instant dislike to Craster when they meet with him. The feeling is mutual but Craster does reveal to Jeor that he has not seen Benjen and that the wildlings are gathering with their leader, King Beyond the Wall Mance Rayder. Jeor reprimands Jon for failing to follow his lead with Craster.[12]

Samwell Tarly appeals to Jon to aid Craster's pregnant daughter wife Gilly. She is afraid of having a son but will not say why. Jon is frustrated and refuses to disobey Jeor's order to leave Craster's wives alone. Jon sees Craster carrying a newborn into the woods and follows him. He sees Craster leave the child for a White Walker but does not recognize the creature. Craster spots him and knocks him out.[13] Craster disarms Jon and drags him back to his keep. He expels the rangers from his home. Jeor reveals that he knew that Craster was sacrificing his sons but chose to ignore it because of his usefulness as an ally.[14]

Arriving at the fist of the first men

Jon at the Fist of the First Men

The rangers reach the ancient fortified peak known as the Fist of the First Men and await Qhorin Halfhand and his party from The Shadow Tower. When Qhorin arrives he suggests altering their tactics and using small groups to overcome Mance's lookouts in the Skirling Pass. Jon asks to join Qhorin's raiders and Jeor lets him go.[15]

Ygritte caught

Qhorin and Jon Snow take Ygritte captive

Jon lies with Ygritte 2x6

Jon and Ygritte share body heat in "The Old Gods and the New

Qhorin leads his men into the pass and they locate and ambush the wildling watchers. Jon realizes his opponent is a woman and hesitates to kill her. She introduces herself as Ygritte but does not give away details of Mance's plans. Qhorin leaves Jon alone to execute Ygritte. Jon is unable to do it and she escapes. He pursues and recaptures her but they become separated from Qhorin's group. Jon decides they cannot regroup with Qhorin due to the approaching night. Ygritte convinces Jon to sleep next to her to share body heat and keep warm, and then makes sexual advances towards him. Jon rejects the temptation to break his oath.[16]

As he unties Ygritte’s legs to continue his search for the rest of the raiders, she tells him that she knows that he is a virgin. He uses some the rope that’s binding her as a leash. As they walk, Ygritte questions Jon as to why the men of the Night’s Watch hate the wildlings. She explains that they share the blood of the first men and just happened to be on the wrong side of the wall when it was built. She urges him to forget about his oath and live free. Another sexual advance from Ygritte prompts him to reach for his sword. She backs away and trips him with the rope when he’s caught off guard. He pursues her but is ambushed and taken captive. Ygritte tells him that he should’ve took her when he had the chance.[17]

Halfhand and Jon Snow

Qhorin begins his plan for Jon.

Ygritte brings Jon to the Lord of Bones and convinces him that Mance will want to question Jon. The Lord of Bones has a prisoner of his own; Qhorin. The Halfhand tells Jon that the rest of the men were killed while they searched for him. He urges Jon to make their deaths meaningful and become a spy within the wildling ranks. He then feigns anger with Jon until he is restrained after managing to knock Jon over.[18]

Jon kills Qhorin

Jon slays Qhorin

As they make their way to Mance, Ygritte continues to playfully mock Jon by tapping him on the head with the flat of his sword. Qhorin uses the distraction to advance his plan to portray Jon as a traitor to the Night's Watch. He attacks Jon and the Lord of Bones allows them to fight. Jon is initially reluctant until Qhorin calls his father a traitor and his mother a whore. Jon slays Qhorin, stunning Ygritte and the rest of the band. Qhorin whispers a line from the Night's Watch oath to Jon with his dying breath. Jon's hands are freed, and Ygritte leads him to the crest of the mountain to look over the massive wildling encampment.[19]


Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis

Image gallery

Family tree

Lord Stark tree
Rickard Stark
Lady Stark
Brandon family tree
Brandon Stark
Catelyn Tree
Catelyn Stark
née Tully Tully shield icon
Eddard tree
Eddard Stark Stark shield icon
Unknown tree
Lyanna tree
Lyanna Stark
Benjen Tree
Benjen Stark
Night's Watch Crow shield icon
Robb fam tree
Robb Stark
Family tree Talisa
Talisa Stark
née Maegyr
100px-Tyrion tree
Tyrion Lannister Lannister shield icon
100px-Sansa tree
Sansa Stark Bolton shield icon
Ramsay Bolton Bolton shield icon
Arya family tree
Arya Stark
Bran fam tree
Bran Stark
Rickon fam tree
Rickon Stark
Jon Snow family tree image
Jon Snow
Night's Watch Night's-Watch-sigil
Ygritte tree
Ygritte Wildling shield icon


"There's great honor serving in the Night's Watch. The Starks have manned the wall for thousands of years, and you are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood."
―Eddard Stark on Jon Snow[src]

In the books

In the Song of Ice and Fire novels, Jon is 14 years old when the story begins. Jon resembles his father with a lean build, long face, and gray eyes, more than any of his true-born children. He feels alienated from his family because of his bastard status and the coldness of Lady Catelyn, who sees him as a threat to her children. At the feast to welcome King Robert, Jon is forced to seat far from his father and brothers. This and having more than he is used to to drink, coinciding with the visit by his uncle Benjen makes Jon realize that his future may lie outside Winterfell's walls. His uncle makes him mad by telling him to wait a few years before deciding, but when Eddard decides to go to King's Landing, Lady Catelyn refuses to have Jon close.

When Qhorin Halfhand's men attack the the wildling lookouts, Jon kills one, but hesitates killing the other when he realizes Ygritte is a woman. Jon says they can question her, but they don't learn much. Jon is sent by Qhorin to kill her, instead he let's her go (unarmed and alone, but with at least a chance to find her own kind). Jon returns to the Night Watch and says he killed Ygritte. Later he confesses that he let her go, Qhorin isn't too worried and says it was a test to learn what Jon would do. The ranging goes badly they are pursued and tracked, losing horses and men until only Jon and Qhorin are left. He asks Jon first if his sword is sharp, then tells him that when they are caught, Jon is to defect to the wildlings. Do whatever they ask of you to prove yourself to them: take any oath, burn your cloak, curse your leaders, etc. When captured, Qhorin goes berserk when Jon asks to join the wildlings and attacks him. Ghost helps Jon to win by biting Qhorin. As he is falling Halfhand says that the sword was sharp, and Jon realizes that he had meant to die to get Jon accepted by the wildlings.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Prince Bran Stark Heir: Prince Rickon Stark
Seat: Winterfell (formerly) Lands: The North
Title(s): King in the North · Lord Paramount of the North · Lord of Winterfell
Ancestors:Brandon the Builder · Brandon the Breaker · Dorren Stark · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Osric Stark · Torrhen Stark · Cregan Stark
Current members:Sansa Stark · Arya Stark · Benjen Stark
Deceased members:Rickard Stark · Brandon Stark · Lyanna Stark · Eddard Stark · King Robb Stark · Talisa Stark · Catelyn Stark · Jon Snow
Household:{Ser Rodrik Cassel} · {Maester Luwin} · {Jory Cassel} · {Vayon Poole} · {Septa Mordane} · Jeyne Poole · Osha · Hodor · Farlen · {Old Nan} · Mikken · Varly · Heward · Wyl · Tomard · Tommy · Jacks

Start a Discussion Discussions about Jon Snow

  • jon snow is dead?

    41 messages
    • Pretty sure he's dead. I already saw it coming from the books but still, watching a scene like that won't simply be erased from your mind. So ...
    • wrote:If jon snow is actually dead, why would anyone continue watching this show? Seriously, Wacking a favorite character doesnt m...
  • Who is Azor Ahai?

    2 messages
    • When the red star bleeds - Ser Patrek with his star sigil and R'hllor-bothering and darkness gathers, - it's nighttime. Could mean treachery...
    • I think bran is azor ahai

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