Should We Still Be Rooting For Jon Snow On Game Of Thrones?

Photo: Courtesy Of HBO.
This may or may not be news to you, but some people really freaking hate Game Of Thrones’s Jon Snow (Kit Harington). I first realised this about a month ago, and my jaw dropped. Everyone was so worried about his “death” ahead of last season, and now fans are actively rooting against the North’s pouty, man bun sporting, know-nothing king? How? Then, I watched Thrones’s season 7 premiere, “Dragonstone,” with bated breath and came to the conclusion that Jon Snow just might be The Worst. On his own, the former Night’s Watch commander seems like one of the last great handsome and honourable men in Westeros. But, when you add Jon’s "half-sister"-slash-actual cousin Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) to the equation, he starts to seem a lot less swoon-worthy and a lot more pigheaded. Friends, Jon just might not be worthy of your allegiance.
When we first check in with the Stark-Snow "siblings" for season 7, we’re in Winterfell’s hearth, where all important Northern business is figured out. Jon is laying down his plans as the region’s new royal, explaining two castles need to be fortified: Last Hearth and Karhold. The former belongs to House Umber, while the latter belongs to the Karstarks, who are an ancient offshoot the Stark bloodline, going back one thousand years. Both Houses fought with Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) against the Stark alliance in the Battle Of The Bastards, with (the now-dad) Smalljon Umber (Dean S. Jagger) going so far as to hand over Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson) to his sadistic new lord. We all know how that ended for the Stark lordling. When Lord Yohn Royce of The Vale (Rupert Vansittart) recommends reducing the traitors’ castles to rubble, Sansa has a much more level-headed idea: giving the much-needed strongholds to families loyal to the New North. That way, the Stark-Snows prove there are rewards for loyalty and punishments for treason. As Sansa is dropping this knowledge, Jon’s mouth literally falls open, and he couldn’t look more uncomfortable about this young woman just yammering on next to him about policy. Ugh, how rude of her.
To prove his dominance, Jon ignores Sansa’s council and insists he can’t strip the Umbers and Karstarks of their "ancestral homes" over the "crimes of a few reckless sons," ignoring the fact that the Karstarks’s so-called "rebellious" actions led to the brutal murder of young Rickon Stark. Sansa doesn’t take Jon’s word as law and continues to needle her brother over his judgement in front of the entire court, reminding him Smalljon and Harald Karstark (Paul Rattray) died fighting against Jon, not for him. His family might not deserve to reap the benefits over the men who died defending the northern king. Jon doesn’t love it.
The King In The North ignores his sister’s council and attempts to make a rousing speech to defend his "final" decision, invoking the words of the late Ned Stark (Sean Bean) to make his point. The logic still isn’t there. Hypothetically, Jon could give the castles to his loyal bannerman and make the children of the dead Smalljon and Harald wards of the newly-seated lords. That is similar to what happened after the Greyjoy Rebellion when the Iron Islands revolted against The Crown, leading to Theon Greyjoy’s boyhood placement in Winterfell so many years ago. That didn’t go well, but it's because Theon (Alfie Allen) has intense daddy issues.
In the next scene, Jon whines about Sansa criticising him in front of the entire North, saying, "You are my sister, but I am king now." Sansa shoots back with a perfect dig, asking, "Will you start wearing a crown?" Jon again ignores his sister, continuing on with his rant, saying "When you question my decisions in front of the other lords and ladies, you undermine me." He explains of course Sansa can question him, just never, ever, in front of other people, ever. Cue the eyerolls. The problem with Jon’s undermining-obsessed hissy fit is he never gives Sansa a chance to voice her opinions in the first place. I assume the king thought about his royal decrees prior to "Dragonstone's" meeting of lords and ladies — it’s not like he showed up to riff off the cuff like other real-life leaders. If Jon had simply asked Sansa what she thought prior to standing up in front of 100 noblemen and wildlings, he would have gotten her private opinions ahead of time. Clearly, he skipped that item on his to-do list, meaning Sansa has no choice but to share her educated thoughts in an extremely public arena.
If only this could be where Jon’s childish behaviour ends. Unfortunately, we’re not so lucky. When Sansa explains demonic boy king Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) also hated when people questioned his authority, Jon gets deeply offended. "Do you think I’m Joffrey?," he asks, missing the point, and sounding uncomfortably close to Fox News’s special snowflake Tucker Carlson. Instead of the pair continuing their important conversation about Jon respecting his sister’s nuanced understanding of politics, Sansa has to sooth Jon’s ego, promise he’s nothing like Joffrey, and remind him he’s doing amazing, sweetie.
All the siblings’ tension boils down to one exchange, when Jon harshly and somewhat sarcastically asks, "How should I be smarter, by listening to you?" Sansa replies, "Would that be so terrible?" No, of course not. Sansa has observed the way Westeros’ most masterful politicos operate for years, while Jon was busy being such a terrible Night’s Watch leader he was stabbed to death for it. Maybe the person who wasn’t viciously murdered for irresponsible leadership should get a say in certain matters.
On top of all of this, the only reason the Stark-Snows even survived the Battle of the Bastards is thanks to Sansa's ingenious military decision to request last-minute aide from the Knights Of The Vale. Still, Jon refuses to accept Sansa’s council about new queen Cersei Lannister’s ruthlessness when it comes to her enemies. Instead, he low-key calls out Sansa for possibly admiring the mad queen’s relentlessness. The last time Jon didn't respect Sansa's intel on someone she knew much more intimately than her brother, he almost died in the middle of a battle.
Although Jon is bizarrely obsessed with whether or not Sansa is undermining him, he does still have some feminist cred left. He informs his lords that every single child will learn how to defend the North — whether they're girls or boys. The King In The North follows up that decision by naming teen girl Alys Karstark (Megan Parkinson) as the new Lady Of Karhold. If Jon could start applying these progressive ideas to his interactions with local political genius Sansa Stark, he might just prove he's worthy of wearing a crown. And, if not, someone needs to start measuring Sansa's cranial dimensions ASAP because #ImWithHer.
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