Jon Snow

Ned's Bastard


Eddard Stark’s immutable sense of honor compelled him to bring Jon Snow to Winterfell and raise him as his own son. Lord Stark did this despite his wife’s disdain for the child and his own dishonorable conduct in breaking his wedding vows by fathering a bastard. Though the other Stark children love Jon, he remains an outsider, and he has never felt comfortable within the walls of Winterfell.

Even at age fourteen, Jon Snow is more visibly a Stark than any of his siblings. He is dark, with strong and handsome features and Eddard Stark’s dark eyes. He dresses in dark and unobtrusive colors matching his mood and personality.

For all his personal troubles, Jon can be very pleasant, and he loves his half-siblings dearly, especially Arya, who also seems to be something of an outsider due to her wild behavior. Understandably, Jon is given to fits of gloom and moodiness, and he often goes off by himself for long periods, contemplating both the past and the future. Jon’s self-doubt and isolation have led to some favorable character traits. He is independent and self-reliant. He is loyal and keeps his word, and—possibly most important—he has become adept at communication, both spoken and unspoken. Very few men possess Jon’s skill at reading another’s intentions and seeing through obfuscations to know what another is truly saying. He is particularly good at seeing hidden talents in others and at diplomatically changing another’s mind through subtle argument and reason rather than brute force. Many see these as qualities that might one day make Jon Snow a potent officer or knight. Unfortunately for Jon, his present life at Winterfell makes such a thing seem unlikely, as does his birth.

The identity of Jon Snow’s mother has long been the subject of intense speculation, and for his part, Eddard Stark refuses to speak on the matter, even to his own wife. Some claim Jon is the son of a commoner or camp follower Eddard bedded while on campaign. A far more romantic tale states Jon was conceived when Eddard visited Lady Ashara Dayne to return the sword of her husband Ser Arthur, who had perished in the fight at the Tower of Joy. Lady Dayne is known to have killed herself after Eddard’s visit by flinging herself from the battlements of Starfall Keep, but most of the stories claim this was soon after Jon’s birth.

Confusion about his true parentage is only one issue that makes Jon a lonely and confused young man. He virtually worships Lord Eddard, who treats him as warmly as he can without further enraging Catelyn. When he was a child, Jon dreamed of inheriting Winterfell, and even today, with the knowledge Robb is Eddard’s true heir, he would be content to stay in the great fortress and serve his father’s house as a knight.

Lady Catelyn treats Jon coldly, with a distant and proper courtesy that makes it clear he is not a part of her family. For his part, mindful of the popular belief bastards are wicked and treacherous, Jon does his best to avoid Catelyn and not draw her ire. He continues to live in Winterfell as a member of the household, but remains a troubled young man, assailed by guilt and shame, always in the knowledge he can never truly be a Stark

Jon Snow

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