“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle. Who knows?” —Jon Snow
Jon Snow is perhaps the most honorable and heroic character in Game of Thrones—and yet he’s committed numerous sins. Initially considered a lowly bastard, he may yet have a greater claim to the Seven Kingdoms than anyone alive. Here are 23 facts about everyone’s favourite Game of Thrones hero, Jon Snow.
23. Teen Dream
When Jon first appears in the books, he is only fourteen. The TV series ages him a wee bit, but he is still only seventeen during the first season.
22. But Not The Youngest
Although Jon is very young, he isn’t the youngest Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. That honour belonged to Osric Stark, who made Lord Commander at the tender age of 10.
21. Rightful Claim
Jon’s sword Longclaw originally belonged to Jeor Mormont, Jorah Mormont’s father, and it was at first passed down to the Mormont son. After Jorah went into exile, however, the sword returned to Jeor, and he then gave it to Jon.
20. The 998th
Britain has only had 66 monarchs over the course of its history, but the Night’s Watch has been around for a little bit longer than the British Empire: 8,000 years to be exact. Because of this long history, Jon Snow is the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
19. He’s A Warg
Yes, a warg—at least in the books. Jon, like Bran, is a skinchanger. He has a unique ability to project his consciousness into the bodies of animals or occasionally other human beings. In particular, Jon can enter the mind of his direwolf, Ghost.
18. The Bastard Snow
Snow is the name given to children born out of wedlock in the North. Bastards are not allowed to take their father’s names in Westeros and instead are given a common surname related to their region. Other names include “Hill” for the Westerlands, “Stone” for the Vale of Arryn, and “Sand” for Dorne.
17. Don’t Let History Repeat
Jon clearly resents being a bastard. When BenJen Stark warns Jon that he will be giving up any chance of a family in joining the Night’s Watch, Jon replies that he doesn’t care and later says that he would never want a child that is a bastard because he wouldn’t want them to live with shame like he did.
16. Not a Bastard After All
Although Jon long-believed (as did we all) that he was the acknowledged bastard of Ned Stark, it turns out he is actually the son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. His real name? Aegon Targaryen.
15. Most Devastating
The biggest death in Game of Thrones—and let’s face it, we’ve had lots of deaths to choose from—was Jon’s death in the Season 5 finale. Over 50% of people in a recent poll chose Jon’s death as the most devastating event of the series. No mean feat considering the Red Wedding (polling at 45%) was in the race.
14. He Almost Died As A Baby
Catelyn Stark tells her daughter-in-law Talia that she long-prayed for Jon’s death. Yet when Jon was struck down with pox Catelyn spent all night at his bedside, wracked with guilt, praying for him to live.
13. Last Words
The last words that Catelyn Stark says to Jon before he leaves for the wall are, “it should have been you.” She is referring to Bran’s fall from the tower and his subsequent paralysis.
12. Not Dead Yet
Accusing Jon of being a traitor to the Watch, Alliser Thorne, Bowen Marsh and others of the Night’s Watch assassinated Jon, and he’s left to die. The Red Priestess Melisandre, however, later brings him back to life.
11. Stark at Heart
Jon Snow, on paper, looks more like a Stark than any of his TV siblings: he has the long face, dark brown hair, and grey eyes of the Starks. He must take after his mother, Lyanna.
10. Legitimate Heir x 2
In the books, Robb Stark makes Jon his heir just before he dies. Robb does this in response to Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion Lannister; he wants to prevent the Lannisters from taking control of Winterfell.
9. Childhood Heroes
Somewhat prophetically, as child playing make-believe heroes with his brother Robb, long before he knew his true birthright, Jon preferred to play the role of Daeron Targaryen, the Young Dragon who at age 14 conquered Dorne.
Jon Snow is the first inhabitant of Westeros to come face-to-face with both White Walkers and dragons.
7. We Meet Again
In the books, Jon first meets the King Beyond the Wall and the sworn enemy of the Night’s Watch, Mance Rayder, as a child. At the time, Rayder was a ranger of the Night’s Watch. Jon and his brother Robb had collected a pile of snow on top of the castle gate and were planning to dump it on the next passerby. Rayder discovered them and kept their secret.
6. Inverted Sigil
Jon’s sigil is the same of as that of his Stark siblings, but with inverted colors—hence his symbolic white dire wolf, Ghost.
Jon is considered by some to be a deserter of the Night’s Watch: after he dies and is resurrected, he claims that, since he died, his watch has ended; Jon then leaves his post.
4. Secret Weapon
Jon is the first, at least in the current age, to figure out that Valyrian steel, like dragon glass, can kill a white walker.
3. Fan Favorite
In a poll of Game of Throne’s fans, Jon was voted the greatest hero (33%), far ahead of his next closest rival Daenerys Targaryen, who came in at at 17%.
2. Claim to Fame
As the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, Jon may have a stronger claim to the Iron Throne than Daenerys. Although Jon bent the knee in the TV show, according to the rules of primogeniture, which seem to dominate in Game of Thrones, as the last surviving male child of Rhaegar, Jon’s claim trumps that of his aunt Daenerys, who is neither a male nor an elder child. The fact that Jon’s mother was a Stark further cements his claim.
Jon may just be the savior of the Seven Kingdoms. Prophecies predict that Azor Ahai, the Prince who was promised and who saved the Seven Kingdoms from the White Walkers one thousand years ago, will be reborn and save the Kingdoms again. There is plenty of proof that Jon Snow is Azor Ahai: He is both ice (from mother Lyanna Stark) and fire (from father Rhaegar Targaryen). He has a sword, courtesy of Jeor Mormont, that can kill White Walkers. Oh, and he’s already been brought back from the dead.