Jon Snow's Father

The nurture/nature debate on Game of Thrones.

Posted May 16, 2019

Jon Snow’s Father

As the Game of Thrones mega series winds down to its climatic ending, let’s take a moment to celebrate the value of adoptive parents.  Adoption is a dear thing in this world. A way to make a family, not based on genetics, but on love, honor, duty and loyalty - what families are really about.

Now on to Jon Snow.

To Review:

Jon Snow, the reliable, ethical, rigorously well-intentioned hero is the biological son of Rhaegar Targaryen (heir to the Iron Throne) and Lyanna Stark, who was Eddard “Ned” Stark’s sister.  They married in secret, to preserve their union, and eventually to protect Jon’s life.  Ned’s friend and king, Robert Baratheon would have killed Jon if he had known that a legitimate competitor to the Iron Throne lived in the Seven Kingdoms. After all, Robert took Rhaegar’s life in the course of defeating Rhaegar’s father, the Mad King. 

To honor Lyanna's dying request, Eddard protected his nephew by raising the boy as his own, and taking the secret of Jon's real parents to his grave. The ruse?  Ned had a bastard son.

Jon is of mixed blood. A Targaryen, with rights to the throne and a lack of mental stability found in that gene pool, and a Stark, heir to Winterfell, and subservient to the King of the Seven Kingdoms. Though raised as Ned's bastard son, he feels the love and respect of his father (his secretly adoptive father) and models himself after this noble man, while enduring a step mother - Eddard's wife Catelyn - who resents his very existence. 

So, you have it.

Nurture or Nature:

Is Jon Stark more like his biological father, the heir to the Targaryen throne, a rash, wisely calculated keeper of secrets, and son of the Mad King? Or is he more like Ned Stark, a straight-laced, highly principled soul, with ambition only to run his own house at Winterfell?  Jon grew up believing that Ned was his biological father, and that he was a bastard by an unknown mother. Ned kept this secret to save his life.

Yes, much of Jon’s biology comes from his biological mother. That goes without saying. But on a metaphorical level, isn’t Jon a chip off the old block? He is ethical, strong minded, fair to a fault, and will not keep a secret that he believes should not be kept. And, like Ned, he pays a price for trusting others with the truth.

For more, watch the show, the plot is a precious creative endeavor.

  • I vote for nurture over nature here.

Jon is his father’s son - his adoptive father’s son.

  • With some great genes from Lyanna as well.

Here is to the value of adoptive parents.

We should all take comfort in what one human being can do for another.  

What a gift to the world.