Not only is Jon Snow the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, he’s also Game of Thrones’ most well-rounded character.
Jon Snow was raised as an outsider. He could never forget his bastard status, constantly reminded that he’ll never amount to be anything special. For the most part, Jon was fine with that. He never sought power or leadership, and he was content to quietly show support for someone he believed in. But no matter what he was told, somehow Jon always ended up in a leadership position.
You’ve heard it time and again: those who don’t seek power are the most worthy of it. In Westeros’ game of thrones, Jon Snow might just be the most reluctant to play, yet he consistently winds up in powerful positions. He’s the epitome of the reluctant hero.
Jon has humble beginnings, but he’s naturally grown into a competent, capable leader. He may not want all of the responsibility that comes with being king, but this lack of entitlement, his birthright, tutelage, and experience make him the best candidate to sit the Iron Throne and rule Westeros.
Jon is the rightful heir to the Throne
If nothing else, Jon deserves to rule Westeros because he’s the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. After Aerys Targaryen’s death, his son Rhaegar Targaryen was next of kin to rule. Upon Rhaegar’s death, the next in line to succeed the Iron Throne would be his son. Though unknown to many, Rhaegar had his marriage to Elia Martell annulled, allowing him to then marry Lyanna Stark. Rhaegar and Lyanna subsequently had a baby together, that baby being Jon Snow. Given that Rhaegar and Lyanna did marry, this makes Jon a legitimate heir to the Throne.
Of course, you could argue that lineage doesn’t matter, given that Robert Baratheon took the Iron Throne by force and ruled for many years. However, if Westeros is to stop living in chaos, the first big step is to hit the reset button, starting from the top, down.
Barring a few outliers, Westeros’ current traditions operate by ancestry. Land and power is passed along to next of kin, not by a democratic vote or a fight to the death. But Robert’s Rebellion incited a free-for-all that’s given many the belief that they deserve to rule the Iron Throne just as much as the next person. Should Jon sit the Iron Throne, Westeros’ tradition will be in place once again, hopefully quelling any further attempts by others to take the Throne by force.
Jon isn’t afraid to make the tough decisions
A king or queen will inevitably have to make difficult decisions during his or her reign, often choosing between what’s right and what’s easy. Jon Snow has proven time and again in Game of Thrones that he’s not afraid to do what’s right.
One of the biggest controversial decisions Jon has made is to unite the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings. For over a thousand years, these two groups have fought, yet Jon has been able to create peace between the two. This decision proved to be so unpopular, it got him killed. More on that later, though.
Jon has also had to make the tough decision to execute his own people. Although Jon has the reputation of being ‘soft,’ he made the difficult call to fatally punish those who betrayed him. One of those on the execution block was just a boy. Of course, having been raised by Ned Stark, Jon also did the dirty deed himself because “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”
As well, Jon is one of the few who understands that the real threat to Westeros is the White Walkers, and this game of thrones is inconsequential when winter finally comes. Despite the Night’s Watch not customarily taking a side in matters of the realm, Jon ends up openly declaring his loyalties to Daenerys. This decision was not popular among his cohorts, but for Jon, it was a last ditch bid to convince Cersei how important the White Walker fight is.
Jon has learned from the best
Over the years, Jon has had many mentors to learn from, and he’s absorbed it all like a sponge. Probably the first mentor that comes to mind is Ned Stark, who set a good foundation for Jon about nobility and doing what’s right. After leaving Winterfell, Jon gained a new, similar mentor in Jeor Mormont. While Mormont is also a man of honor, he further taught Jon of priorities and long-term thinking. Fellow Night’s Watch brother Qhorin Halfhand helped Jon understand the necessity of never giving up.
It wasn’t only soldiers who have guided Jon, either. Though Maester Aemon developed a strong bond with Sam, he still imparted some wisdom to Jon over the years. Likewise, Jon’s peers have also proved to be sources of mentorship, specifically his best friend Sam. Sam’s life experiences have caused him to view the world differently from Jon, often providing Jon a perspective he hadn’t previously thought of.
Enemies have also proven to be great instructors for Jon. Mance was a perfect example of defending your people no matter the cost, and not wavering from what you know is right. Alliser Thorne’s betrayal was also a lesson to Jon that sometimes you can be too trusting and forgiving.
The best leaders have the best teachers, and Jon hasn’t been short on those.
Jon can create allies out of enemies
As a king, a leader of seven kingdoms, it’s vital to have the ability to keep peace amongst your people, and create peace out of your enemies. More so than any other character on Game of Thrones, Jon Snow excels at seeing things from other people’s perspectives, and earning their trust.
Jon may have made some enemies during this game of thrones (some certain Night’s Watch traitors come to mind), but he’s mostly proven to be a great diplomat. His shining moment is, of course, uniting the Night’s Watch and the Free Folk.
The men guarding the Wall and the people who live beyond it have a long history of friction. For over a thousand years, the Wildlings have attempted to invade the Seven Kingdoms and live south of the Wall. For over a thousand years their attempts have failed. It wasn’t until Jon Snow temporarily joined their ranks that any progress was made.
Although Jon was faking his allegiance to the Wildlings in order to spare his own life, he gained an appreciation for their way of life and perspective. He ends up allowing the Wildlings to cross through the Wall and make the North their home. It was a controversial decision, one that ultimately got him killed, but it also created new, strong allies for the Night’s Watch.
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