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A Games of Thrones – Jon1

A Games of Thrones - Jon 1

A feast is held in honor of the king. Jon expresses his desire to join the Night’s Watch.

Chapter Summary

Jon Snow sat near the back of Winterfell’s great hall during the welcome feast for King Robert. He observes the royal family’s arrival, including Queen Cersei, Catelyn, Robert, and their children. Ben Stark approached to see Ghost and praised Jon’s keen observation skills, suggested that Jon would be an asset on the Wall. Jon impulsively asked to join the Night’s Watch, recognizing that Winterfell held no future for him as a bastard. Ben cautioned him about the Watch’s restrictions on marriage and fatherhood. Undeterred, Jon vowed never to father a bastard. His outburst drew curious glances from the other guests, and Jon fled in tears.

Outside, he encounters Tyrion, who advises him to embrace his status as a bastard. Tyrion shares his own experiences, emphasizing that bastards need not be defined by their birth. As Tyrion returns to the hall, his shadow momentarily makes him appear as tall as a king.

Scene Setup

This whole chapter speaks middle-age cottage-core cozy aesthetic to me and I am melting into it. The great hall is adorned with banners and torches. Long wooden tables stretch across the room, laden with platters of roasted meats, bread, and fruits. Nobles and guests sit on benches, their conversations echoing under the vaulted ceiling. The air is filled with laughter, music, and the clinking of goblets as the feast celebrates the royal visit. George R. R. Martin paints a beautiful imagery through his words

The Great Hall of Winterfell was hazy with smoke and heavy with the smell of roasted meat and fresh-baked bread. Its grey stone walls were draped with banners. White, gold, crimson: the direwolf of Stark, Baratheon’s crowned stag, the lion of Lannister. A singer was playing the high harp and reciting a ballad, but down at this end of the hall his voice could scarcely be heard above the roar of the fire, the clangor of pewter plates and cups, and the low mutter of a hundred drunken conversations.


This chapter is so beautiful for character study. They are depicted with depth and nuance, each struggling with their own personal challenges and societal expectations.

Jon Snow

Jon comes out as a complex character grappling with his identity as a bastard in a world where lineage defines one’s place in society. He is observant and has a strong bond with his direwolf, Ghost, which suggests a deep connection to his Stark heritage despite his illegitimacy. 

”...You have more of the north in you than your brothers."

Jon’s desire to join the Night’s Watch indicates a yearning for purpose and acceptance, and his interaction with Tyrion Lannister reveals his vulnerability and the internal conflict he faces regarding his status.

Jon trembled. “I will never father a bastard,” he said carefully. “Never!” He spat it out like venom

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion emerges as an intelligent character. As a dwarf, he faces societal prejudice and mistreatment due to his appearance. His wit and intelligence shine through his conversation with Jon, where he advises him to embrace his status as a bastard. Tyrion’s vulnerability and empathy reveal a depth beyond his physical stature. His shadow, momentarily elongated, symbolizes the potential for greatness despite societal limitations.

“What do you know about being a bastard?”

“All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.”

Benjen Stark

Ben is portrayed as observant and pragmatic. He recognizes Jon’s potential but also warns him of the harsh realities of life at the Wall. His advice to Jon is grounded in the stark truths of their world, suggesting a man who has seen much and understands the weight of the choices one makes.

Playing with words

Born a bastard

Jon has a deep sense of exclusion and longing for acceptance. It is palpable when he vehemently declares that he will never father a bastard himself. This statement, made in a moment of emotional vulnerability, tells his internal struggle with his identity and the societal prejudices he faces.

“I am almost a man grown,” Jon protested. “I will turn fifteen on my next name day, and Maester Luwin says bastards grow up faster than other children.”

Maester Luwin also knows bastards must develop resilience and self-reliance more quickly, as they cannot rely on the same level of support and recognition given to trueborn children. 

The encounter with Tyrion Lannister offers a moment of reflection and potential empowerment. Tyrion’s advice to embrace his status as a strength rather than a weakness suggests a path for Jon to redefine his circumstances on his own terms. It’s a pivotal moment that hints at Jon’s potential to transform his feelings of shame into a source of resilience.

“Remember this, boy. All dwarfs may be bastards, yet not all bastards need be dwarfs.”


This chapter has a beautiful scene where George R.R. Martin mentions the light that throws Tyrion’s shadow across the yard, and for an instant, he looks as tall as a king. This imagery is powerful. The momentary grandeur of Tyrion’s shadow symbolizes his potential for greatness despite his physical limitations. It reflects the notion that even those perceived as small or insignificant can cast a large influence, akin to a king’s.

When he opened the door, the light from within threw his shadow clear across the yard, and for just a moment Tyrion Lannister stood tall as a king

Furthermore, the imagery could be interpreted as foreshadowing Tyrion’s future significance in the unfolding events of the series. It will be interesting to see how his intelligence, wit, and strategic mind will enable him to rise above the limitations imposed upon him by society.

A Drunk Career Decision

We observe that Jon, a 14 year old boy is drunk on wine. Catelyn Stark has made him sit at the end of the hall. Outwardly he claims contentment with his place, yet internally, there is part of him which is bitter it. Enter Benjen Stark, who commends Jon’s abilities, sparking a sudden aspiration within Jon to join the Night’s Watch. However, Benjen rebuffs this wish. It seems Jon’s decision is less a calculated choice and more an impulsive reaction, driven by a yearning to demonstrate his worth to those who view him as an outcast.

“A bastard can have honor too,” Jon said. “I am ready to swear your oath.”
“You are a boy of fourteen,” Benjen said.

Some more history

We are introduced to a new character from the house of Targaryen. Not sure how this story fits in the whole sage, but for sure comes as a cautionary tale about the challenges and sacrifices that come with power and ambition in the world of Westeros.

“Daeren Targaryen was only fourteen when he conquered Dorne,” Jon said. The Young Dragon was one of his heroes.
“A conquest that lasted a summer,” his uncle pointed out. “Your Boy King lost ten thousand men taking the place, and another fifty trying to hold it. Someone should have told him that war isn’t a game.” He took another sip of wine. “Also,” he said, wiping his mouth, “Daeren Targaryen was only eighteen when he died. Or have you forgotten that part?”

Favorite Quote

And this post is incomplete without sharing my favorite quote by Tryion

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

How was reading experience? Share any thoughts or any interesting thing you noticed in the comments

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