The most recent episode of Game of Thrones was rage-inducingly nonsensical, and I blame Jon Snow. I could blame the ravens, and the dragons, and the ice zombies, and George R.R. Martin for not writing faster—but I place most of the blame on Jon Snow.
I honestly don't get his appeal. Sure, he's very pretty, and his hair is curly, and his eyes are big and sad, and I can see where all of those things combined might make you want to give him a big hug—but he's so lame. I feel like the reasons are obvious, but in case you're not convinced, here's why:
1. He's boring.
Jon is boring, and his arc is boring. Upon meeting him in the pilot, I was like, "Ooh, the very skilled and handsome bastard son of an honorable lord. He seems like he has something to prove—intriguing."
And then what does Jon do? He goes and hangs out on a blizzard mountain for the next six years. Sometimes he leaves the blizzard mountain to go to blizzard plains, or blizzard forests, or blizzard abandoned towers. It's not that Jon doesn't get to do cool things (he fights zombies, which is at worst mildly interesting), it's that his story doesn't go anywhere.
Jon's sworn to the Night's Watch. He's committed to honoring that oath. And that's both incredibly admirable and incredibly dull. I've never been like, "WOW, I wonder what Jon will do this scene/episode/season," because it was always some combination of brood, shiver, and fight a zombie.
2. He's objectively bad at the things we're supposed to think he's good at.
Maybe I could forgive Jon's boring storyline if I didn't feel constantly lied to about his abilities. But it's gotten to the point where Game of Thrones is straight-up faking his competence and charisma.
Game of Thrones: Jon Snow is a man of unwavering honor and resolve, like his dad Ned Stark!
Reality: Jon Snow breaks his vow of chastity to sleep with Ygritte. Moreover, they're in a hot spring in the middle of an icy wasteland, which he hoards for sexing purposes instead of immediately telling everyone that there's a wonderful place very close by to get warm.
Game of Thrones: Jon Snow is an excellent leader.
Reality: Jon Snow abandons a plan that was well thought-out by his advisors to charge right into Ramsay Bolton's obvious trap at the Battle of the Bastards, a decision that would have most certainly lost the battle and the lives of everyone fighting for Jon if Sansa hadn't gone behind his back and enlisted the knights of the Vale to help.
Game of Thrones: Jon Snow is a fantastic tactician.
Reality: "Beyond the Wall."
Game of Thrones: Jon Snow is Daenerys Targaryen's OTP.
Reality: Watching their romance is like watching a middle schooler try to convince everyone that his cousin is his date at a dance. And that's not even an incest joke, it's an overwhelming awkwardness joke—but it works on both levels, which is also hard to stomach.
3. He serves exactly one function on the show.
Jon Snow is nothing more than a White Walker Paul Revere. His primary function in the story, so far, has been to let other people know that the Army of the Dead is coming, which is not a thing that only he can do. Eventually, he'll probably ride a dragon and/or impregnate Dany, but those are also not things I want to see such a disappointing character do. In a vivid, multidimensional world full of vivid, multidimensional characters, Jon Snow is a paper doll with a man bun.
4. He's done more bad than good since he was resurrected.
When Jon died at the end of Season 5, I was shocked, but not sad. I hoped it was real—that the show had been brave enough to kill off a character who didn't pull his weight in an otherwise rich ensemble. Of course, I didn't truly believe that the Thrones creators actually were that brave, and neither did you, and we were right.
Let's review Jon's track record since he came back from the dead, using the same very scientific method Hogwarts uses to choose who wins House Cup:
- Quits the Night's Watch: GREAT. Gives the story a chance to move forward. Ten points to
- Reunites with Sansa: Good. Not like he had to do much—she escaped a psychopath and made it through the blizzard woods to get to him, but still, it was nice. No strikes here, but no points either.
- Begrudgingly agrees to take back Winterfell: Bleh. Come on, Jon. This is your MOMENT. Be into it. Stop being the kid who thinks it's uncool to like things. Five points from Jon.
- Allows other, more qualified people to help with strategy for Battle of the Bastards: Great! Know your weaknesses and own up to them—this makes you a good leader. Fifty points to Jon!
- Ignores all of that advice the second Ramsay does something awful: TERRIBLE. I'm sorry, Rickon fans (if that's even a thing), but the off chance of saving Baby Stark wasn't worth risking the lives of every single soldier who had agreed to follow Jon—this makes you a very bad leader and negates all of the points you've amassed since gasping back to life. One hundred points from Jon.
- Whines about his objectively privileged upbringing to Melisandre: Five points from Jon.
- Banishes Melisandre from the North: How you took this is subjective, but it wasn't a strong stance. If you're Team Davos/Shireen, you probably think the punishment was too lenient. If you're Team Melisandre, you're probably like, "but I hate anything that limits the possible screen time of Melisandre." We'll call this a wash, I guess.
- Accepts the King of the North title: Controversial because Sansa is the rightful heir to Winterfell and also the entire reason they won it back at all. Ten points from Jon for stealing her thunder/birthright.
- Orders women to join the army: This is actually super progressive of you, Jon. Twenty points!
- Forgives the children of traitors: Also a really humanitarian stance. Things are looking up! Twenty points to Jon.
- Basically tells Sansa to know her place after she publicly disagrees with him: Maybe consult her before you make declarations if you don't want that happening? She has proven that she's actually better at political strategy than you on a number of occasions and she's the rightful heir to the throne you sit on, so maybe at least don't be such a jerk about it? Ten points from Jon.
- Decides to go to Dragonstone: We know Dany and Tyrion are cool, but this was a pretty dangerous gamble for a king to take. On the other hand, it left Sansa in charge. I guess that evens out.
- Denies having been literally stabbed in the heart: Why? It's not a humblebrag or anything. It's a thing that actually happened, and would make you seem more credible to a person who gained power by birthing dragons. Weirdly dumb. Ten points from Jon.
- Convinces Dany to let him mine dragonglass: Actually, JK, wait, he didn't do this. Tyrion did. No points.
- Convinces Dany that White Walkers are real! One hundred points to Jon Snow!
- Loses a dragon in the process: Totally blaming him because his non-plan was the worst plan in the history of plans, and everything is his fault. One thousand points from Jon Snow!
Total point tally: -940