MY LITERARY BFF

ARYA STARK AND JON SNOW

Throughout the month of April, you can catch up on my posts for this year’s challenge as well as all my alphabet offerings from previous years on my Blogging from A to Z page HERE.

When I read a great novel or a series of novels, sometimes I wish I could step into the book and join the world experienced by the characters. I just know that if I were there, I’d feel at home and contribute positively to the plot. I think it is those characters that keep me returning to works by the same author and even read those same novels over and over again.  For this year’s challenge, I plan to visit those characters we all know and love.  Those characters that we want to step off the page because we know that if they did, we’d be best friends forever.  Today, please meet Arya Stark and Jon Snow.

Arya Stark and Jon Snow

If you are reading this post on Monday, April 22, 2019, the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones aired last night.  No spoilers here unless you haven’t watched the previous seasons and still plan to [YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED OF SPOILERS].  I know there are still people out there that haven’t seen the HBO television series or haven’t read the books.  No spoilers for the current series as I am writing this on Sunday, April 7th.
I have never read the novels and hadn’t heard of it until it was the topic around the proverbial watercooler at the office.  I didn’t subscribe to HBO at the time, so I had to wait until season one was released on DVD.  Once I started watching season one, I was hooked and couldn’t switch to reading the novels.  I tried but the world that George R. R. Martin created is so complex and the number of characters is so vast, I think a companion character dictionary would be needed.  There is a companion character guide to the novels.   There is also an app for IOS and possibly Android that includes 540 characters and 380 places.

George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire Series)

For today’s post, I bring you Arya Stark and Jon Snow.  They are from the same family; however in Westeros when a child is born illegitimate, the child is not given the surname of his father but is given a name that depicts the area where the birth occurred.  In the story, Eddard “Ned” Stark, Arya’s father, claimed Jon as his son and since it was in the Northern lands of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, he is given the surname, Snow.

The Starks at Winterfell lined up for the Kings arrival

Arya Stark is the youngest daughter of Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark and Lady Catelyn Stark.  She is a tomboy who turns her back on the pursuits generally associated with females of Westeros.  Instead Arya seeks to learn how to swordfight and shoot an arrow.  Before Jon and Arya part ways early in the story, he gives her a gift.  It is a sword of a size fit for a girl of eleven years and made of the best material available for swords, Valyrian steel. She gives it a name, Needle.

Arya Stark and the gift from Jon Snow, a sword she names Needle

Arya is a girl that seeks to protect those she loves.  We see this protection of others in her treatment of her pet dire wolf, Nymeria.
Often in good stories, there is an event that is cataclysmic in shaping a character for the rest of the story.  For Arya Stark, this was watching her father’s beheading after he is falsely arrested for treason against the new king, Joffrey Baratheon.  Escaping the city, Arya begins her journey figuratively and actually towards her life plan.  She doesn’t know what that life will entail; but she has a list of persons of Westeros that have earned her wrath.  By the time Arya finds herself among family again, it is beyond George R. R. Martin’s published novels and Arya is a full fledged assasin.  She is home in Winterfell and in perfect position to play a role in the final chapter of this saga (Season 8 on HBO).
Jon Snow is the bastard that Eddard “Ned” Stark claimed as his son.  As a baby he was brought to Winterfell, the Stark homestead and raised among the other Stark children.  He was not favored by Ned’s wife, Catelyn because of all that his illegitimacy means.  Raised at Winterfell, he learned all the skills expected of a son of a great Lord but he also knows his place as a bastard.  It was these skills and his bastard status that lead him to join the Night’s Watch.

Jon Snow, Brandon Stark and Robb Stark at Wintefell

The Night’s Watch is a military order dedicated to holding the Wall, the immense fortification on the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, defending the realm from what lies beyond the Wall.  After a rough start, Jon learns to think of the other members of the Night’s Watch as his brothers.  He develops a deep and lasting friendship with Samwell Tarly but he also makes enemies.
Though the Wall is very far north, the Night’s Watch do receive information by way of ravens from the south so Jon does learn of Ned’s beheading.  Through his work with the Night’s Watch, Jon finds himself among a group of people that live beyond the Wall.  The wildlings are considered enemies of Westeros.  Jon pretends to join them in order to detect their plans but falls in love with a wildling women, Ygritte.
He eventually returns to the Wall and wants the Night’s Watch to work together with the wildlings because Jon learned that the real threat to everyone is the White Walkers which are zombie-like creatures with glowing blue eyes.  This threat is unlimited becuase when persons die, they rise as White Walkers if the corpse is not set on fire.  At the Wall, Jon’s enemies turn most men of the Night’s Watch against him and eventually he is murdered by them.  This is not the end of Jon Snow because a witch-like woman named Melisandre brings him back to life.
Having been betrayed by his brotherhood, Jon returns to Winterfell to fight a threat to his family home and Sansa Stark, Arya’s sister.  At Wintefell, he defeats the threat, Sansa’s husband, Ramsay Bolton and gathers other northern leaders to tell them about the White Walkers.  They make him their King, the King of the North.

Sir Davos, Jon Snow, Sansa Stark

As the 7th season of the HBO series comes to a close, it is well beyond the published novels of George R. R. Martin.  We learn some things about Jon’s birth origins that some other characters know but Jon doesn’t. Under the goal of defeating the White Walkers, Jon travels to meet Daenerys Targaryen (tomorrows BFF post) and forms a multi-faceted alliance.  They have not arrived before the season ended but John and Daenerys with her dragons are on their way to Winterfell.
Meanwhile, the White Walker threat reveals itself in epic proportion at the Wall.  Season 8 on HBO should be epic.

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4 responses

  1. Lael-Heart says:

    I tried to read the books too and found the same problem. Your account of things is very readable!! I enjoyed it.

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  2. Liam says:

    An assassin and a guy who came back from the dead would make good friends. My wife was obsessed with the books long before the tv show. I listened to the audio books after watching the show. Honestly the books can get a bit bloated and the show (mostly) streamlines the plot into better storytelling. Don’t tell my wife I said that.

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