Fan Theory Corner: The Northern Fool Fallacy and Jon Snow’s Motivations in season 7

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"The more people you love, the weaker you are. You’ll do things for them that you know you shouldn’t do. You’ll act the fool to make them happy, to keep them safe."

—Cersei Lannister; Game of Thrones, 2.7: A Man Without Honor

The end of Game of Thrones season 7 was neat and orderly. Although the largely uncontested villains of the series — the White Walkers and Cersei Lannister — remain on the warpath, the assumed heroes are on their way to Winterfell to fight against supernatural foes to save humanity from extinction. Toss in a little romance between Jon and Daenerys, and we’re halfway to a Disney movie, albeit a grim one.

On the surface, this tidy turn of events doesn’t have me excited. But upon further inspection — considering the nuances, dialogue, and elements of foreshadowing — I’m curious about what’s at play beneath the surface. What exactly was going through Jon Snow’s head this year?

“Here I am, a Northern fool,” Jon laments during his conversation with Tyrion on the bluffs of Dragonstone in “The Queen’s Justice.” Jon is self-aware — he’s made mistakes, and Tyrion advises him on how to proceed in spite of them. My reading is that, at this point, Jon’s ill-conceived trek to Dragonstone shifts from an attempt to form an alliance to a (largely internal) struggle to survive and escape.

Prior to his departure from Winterfell, Jon makes a speech to the Stark bannermen:

"You all named me your king. I never wanted it. I never asked for it. But I accepted it, because the North is my home. It’s part of me, and I’ll never stop fighting for it, no matter the odds."

This is typical of Jon as we’ve come to know him — he is of the North, and it is first in his heart. But then, a handful of episodes later, the audience is meant to believe that Jon has gone back on these words because he fell in love with the woman who demanded fealty at every turn, and imprisoned him when he refused. Something is rotten in the state of Westeros.

Ultimately, my conclusion is this: Jon’s arc in season 7 isn’t about romance. Rather, it’s about him taking control of an uncontrollable situation, and bending Daenerys’ demands to achieve his ends.

The heart of the issue is the question of how far will Jon go to do right by his promise to protect the North. Time to take a deep dive into character analysis, plot speculation, and theorizing.