I'm trying to discern if I am meant to definitively know what happened in one of the last chapters of the book.

(Spoilers A Dance With Dragons)

In one of the final chapters of the book, Jon Snow is betrayed by his own men, who seem to think his actions are tantamount to treason. He's stabbed at least four times, of which one was in the gut and one was in the back. The whole thing seems meant to evoke the assassination of Julius Caesar, but that's neither here nor there. The question is this: Are we meant to think he's dead (you know, because he was stabbed four times in pretty important places), or are we meant to not know (because we never see his dead body, etc.)?

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    Without having the next book in hand any answer to this will be pure speculation. – System Down Mar 8 '13 at 21:42
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    @SystemDown, that's actually an answer, I think - you're saying "we're not meant to know to know for sure", right? – Jaydles Mar 8 '13 at 22:16
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    @Jaydles A moderator with 106 reputation....? – TLP Mar 8 '13 at 23:04
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    Depends: is this a character you actually like? Then he's dead. GRRM can't stand it if you can identify with his characters, and if he momentarily slips up and lets one of them become even slightly sympathetic, then his only remedy is to kill them off. (In case you can't tell, I hate GRRM's writing.) – Martha Mar 8 '13 at 23:08
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    @TLP: he's an SE high muckety-muck. :) – Martha Mar 8 '13 at 23:12

We don't know. We have 4 possible outcomes though:

1: Jon is well and truly dead. Doesn't matter that we haven't seen his body. He just got GRRM'd.
2: Jon is barely alive and somehow manages to stay alive.
3: Jon dies and is returned by Melisandre becoming The UnJon.
4: Jon wargs into Ghost just before he truly dies.

Outcome 1 would be just like Martin to kill him off, because events like that happen in ASoIaF.
Outcome 2 seems very unlikely. Even if he survived 5 knife wounds, why wouldn't they finish him off?
Outcome 3 is likely enough, given how invested in Jon Melisandre has become.
Outcome 4 seems the most likely, given the events of the prologue (Varymyr Six Skins warging into one of his animals right before he dies).

  • Key answer was that we're not meant to be sure, but possible explanations were a great addition! – Jaydles Mar 10 '13 at 13:15

Some seem to think this is a reason to think Jon is Azor Ahai, because there was smoke and salt when he died (read it again, you'll see it, Jon's wound smoked, and Bowen March cried). Personally, I think its fulfilling Dany's prophecy from the house of the Undying:

A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness.

If that prophecy is true, Dany will find Jon at the wall. Because Jon is the son of Lyanna, who loved blue roses, he is at the wall, and he is a Targaryen (son of Rhaegar).

Dany is Azor Ahai, she was born in salt and smoke, she has awakened dragons from stone.

Some have also speculated that this is a means for Jon to be freed of his vow to the Night's Watch, which clearly states

"[my watch] shall not end until my death"

Which would free him to become King in the North (as Robb's heir), and or King of Westeros if he were to marry Daenerys. Many people forget that Robb did legitimize Jon and name him his heir. Those papers are en route somewhere.

Either way, Melisandre seems to value Jon greatly, so it would seem she would take precautions to prevent his death (or perhaps one should start to say things like "true death").

So in conclusion, I guess one can say, no, you're not supposed to know for sure what happened.

  • Is it clear that Jon is rhaegar's son? – Jaydles Mar 10 '13 at 13:16
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    @Jaydles I confirmed it in my own mind before I found out online, and also have an email from GRRM with a somewhat coy reply on the topic. I think it is fairly clear if you re-read the books with that in mind. Lyanna died, but no one ever mentions how she dies. She makes Ned promise something. Honorable Ned brings home a bastard. Read up on the topic here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/6974/… But of course, with GRRM, you never know. – TLP Mar 10 '13 at 13:34
  • Lyanna died in childbirth. – TheMathemagician Mar 13 '13 at 9:32
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    @TheMathemagician ...but no one ever mentioned that, it is just conjecture. The closest description was Ned thinking something like Lyanna in her bed of blood. – TLP Mar 13 '13 at 15:05
  • @bilbo_pingouin It was you...? – TLP Jul 8 '15 at 16:01

The dragon must have three heads. Maester Aemon said that repeatedly. Yet nearly all of the Targaryens are dead. Maester Aemon says he is too old and weak. The Last Greenseer may have Targaryen blood, but he is even more feeble than Maester Aemon. The only openly known healthy survivor of the family is Daenerys, and she is cursed to be childless. Yet there are three dragons, nearly grown, which implies there must soon be three dragonriders. For the storyline to develop timely, we are looking for three Targaryens who are now teenagers or healthy adults, not infants yet to be born nor ancient elders.

Daenerys is one of the dragon's heads. Who, then, are the other two heads of the dragon? Unless there is a bastard descendent GRRM has conveniently kept hidden from everyone, the only other possible living Targaryens of appropriate age are:

Jon Snow, presumed son of Ned Stark but more likely the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark. For Jon to be one of the three he MUST survive the attack. Look for Ghost to make a timely appearance.

Young Griff, aka Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar and Elia Martell, rescued from death in a baby-swap, raised by Jon Connington, and now returning to Westeros. Everything that Varys and Littlefinger have done for the past 14 years is preparing for young Aegon's return.

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    Great alternative explanation to the higher voted answers. The only thing I might quarrel with is that LF seems to be more self-serving that a Targaryen loyalist. – Jeff Feb 18 '14 at 16:20
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    @Jeff: Indeed, Kestrel might have been thinking of Illyrio, who is Varys' partner in conspiracy. As many characters observe, Littlefinger is not loyal to anyone except Littlefinger. – Royal Canadian Bandit Aug 30 '14 at 20:15

Tyrion, Cersei and Jaime could be

Targaryens; children of the Mad King.

He always liked Joanna Lannister and in that time they practiced "first night rights" which would have allowed the Mad King to bed Joanna first on her wedding day.

Perhaps that is why Tyrion was always hated by his father because Tywin knew he Tyrion was really not his. Or perhaps the beautiful twins Cersei and Jaime

were really fathered by the Mad King and the Mad gene resurfaced in Joffrey.

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    When you have to use the words "could be" and the word "perhaps" twice, it should be a flag that it is not an answer, but speculation. I'd suggest looking at the Tour under the help menu above. Hint: since reading the Tour gives you a badge, and you have no badges, it's obvious when someone has not read it. ;) Don't be discouraged, just learn the basics. Welcome to the Stack Exchange. – Meat Trademark Feb 2 '14 at 15:47
  • No. First Night was abolished in reign of King Jaehaerys I at behest of Queen Alysanne, centuries before Aerys II was even born. Bedding ceremony however is still practiced but it just involves stripping clothes of the married couple and escorting them to a chamber. – Aegon May 5 '17 at 12:34

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