Jon Snow was born a bastard and rose to become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He has killed a white walker and escaped the army of the dead. He has also died and come back to life.
His (apparent) real parents point to him being the long prophesied Prince That Was Promised. Jon Snow is a natural leader, brave and experienced, and one of the best candidates to be the ultimate victor when Game of Thrones ends.
However, this doesn’t mean he will be victorious. There are plenty of reasons why he will not be the one sitting on the Iron Throne when (or if) the Great War with the White Walkers is won and Westeros finally has a single ruler.
He has too many enemies, known and unknown. The obstacles he still has to face might be insurmountable. Plus, he might not even want to win-- we don't know if anyone can win against the white walkers.
So, while it might not be what many fans of the show want to hear, these are 15 Reasons Jon Snow Won’t Win The Game Of Thrones.
15 He’s too willing to sacrifice himself to save others*
Jon is supremely brave and noble, which makes him willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill his duty. This means that he is not afraid to make the ultimate sacrifice if it means saving others. He showed this when he went off to kill Mance Rayder after the Battle of Castle Black.
There was no Lord Commander at the time, and Alliser Thorne was injured during the fight, so Jon led the defense of The Wall. When the battle had been won, he went off alone to meet with Mance Rayder. Jon knew the Night’s Watch couldn’t survive another attack, so he decided he would try to assassinate Mance. The wildling army was only united because of the King Beyond the Wall, so killing him would scatter their enormous force.
Jon knew it was a bad plan, and even if he was successful he would have been captured and killed. He still went off to certain death, because it was the only way to save countless others. If he was willing to do that for the Night’s Watch and the North, he’ll certainly be willing to do it when the Great War with the white walkers comes.
14 Robert doomed mankind when he killed the actual Prince That Was Promised, Rhaegar Targaryen
There are many theories about who will end up being the Prince That Was Promised-- the prophesied savior of mankind who will lead the living to a victory over the army of the dead. The darkest among these theories says that the Prince was Rhaegar Targaryen. If correct, this would be a big problem, since Robert Baratheon killed him during his uprising.
If Rhaegar was the Prince That Was Promised, this would mean that even before the current story in Game of Thrones began, mankind was already doomed. So, there would ultimately be no way for Jon Snow or anyone else to save the world from the white walkers. Such a devastating ending from George R.R. Martin can’t be ruled out so soon.
This would be a particularly crushing conclusion for Jon Snow, since Rhaegar appears to be his real father. (This has technically only been hinted at in season 6, but it is likely true.) Jon might have been born into a world that was already doomed, all because of the death of his parents.
13 He doesn’t have dragons - and dragons always win
Aegon Targaryen conquered the Seven Kingdoms with his two sister-wives and their three dragons, and the dragonlords of Valyria ruled Essos for thousands of years thanks to their control over the giant beasts. Dragons are undefeated in the world of ice and fire, and Jon doesn’t have any of them, but Daenerys does.
The Mother of Dragons is currently heading to Westeros with her three enormous “children.” She has risen from nothing to become one of the most powerful people in the world, and her motivation has been to take back the Iron Throne. Even if she discovers that Jon is her nephew, she still might not care. She has one goal, and dragons to help her achieve it.
This could mean that it would be impossible for Jon to emerge as the ultimate victor. Even with all of the support of the North, the Vale, and the wildlings, they aren’t as formidable as three fire-breathing dragons.
12 He won’t want to leave the North to rule the Seven Kingdoms
Jon could end up being the Prince That Was Promised, and lead the living to victory. However, this doesn't mean that he would choose to sit on the Iron Throne at the story’s end. This could be by choice, when Jon refuses to leave his people and the North.
He could deny the crown out of loyalty to the North, his home where he has just been named King in the North. Like the Dornish, Northerners are very different from the rest of Westeros. They don’t tend to like life outside of their kingdom. Jon could decide that he not only has a duty to stay in the North, but that he prefers life there.
Jon could also decide to stay in Winterfell, since it seems predictable that most Starks end up dead when they march South-- like his “father” Ned, his grandfather, and his uncle who all died in King’s Landing. His brother Robb was also murdered after marching South. Why survive a war with the white walkers only to be killed in a hostile, strange land?
11 He’ll support his aunt Daenerys’s claim to avoid more war
If Jon’s real father is Rhaegar Targaryen then this would make Daenerys Targaryen his aunt. If they learn about the true nature of their relationship before the war, it could lead to a winning alliance capable of defeating both the white walkers and House Lannister.
However, when the Great War ends only one of them will be able to sit on the Iron Throne. Jon will have his supporters, and Daenerys (and her dragons) will have hers. Westeros would then be facing the possibility of yet another destructive civil war over the Throne.
How many wars does Jon want to fight, and for what? A crown? After beating the White Walkers he would probably have enough perspective to know which wars are worth the effort. So, rather than fighting to be king, he might support his aunt’s claim.
This would allow his family to maintain ultimate power, while he remains Warden of the North. Since Daenerys might not be able to bear children, this would mean that Jon and his future children would still be next in line to rule over Westeros. This would be peaceful outcome for all.
10 Baelish will eliminate him before he has a chance to win
The death of Jon Arryn put the war for the Iron Throne in motion, and it was Littlefinger who secretly plotted his murder to create chaos in Westeros. From there, Baelish has worked in the shadows, turning supposed allies against one another through unseen treachery and scheming. Each betrayal has paved for the way Baelish to gain more power, with his eyes always on the ultimate prize of ruling the Seven Kingdoms.
Everything had been going perfectly for Baelish, until Jon Snow was named King in the North after defeating the Boltons, rather than Sansa. Baelish had set up Sansa to gain control of the North, which would thereby give him more power as he whispered in her ear.
This new outcome makes Jon a threat to everything that Baelish has worked for, and threats to his schemes have always ended up dead. Before Jon even has a chance to defeat the white walkers, he easily could end up as the latest victim on the path to Baelish’s climb to the top.
9 A bastard will never be seated on the Iron Throne
Jon’s mother is Lyanna Stark, and, even if Rhaegar Targaryen is his father, this would mean that the two were never married, which would still make Jon a bastard. A Stark or Targaryen would be accepted as a ruler by the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, but not a Snow.
A Snow is a bastard, and, with the exception of Dorne and the Night's Watch, bastards are not respected in Westeros. There is a limit to the heights they can achieve. Even a bastard who had rose to be named King in the North would be looked down on by Southerners. There are some who would never accept him as their king, which would make it impossible for Jon to take the Iron Throne.
The class system in place is so rigid that it’s possible that a bastard-- even one who helps mankind defeat the army of the dead-- would be looked down on by the lords and ladies of the realm.
8 His parentage makes him a threat
House Stark has many enemies, and House Targaryen, especially now that it once again has dragons, has even rivals. A child of a Stark and a Targaryen would have to deal with both sets of enemies, who would all view him as their greatest threat. This would put a giant, inescapable target on Jon.
Targaryens have been out of power for a generation, during which time many houses have gained more influence. However, this would all be at risk if a Targaryen came back into power, and a Targaryen with blood ties to the greatest family in the North, with its immense lands and vassals, would be exponentially more dangerous.
Too many houses would have too much at risk if Jon were to ever be seated on the Iron Throne. Jon's mere existence is the ultimate threat for his parent's many enemies. He would probably be hunted down if the truth about his birth was ever revealed.
7 Sansa’s jealousy will destroy them both
Sansa should be Jon’s greatest ally, but when he was named King in the North she seemed to be jealous over his new title. This resentment could lead her to undermine his ability to lead, or lead her to do much worse.
Jon had led the forces to overthrow the Boltons, and was losing until Sansa arrived to save the day with the Knights of the Vale. Instead of being recognized for her role in the victory, the lords of the North named Jon as their new king. They did this despite the fact that she was born a true Stark, and Jon was born a Snow.
Normally Sansa would be unlikely to act on her jealousy, but she has the great manipulator Petyr Baelish whispering in her ear about how she should rule. He has ulterior motives, but she might not recognize why he is driving a wedge between her and Jon.
Jon would never see his sister as a threat either, making Sansa potentially the most dangerous person around Jon for the time being.
6 He knows the heavy burden of leading and will instead opt for a quieter life
Jon could end up being the ultimate winner on Game of Thrones and then reveal that he isn’t interested in ruling. He could defeat the white walkers and all of his opponents in the Seven Kingdoms, but once the crown is offered to him he might pass it up.
This is because Jon’s life has never been easy. He was mistreated by Catelyn Stark and thus never felt like a true Stark, which led to him to join the Night’s Watch. However, all he has faced since then is a never-ending litany of enemies trying to kill him.
Jon has seen what it's like to be a leader, and has discovered that to lead is to be constantly under attack. If he were to defeat the ultimate enemy-- the white walkers-- why would he then decide to live with the burden of ruling for the rest of his life? Maester Aemon, who refused the crown himself, has taught Jon that sometimes the best option is to turn down power.
Jon might not win because he doesn’t want to win-- to him winning might be losing a chance to finally be happy.
5 The Night’s King is unstoppable
Whatever happens, it is somewhat probable that the white walkers will eventually be defeated... at least, we hope so. If this doesn't happen, it would mean that no one could win the Iron Throne, as the Night's King would be unstoppable.
Jon witnessed first hand at Hardhome the immense power of the Night’s King when the King raised all of his defeated enemies from the grave to become new soldiers in his army. Jon called this army the largest army in the world, and it is only growing larger. Every man, woman, and child who falls at the hands of the white walkers makes this army even bigger.
All of the armies of Westeros fighting alongside Daenerys and her dragons might not be enough to stop them at this point. If the darkness rules when the fighting ends the only victor in this game of thrones will be death itself.
4 Bran will be the ultimate hero of the story
For all of Jon’s bravery and skills as a leader, it might very well turn out the only way to win the Great War is with dragons. However, this doesn’t mean that Daenerys will end up ruling by the end of the story either. This is because dragons are nearly impossible to fully control. The dragonlords of Valyria were said to use powerful magic to do so-- magic that Daenerys does not know.
This is why it is possible that the only one who might be able to control a dragon is the greatest warg in the world, Bran Stark. The Three-Eyed Raven told him he would never walk again, but he would fly. A popular theory among fans believes that Bran will warg into one of the dragons and lay waste to the white walkers, saving mankind.
This would make Bran the ultimate hero, and the real winner of the Great War. A grateful Westeros could then offer him the Iron Throne. Or they might feel like they have no option but to let him rule, since he can control dragons and destroy them all.
3 Daenerys is the real Prince That Was Promised
If the prophecy about the Prince That Was Promised is correct, then this person is the only one who can lead mankind to a victory over the white walkers. Despite being about a “prince,” Maester Aemon said there were no gender specific pronouns in Valyrian. This suggests that it could just as easily be a woman.
Dragons and their ability to breathe fire appear to be the ultimate weapons in the Great War. Valyrian steel, which can kill white walkers, is even forged in dragon flame. This would mean that the mother of dragons could be the person the prophecy spoke of, not Jon.
Daenerys, who was born amidst salt and smoke during a great storm at Dragonstone-- just as the prophecy says-- could be the real savior. Additionally, if she, the last true Targaryen, is the one responsible for saving mankind, she will be the one sitting on the Iron Throne when the white walkers are finally defeated.
2 He’ll be turned into a soldier of the dead by the Night’s King
Jon was murdered by his brothers in the Night’s Watch. However, with the help of Melisandre and the Lord of Light, Jon was resurrected. The only other being capable of such an amazing power has been the Night’s King, who raises the dead to join his army.
However, what if it wasn’t the Lord of Light who brought Jon back, but rather the god of the white walkers, the Great Other? Jon might seem like an ally of the living, but he could actually be an ally of the dead in waiting.
Even if it was the Lord of Light who brought back Jon, it’s also possible that the Night’s King and his powers over the dead apply to Jon. The rules of resurrection are mysterious, and therefore dangerous. When the Great War is at its most pivotal moment, one of mankind’s greatest heroes could possibly be transformed into one of its greatest enemies.
Jon’s rebirth seemed like a great boost for the living, but it could end up being what dooms it entirely.
1 It would be a happy ending, and George R.R. Martin will never give us that
Beyond prophecies and theories-- beyond the characters and story itself-- there is the harsh reality that George R.R. Martin is responsible for how this will all end. This means that if Jon were to end up being the ultimate victor on Game of Thrones then this would be a happy ending for the show.
The real question is: why would anyone think George R.R. Martin would give this story a happy ending?
The author loves to play against both the audience’s expectations and fantasy tropes, and nothing would do that more than having the entire story end on a down note, where the heroes lose. If Jon were to be the victor, in any capacity, it would mean that the story had a satisfying finish.
Does this sound like something George R.R. Martin--the man responsible for Ned’s beheading, the Red Wedding, Oberyn’s brutal death, and everything that has happened to House Stark--would do?
Can you think of any other reasons why Jon Snow might not win Game of Thrones? Who do you think deserves to win the Iron Throne? Let us know in the comment section!