Fiery hands behind Jon’s mutiny stabbing

“There was a tree with my brother’s face. The wildlings . . . there were thousands, more than I ever knew existed. And giants riding mammoths.” From the way the light had shifted, Jon judged that he had been asleep for four or five hours. His head ached, and the back of his neck where the talons had burned through him. But that was in the dream.

A Clash of Kings – Jon VII


*Editing and information work in progress page*

Jon has rather bizarre relationship with fiery talons, and it has been going on for quite some time… and more importantly, it happens often when there is “ice magic” in play. It shouldn’t be any surprise to Leech blog readers by now that I do believe the ice and fire counterparts are going to come to a head, and it seems as though as Daenerys in A Dance with Dragons X gets the shivers, Jon gets the fiery talons and gets them via Melisandre.

I can hear the cringing now. I know many are going to repeat the common fandom idea that Melisandre is going to revive Jon through a fire burning, or give him the kiss of life, or that Jon went to save Arya, etc. I say no, and partially because never once in all of GRRM’s 40+ stories that I have read has the fire element ever been anything other than destruction of some sort. Additionally, I do not think Jon is dead-dead. He may (probably) die by the stories end, but this is not his death. I base this idea on both what we see in A Song of Ice and Fire as well as Nightflyers, Fevre Dream, Meathouse Man, The Skin Trade, and each and every other story that has a Jon-style protagonist. They always, always have a near death experience first, gain a bunch of knowledge (kill the boy, let the man be born), and then they go on to fight again. Sometimes there is a final death, sometimes not. It depends.

Mel is a zealot and misguided and her belief is that Azor Ahai is someone who needs to be reborn, so if she thinks Jon “good”, then he needs to die first. I believe it is more likely that she eventually sees, or interprets correctly, the face of the true great “Other”, who is not an other Other, but is the antithesis of her red R’hllor. The ice to her fire. She is being led to Jon to kill him as to make way for the fire god to “reappear”. Please read the story Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark to see how George works this idea. It is in there to a virtual T.

Melisandre and Selyse will Burn Shireen, not Stannis.

Is Bran already turning in to a tree?

Jon and Daenerys at the Trident- Bran is Jon’s ice armor.

Touching on the story Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark

I can already tell that this essay will grow to be a giant, so I will try to break it down in to additional linked posts if needed. I started discussing this idea a few years ago on the site. Here is a link to the main thread post if you are interested.


So, why do I speculate that Melisandre is behind the mutiny “for the watch” stabbing? Let me explain, but first we have to address the mutiny conspirators as the story tells it now.

“It’s not the walls that make a lord, it’s the man.”

– Stannis to Jon

“No wall can keep you safe,” his [Jon’s] father had told him once, as they walked the walls of Winterfall. “A wall is only as strong as the men who defend it.”

– A Storm of Swords, Jon IV

To be clear and upfront, I do believe that Jon was wrongly stabbed by his brothers, that if he was breaking any vows it is still to be seen (the NW has forgotten its purpose). As you’ll see, Thorne, Marsh and Yarwyck were messing with Southron politics in the Nights Watch way before Jon was made Lord Commander, including Tywin trying to get Janos Slynt elected as the Lord Commander so that he has a puppet up there. Additionally, “Tywin with teats” Cersei has refused to help Jon and his plea for Night’s Watch help, and Cersei plots to have Jon killed (that never happens).

We should also keep George’s editor, Anne Groell, words in mind as we parse out these clues. It is a three tier reveal:

  • The first, subtle hint for the really astute readers, followed later by the more blatant hint for the less attentive, followed by just spelling it out for everyone else.   [basically, a three part reveal]

We are also told time and again that the wall is not what it used to be, going from a high honored position filled with noblemen and knights, to currently filled with thieves and rapists and criminals thanks to first the Andals, then the Targaryens setting up the King’s Guard. The result of this, and the real foe being absent for so long, is that the Nights Watch has forgotten its purpose:

  • “Spare me your but’s, boy,” Lord Mormont interrupted. “I would not be sitting here were it not for you and that beast of yours. You fought bravely … and more to the point, you thought quickly. Fire! Yes, damn it. We ought to have known. We ought to have remembered. The Long Night has come before. Oh, eight thousand years is a good while, to be sure … yet if the Night’s Watch does not remember, who will?”“Who will,” chimed the talkative raven. “Who will.”    <<< Jon will when he learns better and the man is born.
  • [Mormont] “We never knew! But we must have known once. The Night’s Watch has forgotten its true purpose, Tarly. You don’t build a wall seven hundred feet high to keep savages in skins from stealing women. The Wall was made to guard the realms of men . . . and not against other men, which is all the wildlings are when you come right down to it. Too many years, Tarly, too many hundreds and thousands of years. We lost sight of the true enemy. And now he’s here, but we don’t know how to fight him. Is dragonglass made by dragons, as the smallfolk like to say?”
  • Dance: Marsh flushed a deeper shade of red. “The lord commander must pardon my bluntness, but I have no softer way to say this. What you propose is nothing less than treason. For eight thousand years the men of the Night’s Watch have stood upon the Wall and fought these wildlings. Now you mean to let them pass, to shelter them in our castles, to feed them and clothe them and teach them how to fight. Lord Snow, must I remind you? You swore an oath.”
    • This is a perfect example of misinformation that is happening right now. THE WALL WAS NOT BUILT TO KEEP OUT WILDLINGS! Jon did not break that oath. The Free Folk are part of the realms of men the NW is sworn to protect.
  • The Wall was made to defend the realms of the First Men, and the men of the Night’s Watch have reportedly defended the Wall against Others and other monsters for eight thousand years since the end of the Long Night. Wiki Source.
  • World: Unique in the Seven Kingdoms is the Night’s Watch, the sworn brotherhood that has defended the Wall over centuries and millennia, born in the aftermath of the Long Night, the generation-long winter that brought the Others down on the realms of men and nearly put an end to them.
    • The wall was built to keep the Others out! Not Free Folk.
    • The maesters in the World Book say over and over that the Others were probably not real, which spreads the falsehood of the Faith/7 and negates the purpose of Northern culture and the Watch.
      • World: The history of the Night’s Watch is a long one. Tales still tell of the black knights of the Wall and their noble calling. But the Age of Heroes is long done, and the Others have not shown themselves in thousands of years, if indeed they ever existed.

Here comes Melisandre.

I have a feeling that Marsh and company may have been under a spell of some sort because they were acting very strange with their tears and this: “The gangling steward backed away, his hands upraised as if to say, Not me, it was not me.”

  • Were they under a spell?
    • A Dance with Dragons – Melisandre IThe carved chest that she had brought across the narrow sea was more than three-quarters empty now. And while Melisandre had the knowledge to make more powders, she lacked many rare ingredients. My spells should suffice. She was stronger at the Wall, stronger even than in Asshai. Her every word and gesture was more potent, and she could do things that she had never done before. Such shadows as I bring forth here will be terrible, and no creature of the dark will stand before them. With such sorceries at her command, she should soon have no more need of the feeble tricks of alchemists and pyromancers.
    • A Storm of Swords – Samwell

I have no place here, Sam thought anxiously, when her red eyes fell upon him. Someone had to help Maester Aemon up the steps. Don’t look at me, I’m just the maester’s steward. The others were contenders for the Old Bear’s command, all but Bowen Marsh, who had withdrawn from the contest but remained castellan and Lord Steward. Sam did not understand why Melisandre should seem so interested in him.

    • A Clash of Kings – Jon VII

      Then a sudden gust of cold made his fur stand up, and the air thrilled to the sound of wings. As he lifted his eyes to the ice-white mountain heights above, a shadow plummeted out of the sky. A shrill scream split the air. He glimpsed blue-grey pinions spread wide, shutting out the sun . . .

      “Ghost!” Jon shouted, sitting up. He could still feel the talons, the pain. “Ghost, to me!”

      Ebben appeared, grabbed him, shook him. “Quiet! You mean to bring the wildlings down on us? What’s wrong with you, boy?”


      “The Milkwater flows from a great lake at the foot of a glacier,” Stonesnake put in.

      “There was a tree with my brother’s face. The wildlings . . . there were thousands, more than I ever knew existed. And giants riding mammoths.” From the way the light had shifted, Jon judged that he had been asleep for four or five hours. His head ached, and the back of his neck where the talons had burned through him. But that was in the dream. (This wasn’t a dream, instead it was Jon warging (ice magics) and not knowing what is happening. It turns out it was Ghost who was attacked.)


  • A Storm of Swords – Jon XI

“Dalla died.” Jon was saddened by that still. “Val is her sister. She and the babe did not require much capturing, Your Grace. You had put the wildlings to flight, and the skinchanger Mance had left to guard his queen went mad when the eagle burned.” Jon looked at Melisandre. “Some say that was your doing.”

She smiled, her long copper hair tumbling across her face. “The Lord of Light has fiery talons, Jon Snow.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon XIII

Then Bowen Marsh stood there before him, tears running down his cheeks. “For the Watch.” He punched Jon in the belly. When he pulled his hand away, the dagger stayed where he had buried it.

Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end. When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold … 

  • Was Ser Patrek trying to steal Val at swordpoint and Wun Wun said “NO” because he knew Val belonged to Jon already?
    • STORM, Jon II: “Good,” King Stannis said, “for the surest way to seal a new alliance is with a marriage. I mean to wed my Lord of Winterfell to this wildling princess.” Perhaps Jon had ridden with the free folk too long; he could not help but laugh. “Your Grace,” he said, “captive or no, if you think you can just give Val to me, I fear you have a deal to learn about wildling women. Whoever weds her had best be prepared to climb in her tower window and carry her off at swordpoint . . .
    • DANCE, Jon X: …Satin was all grace, dancing with three serving girls in turn but never presuming to approach a highborn lady. Jon judged that wise. He did not like the way some of the queen’s knights were looking at the steward, particularly Ser Patrek of King’s Mountain. That one wants to shed a bit of blood, he thought. He is looking for some provocation.
    • DANCE, Jon XIII: Men poured from the surrounding keeps and towers. Northmen, free folk, queen’s men … “Form a line,” Jon Snow commanded them. “Keep them back. Everyone, but especially the queen’s men.” The dead man was Ser Patrek of King’s Mountain; his head was largely gone, but his heraldry was as distinctive as his face. Jon did not want to risk Ser Malegorn or Ser Brus or any of the queen’s other knights trying to avenge him.

Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun howled again and gave Ser Patrek’s other arm a twist and pull. It tore loose from his shoulder with a spray of bright red blood. Like a child pulling petals off a daisy, thought Jon….”Leathers, talk to him, calm him. The Old Tongue, he understands the Old Tongue. Keep back, the rest of you. Put away your steel, we’re scaring him.Couldn’t they see the giant had been cut? Jon had to put an end to this or more men would die. They had no idea of Wun Wun’s strength. A horn, I need a horn. He saw the glint of steel, turned toward it. “No blades!” he screamed.


Alliser Thorne has had an issue with the Starks since AGOT, and actually since Robert’s Rebellion had him sent to the wall. Thorne, Marsh, and Yarwyck had been plotting against Jon for a while… way before Jon was even Lord Commander. If anything, these guys sitting in the tub of hot water are trying to sway the election to gain political favor in Kings Landing. They are playing at southron politics and history shows there is motive for all mutineer members.

  • A Storm of Swords – Jon IX“Lord Snow is nothing if not arrogant,” said Ser Alliser. “He murdered Qhorin, just as his fellow turncloaks did Lord Mormont. It would not surprise me to learn that it was all part of the same fell plot. Benjen Stark may well have a hand in all this as well. For all we know, he is sitting in Mance Rayder’s tent even now. You know these Starks, my lord.”“I do,” said Janos Slynt. “I know them too well.”
  • A Storm of Swords – Samwell IV

Three-Finger Hobb had promised the brothers roast haunch of mammoth that night, maybe in hopes of cadging a few more votes. If that was his notion, he should have found a younger mammoth, Sam thought, as he pulled a string of gristle out from between his teeth. Sighing, he pushed the food away.

There would be another vote shortly, and the tensions in the air were thicker than the smoke. Cotter Pyke sat by the fire, surrounded by rangers from Eastwatch. Ser Denys Mallister was near the door with a smaller group of Shadow Tower men. Janos Slynt has the best place, Sam realized, halfway between the flames and the drafts. He was alarmed to see Bowen Marsh beside him, wan-faced and haggard, his head still wrapped in linen, but listening to all that Lord Janos had to say. When he pointed that out to his friends, Pyp said, “And look down there, that’s Ser Alliser whispering with Othell Yarwyck.”

  • A Storm of Swords – Tyrion IV

[Tywin] “There is no need. The Night’s Watch is a pack of thieves, killers, and baseborn churls, but it occurs to me that they could prove otherwise, given proper discipline. If Mormont is indeed dead, the black brothers must choose a new Lord Commander.”

Pycelle gave Tyrion a sly glance. “An excellent thought, my lord. I know the very man. Janos Slynt.”

Tyrion liked that notion not at all. “The black brothers choose their own commander,” he reminded them. “Lord Slynt is new to the Wall. I know, I sent him there. Why should they pick him over a dozen more senior men?”

“Because,” his father said, in a tone that suggested Tyrion was quite the simpleton, “if they do not vote as they are told, their Wall will melt before it sees another man.”

“In closing, ask Marsh to pass along His Grace’s fondest regards to his faithful friend and servant, Lord Janos Slynt.”

  • A Storm of Swords – Jon XII

“When has Stannis Baratheon ever had much good to say of anyone?” Ser Alliser’s flinty voice was unmistakable. “If we let Stannis choose our Lord Commander, we become his bannermen in all but name. Tywin Lannister is not like to forget that, and you know it will be Lord Tywin who wins in the end. He’s already beaten Stannis once, on the Blackwater.”

“Lord Tywin favors Slynt,” said Bowen Marsh, in a fretful, anxious voice. “I can show you his letter, Othell. ‘Our faithful friend and servant,’ he called him.”

“What are you doing here, bastard?” Thorne asked.

“Bathing. But don’t let me spoil your plotting.” Jon climbed from the water, dried, dressed, and left them to conspire.


How funny will it be if Thorne, a Targ loyalist, finds out Jon’s heritage after he tries to kill him:lol:
  • Ser Alliser only said, “You would like me to refuse. Then you could hack off my head, same as you did for Slynt. I’ll not give you that pleasure, bastard. You’d best pray that it’s a wildling blade that kills me, though. The ones the Others kill don’t stay dead … and they remember. I’m coming back, Lord Snow.”

“I pray you do.” Jon would never count Ser Alliser Thorne amongst his friends, but he was still a brother.


So Jon gets the curious pink letter, then he calls everyone to Shieldhall, an incredibly symbolic place as read about it here, he reads the letter, declares his intentions, then Jon sees a few key people slip out: Melisandre and the queen’s knights, Yarwyck and Marsh. Tormund arrives just in time to help control the rowdy crowd and calls for mead, and then Jon excuses himself to go see Selyse because he realizes he should have told her first.

  • Two quick things that stand out as oddly missing in the entire situation… 1) George’s love and need to describe in full detail the clothes, chainmail, cloaks, gloves, etc that people are wearing in important situations, and 2) the same need to describe in precise detail how the letter is written, such as ink color, is it flaky ink, handwriting type, etc.

The smash up between Wun Wun and Ser Patrek is happening and Jon thinks this:

  • “Val, was Jon’s first thought. But that was no woman’s scream.”

Then Jon is stabbed and he has a three-fold experience that parallels both his blood father Rhaegar, his brother Robb, and his brother Bran (next post). Jon’s last word is “Ghost” because he is calling out to Ghost most likely to complete his first conscious warging into his direwolf. It is widely held that Robb called to Greywind to warg his wolf when he was mutiny stabbed at the Red Wedding. At this point in the story, Jon is only now accepting that he is more like a wildling, that he is a warg and that he and Ghost are one and he knows Ghost will keep him safe. A loyal Raynald Westerling did release Greywind at Robb’s mutiny just as someone could have released Ghost at Jon’s mutiny. More and more I feel like the entire Red Wedding was foreshadowing for this main event.

Jon does briefly think of the life lesson that he teaches Arya about how to stab and kill someone because he is currently being stabbed and “killed”. Arya herself even calls it a lesson as she talks about it with her dad and then again as she stabs and kills that horse boy who tries to grab her to turn her in. The lesson is important because we know Odin sacrificed himself for knowledge.

Jon also parallels Rhaegar by calling out, “Ghost”, as Rhaegar called out, “Lyanna”, when he died (confirmed on the app).

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon XIII

Then Bowen Marsh stood there before him, tears running down his cheeks. “For the Watch.” He punched Jon in the belly. When he pulled his hand away, the dagger stayed where he had buried it.

Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end. When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold …

  • A Storm of Swords – Catelyn VII

“Yes. Robb, get up. Get up and walk out, please, please. Save yourself . . . if not for me, for Jeyne.”

“Jeyne?” Robb grabbed the edge of the table and forced himself to stand. “Mother,” he said, “Grey Wind . . .”

Go to him. Now. Robb, walk out of here.”

Another curious connection between the Red Wedding and the mutiny is the use of a “spice person” to help arrange it. Sybell Spicer helped arrange the Red Wedding which got Robb killed, while Melisandre is repeatedly associated with spices, scents, smokes, and powders throughout the story. ASOS/Davos III ,and ADWD/Jon III, and ADWD/Jon VI to name a few.

  • A Clash of Kings – Daenerys IV

[Dany’s vision of Rhaegar] Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman’s name.

But, is Jon dead-dead, or just hurt? I am in favor of just hurt. Why, you ask? Well, there are a few options or some combo of either. Here is a relevant option:

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon III

All the same, the wildling princess was not beloved of her gaolers. She scorned them all as “kneelers,” and had thrice attempted to escape. When one man-at-arms grew careless in her presence she had snatched his dagger from its sheath and stabbed him in the neck. Another inch to the left and he might have died.

Because we don’t know what Jon was wearing in the way of layers of boiled leather, possible chainmail, etc. Also because not all stab wounds are lethal, and medieval operations were better then we think, but the in-world reason to think Jon may be unconcious is he has two healers there with him, Val and Morna, and Borroq the skinchanger who calls Jon, “brother.”

Ok, I know Jon is part Targ and he needs fire, I can accept that he may be dead-dead and the wildlings try and burn his body, and that will unlock his dragon puberty. Fire rituals were ingrained into both the dragon symbolism and the north of wall First Men. Both burned their dead on a pyre. Jon is that bridge so fire may be very required.

I do lean towards Jon having a pyre north of the wall at the weirwood grove where he took his NW vows. I think this will let Bran see what is going on and maybe to enter Jon’s mind to talk to him and take him on an exploratory history lesson about his paternity. The standing stones of the post two above explains the symbolism between the grove of nine weirwoods and actual cultural history.

For reference, the vows:

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

Oh George, you devil!
  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So why did you kill Jon Snow?

    GEORGE R.R. MARTIN: Oh, you think he’s dead, do you?


To be continued…