The Path of Duty

There is something to be said about following the path of duty. Maester Aemon wisely told Jon that “love is the bane of honour, the death of duty” and when that was said, Jon felt that it didn’t sound right. In reality, love was the end of duty for too many stories in the world, both ours and theirs, but what is likely most remembered is that love was the end of honour and duty for Ned Stark, who loved Lyanna so much that he tainted all principles he held dear for her. He lied to protect a child, he accepted forever having his honour questioned, he betrayed his king, he even murdered for love. But as the sentence from Maester Aemon comes in a Game of Thrones, the reader rarely has a chance to compare it to many characters. Ser Jaime did the exact same things as Ned: he lied to protect children, he accepted forever having his honour questioned, he betrayed his king, he murdered for love. The Hound lied to protect a child, accepted forever having his honour questioned, betrayed his king, murdered for love. Lyanna made the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill a belief alongside Rhaegar. But this story wasn’t written for children and however important they were, Valar Morghulis is proven right from the start. Jon stands as a different character altogether. He sacrificed love for duty and honour, he turned his back on his feelings, on the woman he loved, even on his family, because he understood his duty. He becomes Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, and as their commander he will serve dutifully, despite not wanting the position. That is the parallel with his life and it will certainly be his pain. Jon Snow, the Prince who was Promised, Azor Ahai reborn, will always understand that his wishes are not important. He had a duty and Jon’s duty is the end of his love. Thanks to that unique capacity, Jon is not Rhaegar, Ned, Robb, Theon or any other character - he’s the only one who will serve others before himself because Jon Snow wasn’t written for ignorant masses watching television seeking answers. He will go full circle, tying all loose ends in the story. Even if he’s never heard the sentence, Jon Snow stood by the answer: “Valar Dohaeris.”

Art by Nachem

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