Earlier I discussed how Jon’s memory of sparring with Robb when they were children pretending to be long dead heroes of the realm actually served a dual purpose. The first purpose was to give George an opportunity to summarize Robb’s downfalls. The second purpose was to establish the heroes being chosen by Robb as post hoc foreshadowing of his future. Using this as a guide, I decided to investigate how Jon and his chosen heroes might also summarize his life so far and foreshadow what may be to come.
To start off with, if you haven’t read part one already, Link to part 1 of the theory I highly recommend you read part one first.
A refresher on the memory (ASOS Jon XII):
He was almost ready to lower his blade and call a halt when Emmett feinted low and came in over his shield with a savage forehand slash that caught Jon on the temple. He staggered, his helm and head both ringing from the force of the blow. For half a heartbeat the world beyond his eyeslit was a blur.
And then the years were gone, and he was back at Winterfell once more, wearing a quilted leather coat in place of mail and plate. His sword was made of wood, and it was Robb who stood facing him, not Iron Emmett.
Every morning they had trained together, since they were big enough to walk; Snow and Stark, spinning and slashing about the wards of Winterfell, shouting and laughing, sometimes crying when there was no one else to see. They were not little boys when they fought, but knights and mighty heroes. “I’m Prince Aemon the Dragonknight,” Jon would call out, and Robb would shout back, “Well, I’m Florian the Fool.” Or Robb would say, “I’m the Young Dragon,” and Jon would reply, “I’m Ser Ryam Redwyne.”
That morning he called it first. “I’m Lord of Winterfell!” he cried, as he had a hundred times before. Only this time, this time, Robb had answered, “You can’t be Lord of Winterfell, you’re bastard-born. My lady mother says you can’t ever be the Lord of Winterfell.”
I thought I had forgotten that. Jon could taste blood in his mouth, from the blow he’d taken.
In the end Halder and Horse had to pull him away from Iron Emmett, one man on either arm. The ranger sat on the ground dazed, his shield half in splinters, the visor of his helm knocked askew, and his sword six yards away. “Jon, enough,” Halder was shouting, “he’s down, you disarmed him. Enough!”
With those concepts established, let’s move onto Jon and his heroes and see how they match up like Robb’s.
“I’m Prince Aemon the Dragonknight,” Jon would call out
An important part of this memory is its position in A Storm of Swords. Jon is facing the possibility of becoming a Lord and getting everything he thinks he wants, namely Winterfell and all the respect and trappings it grants. The looming election of the new Lord Commander, however, is a problem. If Janos Slynt is elected, and it looks like he will be, Jon can expect to be sent on a suicide mission or outright executed for his actions with the Wildlings and Ygritte. Jon should take up Stannis’ offer in the interests of self-preservation along with getting his family home of Winterfell.
He doesn’t accept his chance at glory, valuing his vows and honor more than his own well-being, and walks into the hall where the election is going on. He has chosen to give up this chance at the life he has yearned for since his childhood and accepts his fate as a sworn brother.
Jon’s first choice of hero, Aemon, is noteworthy because of the similarities between his early love and that of Jon. Aemon was the third son of the brother of the King, Aegon III, and, as such, was quite a ways down on the list of heirs to the Iron Throne. While not a bastard, Aemon was as unlikely to inherit the throne as Jon was to inherit Winterfell, given just how many family members preceded him in the line of succession. It is also famously rumored that Aemon was in love with his sister, Naerys, a strong rumor that endured through the years and made it to the ear of Sansa Stark more than century later (ACOK Tyrion IX):
“Prince Aemon the Dragonknight cried the day Princess Naerys wed his brother Aegon,” Sansa Stark said
This relationship between the two siblings is significant enough that Naerys’ feelings for Aemon merited inclusion in The World of Ice and Fire:
She loved Aemon best of her brothers, for he knew how to make her laugh—and he had something of the same piety that she possessed, while Aegon did not. She loved the Seven as dearly as she loved her brother, if not more so, and might have been a septa if her lord father had allowed it. But he did not, and Viserys instead wed her to his son Aegon in 153 AC, with King Aegon III’s blessing. The singers say that Aemon and Naerys both wept during the ceremony, though the histories tell us Aemon quarreled with Aegon at the wedding feast, and that Naerys wept during the bedding rather than the wedding.
Further explaining the relevance of this connection between the two sibling relationships separated by more than a hundred years is this except from George’s initial outline for ASOIAF:
Hounded by Lannister riders, they will seek refuge at the Wall, but the men of the Night’s Watch give up their families when they take the black, and Jon and Benjen will not be able to help, to Jon’s anguish. It will lead to a bitter estrangement between Jon and Bran. Arya will be more forgiving… until she realizes, with terror, that she has fallen in love with Jon, who is not only her half-brother but a man of the Night’s Watch, sworn to celibacy. Their passion will continue to torment Jon and Arya throughout the trilogy
George’s original plan, as seen here, was for there to be a forbidden love between Jon and Arya. While a special connection between the two siblings still made it into the final text, George has toned it down quite a bit. However, the plot of Jon being attracted to his little sister and feeling as outcast is one which we instead see assigned to the Dragonknight.
Aemon’s reaction to losing the girl he loved and likely never inheriting the throne himself is choosing a life of service, very similar to Jon’s own journey. Aemon joined the Kingsguard at the age of seventeen and quickly rose to become one of its greatest heroes despite his youth. He became Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for many kings and served his cousin Daeron I, the same you dragon Robb pretended to be at play. This young appointment as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard is foreshadowing for what is about to happen to Jon as he walks into the hall in ASOS – Jon XII
”We’re not the ones who got chosen as the nine-hundredth-and-ninety-eighth Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. You best have some wine, Lord Jon. I think you’re going to need a lot of wine.”
So Jon Snow took the wineskin from his hand and had a swallow. But only one. The Wall was his, the night was dark, and he had a king to face.
At the relatively young age of sixteen, Jon Snow becomes one of the youngest Lord Commanders that The Night’s Watch has ever seen. The astute reader is given the hint to this outcome with Aemon’s name drop, telling you that Samwell’s savvy political manipulations have worked and Janos will not be Lord Commander. In hindsight, it is brilliant inclusion of detail into a seemingly innocuous memory from Jon’s childhood. The connections between the two characters, however, do not end there.
Daemon or Aemon?
In the planning phases of ASOIAF, George had other plans for Aemon. In his theory, BryndenBFish argued that Aemon was originally intended to be the beginning of House Blackfyre, the bastard house of Targaryen, instead of Daemon Blackfyre. If Aemon was supposed to birth the bastard house of Targaryen, it would line up with the R+L=J as Jon would be a bastard of House Targaryen as well as a Stark, making Jon a Blackfyre in his own right. The first mention of House Blackfyre isn’t until A Storm of Swords, meaning that George had likely been changing Aemon into Daemon as this book was being written.
One more thing that makes this memory possibly support R+L=J is the relationship between Aemon and Daeron. The two were not brothers or half-brothers, but cousins. They were very close to the same age and, both being princes, you’d expect for them to have grown up together. It’s tough to know if they were as close as Jon and Robb were, although you could make the argument that Daeron making Aemon his Lord Commander at such a young age is indicative of their level of affection and familiarity that existed between the two. Where this detail becomes significant in the current story is that, should Jon actually be the child of Rhaegar and Lyanna, he would actually be Robb’s cousin, not half-brother as they’ve been led to believe. Had Jon stayed with Robb and gone south to war, it’s likely he would’ve held a similar position of trust in his cousin’s retinue as Aemon held in Daeron’s court.
While these two connections are speculation I find them intriguing. They show a scrapped plan that would’ve revealed R+L=J much sooner in the story. However as the story grew and evolved these direct references hit the bin. The traces of them still exist in the story like Qyburn’s ghost story in the Citadel. (ASOS Jaime VI):
“Once, at the Citadel, I came into an empty room and saw an empty chair. Yet I knew a woman had been there, only a moment before. The cushion was dented where she’d sat, the cloth was still warm, and her scent lingered in the air. If we leave our smells behind us when we leave a room, surely something of our souls must remain when we leave this life?”
The clues have been broken apart and spread out across the series although, if you look hard enough, can still see their remnants from time to time.
A Pit of Vipers
A major event of Aemon’s life was his capture in Dorne after the death of his cousin Daeron I. As I discussed earlier, Daeron was killed during peace negotiations with the Dornish. Aemon was actually there as Lord Commander and, instead of dying with his Kingsguard brothers, he was taken as a hostage. Afterwards, he was held in a humiliating way (TWOIAF):
Mounting the Stone Way, Baelor soon came to the place where the Wyls had imprisoned his cousin Prince Aemon. He found the Dragonknight naked in a cage.
House Wyl suspended Aemon, naked, in a crow cage above a pit of snakes for months until another of his cousins, the newly crowned King Baelor, arrived in person to secure Aemon’s release.
He had asked the Dornish prince to explicitly command the Dragonknight’s release, and this Lord Wyl accepted. Yet instead of freeing Aemon himself, he gave Baelor the key to Aemon’s cage, and an invitation to use it. But now, not only was Aemon naked in a cage, exposed to the hot sun by day and the cold wind by night, but also a pit had been dug beneath the cage, and within it were many vipers. The Dragonknight is said to have begged for the king to leave him, to go and seek aid in the Dornish Marches instead, but Baelor is said to have smiled and told him that the gods would protect him. Then he stepped into the pit.
Later, the singers claimed that the vipers bowed their heads to Baelor as he passed, but the truth is otherwise. Baelor was bitten half a dozen times while crossing to the cage, and though he opened it, he nearly collapsed before the Dragonknight was able to thrust open the door and pull his cousin from the pit. The Wyls are said to have laid wagers as Prince Aemon struggled to climb out of the cage with Baelor flung across his back, and perhaps it was their cruelty that spurred him to climb to the top of the cage and leap to safety.
Prince Aemon carried Baelor halfway down the Boneway before a village septon in the Dornish mountains gave him clothing and an ass on which to carry the comatose king.
The importance of this story is that Jon has not been suspended in a crow’s cage or forced to brave any sort of similar confinement or danger yet. This is one of the most defining moments of Aemon’s life and solidified his reputation as a great hero across Westeros. Given how important it was to the character of Aemon and how closely tied Jon and Aemon are, even down to Jon’s friendship with the Dragonknight’s great-grand nephew, Maester Aemon, we should expect Jon to somehow end up caged or held hostage in some form in future books and have an extremely impressive moment of heroism. It may even end up being someone like Bran, who has similar physical weaknesses and devotion to religion/mysticism that Baelor had, who comes to Jon’s rescue.
I hope you’ll forgive a small piece of tinfoil. A practical way this may happen is through warging. There’s a well supported theory that on his death Jon will warg into Ghost and live a second life “worthy of a king”. Perhaps Ghost/Jon gets captured, runs away, goes crazy and those who wish to bring back Jon can’t get his consciousness out of the wolf. It may fall on Bran’s shoulders, as an expert warg, to retrieve his disembodied brother’s mind from Ghost, mirroring Baelor’s retrieval of Aemon from the crow cage.
The Noblest Knight Who Ever Lived
The final connection between Jon and Aemon is how Aemon’s life eventually ended. Despite being a renowned hero, knight, commander of armies, and (supposedly) having an affair with his sister Queen Naerys, Aemon never became a King or a Lord. It’s a very popular belief among the fandom that Jon will eventually become Jon Stark, King of the North or Jon Targaryen, King of the Seven Kingdoms, or at least rule Winterfell at some point. If the similarities between Jon and the Dragonknight continue, Aemon’s life suggests that none of those predictions will turn out to be true.
From the young age of seventeen until his dying day, Aemon Targaryen served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, no more no less. He died in a final act of faithful service to the crown, protecting his brother, Aegon IV, from an assassination attempt by the Toyne brothers. This could be George’s plan as well for Jon’s fate, never wearing a crown or ruling as Lord, but rather making the ultimate sacrifice for duty and brotherhood. It would make as much sense for Jon as it did for Aemon never to have this wish fulfilled. They both desired to be lords, to have wives and families, surpass their brothers and cousins as they know they could. Aemon could’ve killed his kings in single combat, commanded armies to bring them down, even precede Jaime Lannister as Kingslayer, but he never did and instead, served faithfully until his death, even for kings who he hated. That may be the future of Jon Snow, forever a Snow but also a hero remembered for generations.
Jon would reply, “I’m Ser Ryam Redwyne.”
In the case of Robb’s chosen heroes, Daeron had a huge amount of material written about him, but while Florian the Fool had hardly any. The same holds true for Jon’s chosen heroes. Aemon has a great deal written about his life and deeds. Ser Ryam, however, has very little written about him. What we do know is that he was the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for King Jaehaerys for many years and is remembered fondly as one of the greatest Knights that the Seven Kingdoms have ever known. Over and over, Ryam is remembered by different characters as having been the absolute pinnacle of honor and knighthood. From Ser Dontos (ACOK Sansa II)…
Lady, I have never been a hero, no Ryam Redwyne or Barristan the Bold. I’ve won no tourneys, no renown in war
…to Maester Pylos (ASOS Davos V)…
Ser Ryam Redwyne was the greatest knight of his day, and one of the worst Hands ever to serve a king.
…to even Jaime Lannister (ASOS Jaime VIII)…
Worn by the bony arse of Barristan the Bold and Ser Gerold Hightower before him, by Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, Ser Ryam Redwyne, and the Demon of Darry, by Ser Duncan the Tall and the Pale Griffin Alyn Connington. How could the Kingslayer belong in such exalted company?
Among many other similar mentions. The high level of honor and chivalry demonstrated by Ser Ryam Redwyne is well-established. The basic level of George’s choice in having Jon pretend to be Ryam in the memory again foreshadows that Jon is about to be elected Lord Commander in this chapter. A single Lord Commander reference in the memory can be dismissed as insignificant, but a pair of references to faithful Lord Commanders in history makes it fairly obvious what immediate event George is trying to foreshadow with Jon’s heroes.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Beyond his role as Lord Commanders of the Kingsguard and his reputation as a knight whose honor was without equal in his lifetime, however, we are given almost no information about Ryam’s life. The books and the World Book are devoid of any mention of his noteworthy battles, knightly achievements, or even significant exploits as Hand of the King. Instead, all we are given is that on Jaeherys I’s 55th anniversary of being crowned King of Westeros, a tourney was held and it’s widely remembered as the best example of jousting ever seen (TWOIAF):
The final tilt, wherein the Kingsguard knights Ser Ryam Redwyne and Ser Clement Crabb broke thirty lances against each other before King Jaehaerys proclaimed them co champions, was declared to be the finest display of jousting ever seen in Westeros.
Ryam was a renowned jouster and stubborn, going blow for blow with his fellow Kingsguard member until the old King forced them to stop. He was tenacious, skilled, and, most of all, unyielding.
These same traits are exemplified by Jon during his tenure as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. An important detail of the joust is that it wasn’t against a random lord or knight. Ryam’s opponent was another brother of the Kingsguard. Ryam went 30 lances with a fellow sworn brother, and, in his own way, Jon engages in lengthy conflicts with his own sworn brothers. He has enormous problems with First Steward Bowen Marsh and First Builder Othell Yarwick about letting the Wildlings through the Wall and using them to garrison the abandoned castles. His fellow leaders never stop being angry with these actions (ADWD Jon VIII):
Septon Cellador made the sign of the star. Othell Yarwyck grunted. Bowen Marsh said, “Some might call this treason. These are wildlings. Savages, raiders, rapers, more beast than man.”
In A Dance With Dragons, Jon argues with Bowen in just about every chapter in which their paths are shown to cross. Like Ryam was in his 30-lance joust, Jon is tenacious, skilled, and unyielding in his conflict with Bowen. They keep crashing into each other over and over, until it has to be stopped. That is the defining characteristic of Jon’s tenure as Lord Commander so far, unending and stubborn conflict with the very people that are supposed to be his friends and allies.
He had a king to face
A second parallel between Jon and Ryam is is evidenced in how Ryam is remembered as a Hand of the King (The World of Ice and Fire):
When Septon Barth passed away in his sleep in 99 AC, the famed Kingsguard knight Ser Ryam Redwyne was made Hand. But his valor and prowess with sword and lance proved to not be matched by his ability to rule.
Given the similarities between Jon’s life and what little is revealed about Ryam’s life, the short tenure Ryam enjoyed as Hand of the King foreshadows Jon’s eventual downfall as Lord Commander of The Night’s Watch, similar to how Robb’s downfall is foreshadowed by his comparison to Daeron and Florian. Although it is never explicitly stated what it was that made Ryam a poor Hand of the King, it’s not difficult to reach a likely conclusion from what little is revealed about his actions, mainly from the example of the jousts. His unyielding nature was on full display during that tourney. From it, one can draw the conclusion that Ryam was an incredibly stubborn, sword-fixes-everything kind of guy. Bravery in the face of adversity is a trait which is expected of Westerosi knights and, as someone who is a heralded paragon of chivalry, one can reasonably expect that Ser Ryam exuded such bravery and straightforward thinking in all aspects of his life.
To which king is Jon considered a Hand in all but name then? The answer is actually King Stannis. Throughout A Dance With Dragons, Stannis’ actual Hand of the King, Ser Davos, is off on various missions and doesn’t communicate with his King. Stannis does listen to Mellisandre and his wife on certain topics, but the lion’s share of the counsel which Stannis heeds comes from Jon Snow. On matters ranging from politics to tactics to even the houses and culture of the North, Stannis trusts Ned Stark’s bastard to give useful advice. Almost all of Stannis’ strategy for taking Winterfell is based upon ideas put forth by Jon, from the Mountain Clans down to which castle Stannis should hit first (ADWD Jon IV):
Jon realized that his words were wasted. Stannis would take the Dreadfort or die in the attempt. The Night’s Watch takes no part, a voice said, but another replied, Stannis fights for the realm, the ironmen for thralls and plunder. “Your Grace, I know where you might find more men. Give me the wildlings, and I will gladly tell you where and how.”
…before he could object, the king said, “Where would you have me lead these stalwarts if not against the Dreadfort?”
Jon glanced down at the map. “Deepwood Motte.” He tapped it with a finger. “If Bolton means to fight the ironmen, so must you. Deepwood is a motte-and-bailey castle in the midst of thick forest, easy to creep up on unawares. A wooden castle, defended by an earthen dike and a palisade of logs. The going will be slower through the mountains, admittedly, but up there your host can move unseen, to emerge almost at the gates of Deepwood.”
Should the King fail, a lot of the blame may fall on Jon for his recommendations especially from Queen Seleyse. Although from our perspective Jon gave sensible, well reasoned advice he could very well be remembered similarly to Ryam as a great battle commander (defense of the Wall against Mance) but a terrible administrator (allowing the wildlings through) and advisor (Hand of the King).
Aside from the tactics of warfare, navigating the political arena is one of the main job functions for the Hand of the King. To be successful, a Hand needs intelligence, negotiation skills, and the determination to get results. As we see from Ned Stark’s short tenure as Hand, soldiers and military men who know only the battlefield have trouble adjusting to a world where words and favors wield more power than a sword. Jon ends up suffering a similar shortcoming, which leads to his tragic stabbing by none other than his debate partner Bowen Marsh and his supporters (ADWD 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.
In the end, Jon’s downfall as Lord Commander of The Night’s Watch came not from foreign diplomacy with the Wildlings or a loss on the battlefield due to poor tactics or lack of skill, but from being unable to control his own men and find common ground with them. His attention being fixed beyond his Wall to the exclusion of what was going on right in front of him was a fundamental failure as a commander and, in his case, it got him killed.
Into Winter and Spring
As with Aemon, there are a few subtle clues to what will happen to Jon after the events of A Dance With Dragons. Firstly, we are not told who succeeds Aemon as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. There is not another Lord Commander established in canon until Ser Duncan the Tall. In Ryam’s case, however, we are explicitly told who succeeds him as Lord Commander. The next Lord Commander was none other than Ser Harrold Westerling, ancestor of Queen Jeyne Westerling, wife to King Robb Stark.
Jeyne’s mother’s family, the Spicers, was rewarded by Tywin Lannister with the lordship of Castamere following the Red Wedding, seemingly as a reward for their part in breaking up Robb’s coalition. While Jeyne may have truly loved Robb, it’s clear that her parents did not and accepted land and favorable marriages in the future for their children from Tywin in exchange for them playing some role in Robb’s downfall. Or at the very least, willing to accept the blood money even if they did nothing. In A Feast For Crows, the Westerlings are finally leaving Riverrun to go home under the protection of Lannister soldiers.
There is, however, a Westerling child missing. Their eldest son, Raynald Westerling, was a personal friend of and sworn knight to King Robb. Raynald wasn’t in on the planning of the Red Wedding, as he personally attended the celebration-turned-massacre while the rest of his family stayed safely in Riverrun. Raynald was true friend and loyal to his liege lord (ASOS Catelyn IV):
Raynald is part Theon and part Jon Snow. Only with the Westerlings did she see Robb smile, or hear him laugh like the boy he was.
that narrowly escaped the Red Wedding after trying to free Grey Wind but left a bloody trail to the river from his crossbow bolt wounds. As we all know, there’s no death in ASOIAF until there’s a corpse as such it’s possible that Raynald could re-appear later, perhaps at the Night’s Watch under an assumed name. However it’s more likely that this means that the Lord Commander after Jon will be someone who personally betrayed Jon, conspirators that don’t get caught with Bowen and his fellow mutineers, or a person who belongs to a family that betrayed the Starks. Allister Thorne, Cotter Pyke (the bastard house of the Iron Islands and the Greyjoys), or refuges from the War of the Five Kings comes to mind.
It’s also an interesting inclusion to give Ryam any named successors at all by George. Assuming that Jon is Ryam, this means that following Jon’s assassination the Night’s Watch won’t be destroyed by mutiny and in-fighting. The Watch should, according Ryam’s life, elect at least two more Lord Commanders. While the first will be innocuous and possibly scandalous, the second should add high drama and intrigue.
I shall wear no crowns and win no glory
The vacancy left by Ryam in the Kingsguard was filled by none other than Ser Criston Cole, the infamous Kingmaker and future Lord Commander (AFFC The Soiled Knight):
Ser Criston Cole. Criston the Kingmaker had set brother against sister and divided the Kingsguard against itself, bringing on the terrible war the singers named the Dance of the Dragons. Some claimed he acted from ambition, for Prince Aegon was more tractable than his willful older sister. Others allowed him nobler motives, and argued that he was defending ancient Andal custom. A few whispered that Ser Criston had been Princess Rhaenyra’s lover before he took the white and wanted vengeance on the woman who had spurned him
Criston is the Lord Commander who split the Kingsguard and helped to ignite the Dance of the Dragons by siding with Aegon II over the rightful heir, Princess Rhaenyra. Like Jon planning on marching on Ramsay Bolton to save Jeyne Poole (who he thinks is his sister Arya), Criston broke his vows and took sides instead of serving the realm and his rightful ruler. This could be foreshadowing for how Jon eventually acts, but I’m inclined to believe that Criston does not exist as historical foreshadowing for Jon, but rather for the future Lord Commander of The Night’s Watch.
If Jon is supposed to be Ryam, then the Criston of the current story should be the 1000th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. This Lord Commander will split the Watch against itself in a struggle among monarchs, siding with one over the other instead of accepting whoever sits upon the Iron Throne as being the rightful ruler. In the forthcoming Winds of Winter, there may be as many as six or more all claiming to rule the Seven Kingdoms at the same time (Tommen, Dany, Aegon, Stannis, Euron, the Night’s King (/u/ByronicWolf’s idea)). How the Night’s Watch Lord Commander decides which monarch or claim they should accept as the true ruler will be an enormous problem with no easy solution, absent outright victory by one of the claimants over the rest. Extending the Criston Cole parallel, however, the Watch would end up supporting someone that has a weaker claim to the throne of Westeros or just the North by law.
Who that may be, I’m not exactly sure. Following Criston’s life, the rightful ruler should be female and someone known personally by the 1000th Lord Commander. They should then choose a male with a weaker claim in a way that will set off an open civil war. All of which will happening at a terrible time as many expect in the next book that the Others are bringing Winter and the dead with them across or through the Wall. This Lord Commander may inadvertently bring about the total destruction of the North and the Watch by failing to unify his command when Kingdoms need it most. Will this be Jon, raised again and re-elected? Or will Jon be forced to depose this Lord Commander, someone he may know personally, for the good of the realm? Tantalizing and intriguing possibilities await us in the fall of Winter.
In summary, George was exceedingly clever in burying his plans for Jon later on in this innocuous memory. It’s a shame I discovered this so late in the series. Most of the parallel plots I’ve found which harken back to Aemon and Ryam have already played out by the end of A Dance With Dragons. There are still parts of their lives which haven’t “repeated” themselves in Jon’s life, as I believe we haven’t seen the last of Jon. There are still at least two books left, so if Lord Snow makes a return in The Winds of Winter and/or A Dream of Spring, he still has a chance to flesh out those parallels between his own life and those of the two heroes he played as a child in sparring with Robb. I hope you keep your eyes open and look for the exploits of Ryam and Aemon being played out by Jon. I know I will. Thank you very much for reading, hope you enjoyed both posts as much as I enjoyed writing and researching them.
As always, a big thanks for MisterWoodhousefor all his help.