“You too, child?” choked Gaius Julius Caesar one fateful day in march, his tunic bloody and torn, the life draining from his body, the result of the ultimate betrayal delivered from a gang of conspirators taking the form of a mob like assassination.
Caesar was the head of Rome, a man who wasn’t afraid to make tough decisions, a man both loved and hated by those that followed him. Caesar wasn’t a bad man, but he did bad things for the sake of the world that looked to him for leadership. One day however, those that were not team Gaius, conspired and rallied together to murder the man they thought to be bringing Rome to ruins, stabbing him over and over again in the middle of the forum floor, an event that would become one of the most famous moments in human history.
Now, Jon Snow isn’t Caesar, there are some similarities between the two in terms of neither being afraid to make unpopular decisions, or of willing to be hated to do what they believed to be right and of being the de facto leader of a group of people in a time of war and death. Jon is a purer soul than Caesar however, he is a better man than his historical counterpart but none of this stopped him from being the recipient of an almost identical fate.
Jon, having come back from witnessing evil first hand, saving hundreds of Wildling lives but also losing many of his own men in return, found himself a hated man, more so than ever before. The choice to go against everything the Night’s Watch has ever stood for was an unpopular decision to say the least and unfortunately it resulted in his death. Tricked and betrayed by his own men, stabbed one by one by said conspirators in the snowy courtyard of Castle Back. This was obviously the biggest moment of the episode, maybe even the most surprising death since dear old Ned, but really I had to talk about this moment and not any other because if I discussed anything else I’m afraid it might seem like I didn’t like the finale or even the show itself and that’s just not the case. I love it, it’s still the greatest show on TV (HANNIBAL is close behind and catching) but I am used to perfection with GAME OF THRONES and the finale fell just short of the usual standard. But anyway, that’s enough of that, let’s get back on topic.
Like I mentioned before, Jon is similar to Caesar in a way but also very different. Jon was pure, untainted, a beacon of hope, the only classical hero we had left and he was taken from us when we needed him most, murdered by his own men, his brothers. But like Caesar, the last betrayal Jon witnessed was also the cruellest, the most painful. In a similar vein to Brutus — Caesar’s close friend being the man to strike the final blow — Olly was the one to finish off Jon, a boy who he took in, a boy who he considered a friend, a child he had only ever tried to protect, but Olly had seen too much, Olly couldn’t come to terms with the decision to protect the Wildling’s, to help the savages who had murdered his family. The look on Jon’s face as he realised what was happening was tragic, as tragic as his entire story; a bastard boy sent to the wall, made to stand by as his father was murdered, his brother, the only mother he had ever known, all taken from him, but he somehow stayed true, on the path of righteousness, the only character to always seemingly be doing the right thing.
I’ve been coming back to a particular quote a lot recently while watching Game of Thrones, a quote from the show itself, a line delivered by one Ramsay Bolton. “If you think this has a happy ending then you clearly haven’t been paying much attention”. He may have been onto something there. The ending to Mothers Mercy left a sour taste in my mouth. The Wall, The Night’s Watch and Castle Black will forever be a place of sinister intentions to me now, a place filled with cruel and hateful energy. Game of Thrones reminds me of THE WALKING DEAD in a way, in that show the zombies aren’t the ones to worry about, it’s the people that provide the significant threat and this is where we are now in GOT. Sure, there are scary monsters, malevolent beings of dark power, but it is our fellow human that is the cruellest foe, the one that is cursed with such horrible flaws.
So Caesar is dead, The Nights Watch is doomed, the last man able to protect us from the long night cruelly taken from us. The question now is: who is our Octavian? Who is going to rise up and become Augustus? Do we even want that? In this scenario Olly should have been Octavian, the man to take the torch and deliver the world into the future, and Sam should have been Brutus, the one to betray the man who loved him like family. But that isn’t the case, the Caesar/Game of Thrones comparison only goes so far, what the future holds isn’t clear. This isn’t the Ides of March, spring isn’t coming, we are beyond the cusp and winter is here. Maybe there are no heroes coming to save the day. Maybe Dany will never make it to Westeros. Maybe Arya will succumb to a life of blood lust. Maybe Sansa will only ever be able to amount to false confidence by the side of someone stronger, destined to be the perpetual victim. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the Nights King came to the lands of men and wiped these miserable and abhorrent individuals from existence.