Look, the honest truth is Jon Snow has been the hero of this series ever since Ned Stark was beheaded in season one. So naturally (whether we want to admit it or not), we all wanted to see him “win.” We wanted Jon to live happily ever after and, in a way, he did. The happiest we ever saw Jon was during his time with Ygritte north of the Wall, and now he’s going back to that cave that he once wished he could stay in for the rest of his life. Two episodes ago, Jon told Tormund that Ghost wasn’t fit for life on this side of the wall, but it seems that Jon was really talking about himself.
So how did Jon’s story line this week get us to this “happy” ending for him? To start, he was forced to confront the single moment in the series that affected him most: his death. Jon’s character transformed when the men who had elected him Lord Commander betrayed him and stabbed him in the heart. Call him naive, but Jon couldn’t understand how these men whom he’d protected and trusted with his life could turn on him. Now, when put in a similar situation to those men, Jon was forced to do exactly the same thing to the woman he had sworn to obey and fight beside. Jon’s character grew and began to understand the human condition as he saw someone he had trusted and believed in make decisions he disagreed with, just as his men were toward the end of season five.
By killing Daenerys, Jon proved himself to be Azor Ahai, the prophesied “Prince That Was Promised,” who forged his sword three times: First, by plunging it into water (the White Walkers), then, by plunging it into the heart of a lion (the Lannister army), and finally, by plunging it into the heart of the woman he loved (Daenerys). Jon’s murder of Daenerys was tragic, but also inevitable. He was doing what was right for the realm, knowing the personal cost for himself, just as his uncle Ned did in season one when he refused to keep the knowledge he’d uncovered about Joffrey’s birth a secret.
Ned’s original sentence, before Joffrey went rogue and had him beheaded, was to go up North and serve the rest of his life as a member of the Night’s Watch. Jon was given the same sentence and given the opportunity to see that sentence out. So, in many ways, his story is the conclusion of Ned Stark’s.