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20th May 2019

Game of Thrones ‘love is the death of duty’ quote shows a Jon Snow lesson learned


The quote called back to one of Game of Throne’s central themes

Consider this your spoiler warning. If you’ve not seen the full Game of Thrones series, including the finale, then you are about to encounter spoilers. So, if you’ve not watched it, then get off this article right now. Do it. Leave. Because spoilers (like winter) are coming.

After too many long nights, Game of Thrones fans have finally got the closure they have so desperately craved with the airing of the show’s finale, aptly named ‘The Iron Throne’.

In the end, nobody ended the show sitting on the chair itself, it having been melted by everyone’s favourite fiery boi, Drogan, after its mother Daenerys was killed by Jon Snow mid-embrace. The man, who had so often been the show’s hero, forced to abandon honour in favour of the greater good.

The build-up to the moment Jon betrayed his Queen, saw Tyrion – imprisoned for treason – persuading him that Dany was no longer fit to rule the seven kingdoms.

“I know you love her. I love her, too. Not as successfully as you, but I believed in her with all my heart. Love is more powerful than reason. We all know that,” Tyrion said.

In response, Jon quoted Maester Aemon from his time at the Night’s Watch: “Love is the death of duty.”

When Aemon originally spoke those words, he was describing how so many men before him had abandoned their Night’s Watch oath to forgo having a family or sex, because of love.  And the throwback was a reminder of how often this had been true for Jon himself.

In fact, the theme of love leading to characters abandoning their duty and making poor decisions has been central to the series throughout its run. Had Snow’s father Prince Rhaegar remained faithful and not married Lyanna Stark, Robert’s rebellion may never have happened. Had Snow’s adopted brother Robb Stark chosen to marry Walder Frey’s daughter, as promised, it’s likely he would have ended up on the Iron Throne.

In choosing his duty to the people over his Queen, Jon Snow was in effect breaking the wheel – and allowing Westeros to be ruled in favour of the greater good.