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In the final episode of the 4th season of Game of Thrones,

when Stannis reaches Mance Rayder's camp, Jon Snow tells Stannis that his father died for him. This implies that Jon knows why Ned Stark died and that Stannis is the rightful heir to the throne.

How does Jon know this? How does he know what Ned discovered in King's Landing (that Joffrey was not really Robert's son)?

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Especially considering the undeniable fact that Jon Snow known nuthin –  KharoBangdo Jun 17 at 4:10

2 Answers 2

In S01E08- a letter was sent from Grand Maester Pycelle to the Lord Commander Mormont (the Old Bear) declaring that Eddard Stark has been declared a traitor to the kingdom (of Joffrey Baratheon).

Mormont chooses to share the letter with Jon Snow, so at the very least Jon knows that his father had been declared a traitor for not 'bending the knee' to Joffrey when Robert died. From the book:

"Lord Eddard Stark has been imprisoned. He is charged with treason. It is said he plotted with Robert's brothers to deny the throne to Prince Joffrey"

Its also hardly a secret that Ned favored Stannis to be the next King, soon after Robert dies, Joffrey calls everyone significant present in Kings Landing to the throne room to receive oaths of fealty from them. Ned had hoped that Cersei would flee the city with Joffrey, but he was forced to denounce him in a public way. From the book he declares:

"Your son has no claim on the throne he sits. Lord Stannis is Robert's true heir.

This declaration was made in front of all the significant people of court at King's Landing.

When Ned is taken prisoner the whole kingdom at this point descends into civil war, with the Lannister, Stark and two distinct Baratheon armies (Stannis and Renly), plus all their banner-men fighting over control of the kingdom.

It seems very unlikely that the news that Ned had declared himself for Stannis was not heard by Jon at some point.

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I've given quotes from the book, but in all honesty I think this closely reflects what the TV show did here too - I just don't have access to that now. –  iandotkelly Jun 17 at 4:32

Jon Snow knows his father Lord Eddard Stark will always do the right and honorable thing no matter the price.

When the ravens are sent out to everywhere spreading the news of Ned Stark's treason, one of them is also sent to the Wall. Jon reads the contents of the letter after receiving it from Mormont.

Jon knows that if his father hasn't bent his knee to Joffrey and had been caught in an act of treason to overthrow Joffrey's claim against Robert's brothers, he surely knows that Stannis is next in line and the rightful King.

Purely in my opinion, Jon has ulterior motives in accepting Stannis as the rightful king to his face. That's only a speculation but.

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