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)?

  • 13
    Especially considering the undeniable fact that Jon Snow known nuthin Jun 17, 2014 at 4:10
  • Ned wrote a message to Stannis in s1 just b4being captured n gave it to a servant to deliver it only in Stannis' hands. and in s2 when Stannis had read it he sent it to all corners of the kingdom isnt it? rewatch season 2.
    – Manny265
    Jan 7, 2015 at 20:36

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.

  • 2
    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, 2014 at 4:32
  • Quite a lot of quotes for a very vague answer. Apr 4, 2015 at 14:31
  • Also, Janos Slynt liked to remind Jon that he's a "bastard son of a traitor" and was closely involved in everything Ned and Stannis related. It's perfectly possible he'd have taken great pleasure in filling Jon in on the ignoble details. May 11, 2016 at 18:06
  • 1
    Jon would likely also be aware of the rumors about the Lannister children being bastards from incest. Even if Jon has no confirmation, he can infer that if Ned rejected Joffrey as the heir, that Ned would've only done so if he had genuine reason to believe it, which means Jon can pretty much take Ned's stance without knowing its precise justification.
    – Flater
    May 16, 2019 at 11:14

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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