Hey crew, it’s your man W! One of my best buddies Jay dragged me over to his place when I told him this sentence: “I have never watched Game of Thrones”. The way he reacted you’d think I told him no one ever celebrated any of my birthdays. So he made it a point to apparently enlighten my heathen ass about the wonderful world of Westeros.
I’m not gonna lie, that stuff’s pretty depressing if you get attached to someone who ends up dead. Somehow, I managed to sit through all six seasons of it so far. Not exactly sure how y’all managed to sit through it and wait from one season to another. God, those cliffhangers! So my buddy Jay told me that it was unfortunate how Robb Stark bit the big one since he would have made a great king since he was a good leader. I simply had to disagree. I told him that his brother Jon was a way better leader.
Aside from all the offended sputtering, he listed some reasons why Robb Stark makes a great leader:
- Has the proper last name
- Has the respect of lords
- He’s well-studied on the art of war
- He was raised to be a leader
So I told him that other than the first reason, the others are false. Since I’m sure you guys wanna know why I think that way, lemme enlighten you on it.
Sure, he has the proper last name. He’s the firstborn Stark son and that’s pretty much all he had going for him. He was highborn so he has very little knowledge about how the world actually is. Wherever he goes people immediately start bowing and scraping when they find out who he is. Which is also why he seemed so affronted when other lords were giving him flak and didn’t immediately follow his orders.
The simple fact that Lork Karstark was giving him lip on a fairly regular basis meant that he did not have the respect of the lords who swore to serve him. As for the “fact” that he was well-studied on the art of war, that’s not something he has a personal claim to. The other lords were at his shoulder at the start of every battle–using their own practical experiences on the art of war. This is also why Robb won every battle but lost the war.
As for the fact that he was raised to be a leader translates more to “he was raised to give orders and expect those orders to be carried out NOW”. That doesn’t exactly speak of actual leadership, does it?
Robb never really got to serve under true leadership. People in general showed in deference simply because he was Ned Stark’s son. Jon Snow served as a steward to Jeor Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Jon got to experience true leadership and learned what it took to gain respect and maintain command. Jon also had the wise Maester Aemon give him crucial advice when it seemed too hard to keep to their vows.
My man Jon Snow did not have anything handed to him. Since he was a bastard, everyone pretty much scoffed and belittled him. All his life everyone reminded him that he was a bastard which is why he believed that taking The Black was a pretty good idea. When he was training to join the Night’s Watch, he came face to face with the cold hard reality of life. There were people who had it worse than him. He had no great name to hide behind to demand deference or respect. His own uncle Benjen told him that anything you get on the Wall you earn yourself.
Jon Snow came down from his entitled cloud pretty fast and directed his efforts into actually helping his future brothers. I would have paid good money to see how Robb would have taken all the crap Jon had to take from Alliser Thorne.
Jon earned the respect that people gave him. He’s proven that he’s not beyond doing what’s truly necessary to carry out his oath. He had to kill a brother in order to gain the trust of Wildlings. He found a woman who truly loved him and he loved her just as much and yet when it came down to it, he kept true to his oath. Unlike Robb who forgot his oath to marry one of the Frey girls and went for someone else and expected no consequences.
Robb’s actions were born from love, in a way–but mostly it came off as “I can do what I want. I’m King.”
Does that strike you as someone who’s a good leader? While leaders are expected to carry out tough decisions, the end goal is to better any situation for the people who follow them. Jon’s actions remained all about protecting the Wall–until he realized that the Wildlings they try so hard to keep out were just people. With the Night King out there, having the Wildlings on their side would have meant they would have more fighting forces. When his watch ended, his focus was securing the North in order to better the odds of fighting the White Walkers. Sure some sweet revenge came along the way but that was a bonus and not the primary goal.
So basically, Jon is the better leader. My buddy Jay was gracious enough to say that I had a rather good point. So what about you guys? Who do you think is the better leader: Jon Snow or Robb Stark?