Yes, it was a power play to kill Slynt for refusing his order, but it was also a sign that Jon Snow hasn't lost his morality just because he's gained power as lord commander.
Sure, Jon Snow has been pretty emo so far this season. I mean, the guy lost the love of his life, so give him a break (but that's another article in and of itself).
The point is, he hasn't been his usual self so far this season. He's even more sullen and moody than we're used to.
In fact, the "You know nothing" line from Ygritte was a popular sentiment last night.
Considering changing my name to Jon Snow, because I know nothing— GameOfThrones Reacts (@GameThroneReact) April 26, 2015
u kno nothin jon snow— jake the human (@killthenoise) April 25, 2015
Cameron says "You know nothing, Jon Snow" to Jon Snow. Then a dragon flaps in and carries him off, yes?— Chris Addison (@mrchrisaddison) April 24, 2015
But there is no way anyone can ever accuse Jon Snow of lacking a backbone. The guy has and will always be a badass. Slynt's beheading didn't somehow signify a new Jon Snow. It's been in him all along. (Remember that war scene last season. He owned those wildlings and don't ever forget it.)
Rather, this scene marks Jon's ultimate struggle as a moral badass.
Remember when he almost beheaded Ygritte and he couldn't bring himself to do it?
It wasn't because he lacked the will. But he couldn't see the justice behind it to bring himself to do it. With Slynt, he finally had a just reason to bring down his enemy in cold blood, just like Ned Stark taught him.
So what we're really seeing here is Game of Thrones coming full circle, and Ned Stark's legacy living on in his bastard son.
In the premiere episode of the show, Ned beheads a deserter and explains to Bran, "Our way is the old way. The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
Jon is carrying on that tradition and doing the honorable thing by Slynt, even though it's uncomfortable.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow in the show, explained, "I feel like somehow Jon knows, somehow deep down, that Slynt is an unjust man who's done bad things and that's what gives him the power to do that."
If you remember, before joining the Night's Watch, Slynt was leading King's Landing City Watch. He was the one who betrayed and arrested Ned Stark all the way back in Season 1.
Sure, it was Jon's first test of leadership. But, come on now, we all know it will be far from the last or the worst decision he is compelled to make. And we shouldn't expect this to be some big, evil rise of Jon Snow, either. He'll continue to torture himself over the hard decisions because that's who he is. He wants so badly to be moral, as if that will make up for the fact that he was born a bastard. So yeah, call his morality emo if you want to. But he's the one character on the show who actually struggles with the honor behind his actions, so I'll take his moodiness over blind lack of empathy any day.
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