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GOT - Jon Snow powerup fics

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Skeletaure, Jan 16, 2024.

  1. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I love me a Jon Snow powerup fic. However, a problem I frequently encounter is that the author goes way overboard. They give Jon 20 dragons, have him surpass Arthur Dayne as a swordsman, and just throw allies into his waiting lap, including characters like Ned who are Robert's allies but suddenly have overnight conversions into Targaryen loyalists. Oh, and of course, canals and crop rotation.

    So let's brainstorm. What's the middle ground? What do you give to Jon Snow to make him more powerful and proactive than canon, but not silly OP?

    Some thoughts:

    - Go in harder on warging, letting Jon realise he has the ability at a younger age and use it to a greater extent. Focus here would be essentially using it to gain access to information. So much of GOT turns on information and secrets. But the downside is that intelligence work is not really in Jon's nature/temperament. You would need to do character work to get him to be willing to use it that way, and able to effectively use the information he uncovers.

    - Give him a single ally who knows who he is and will work to see his rise. Essentially, doing the slow work of building a support base via political wheeling and dealing. The main subject matter of GOT so it works well. The danger here is in striking the right balance between things being too easy - everyone just falling over themselves to see him on the throne because it is his right - and things being too hard - and dreary and dull grind that never goes anywhere. Also a story such as this is probably better told from the POV of the ally who is doing the wheeling and dealing.

    - Give him a single dragon. One that will grow slowly, as Daenerys' did, leaving him vulnerable, and will be actually difficult to conceal and in real danger of being killed young. Mostly this is useful as a proof of his identity and claim.

    - Give him some other discrete magical ability, potentially something picked up in Essos, if you can find a reason to get him there. Ideally something that is not some flashy combat magic - which feels at odds with the setting - and reasonably arcane. A glass candle and the ability to use it, for example. Though that more or less replicates the warg approach of having an ability to obtain information/secrets.

    - Go hard on his swordsmanship, making him Arthur Dayne type quality and having Ned seek a knight for him to squire to, heading south as part of that. Gets him out of the North and into the mix down south. Also always fun writing a badass knight. But ultimately this is probably the least effective in terms of getting him where he needs to be politically to claim the throne.

    To avoid the feeling of Jon just being given too much stuff, I feel like really a fic should only give him one of these. At most a combination of 2. Too many and it feels like the author is just giving Jon stuff for the cool factor, with those elements inevitably being neglected by the story because he already has plenty of other things going on. In particular, I feel like he should only have one magical ability. Warging OR a dragon OR an Essos magical ability.

    Particularly suitable combinations I think:

    - Dragon + ally

    - Warging + swordsman

    - Swordsman + ally

    I also think for any proactive Jon fic you need to have him find out about his heritage much sooner. By the time he finds out in canon, it's all rather too late. Some of the above abilities give him a means to find out, which works well, because I don't think Ned should just come out and tell him while he's still a child. Too far against Ned's character.
     
  2. Heather_Sinclair

    Heather_Sinclair Chief Warlock

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    Seems I've read a few of these on AO3. Very few, mind you. There's always something extra added though, an AU setting like
    Warden of the Hedges or Knight of the Seven Kingdoms where Robert lost the rebellion and Jon has been raised in Winterfell. No dragons as of yet, but they aren't that far off. Heavy warging in Warden, if I remember right, with the assistance of Bloodraven. I get them mixed up.

    Jon earns his way through each story instead of being gifted with all manner of super-power-ups and few actual mentors and/or friends.

    And there is all manner of "Jon stumbles across evidence at the base of Lyanna's statue or in the broken tower that reveals who he actually is." and finding a random egg in a random place.

    To be realistic to Ned's portrayal, Jon would have to be approached by someone in-the-know, or be fostered by the same, because he'd just be too restrained in Winterfell to do anything. Ned would shut everything else down. I've been a fan of renown knight teaching Jon, because reasons. Really doens't matter who: Barriston after the Rebellion because Robert released him and Ned took him into his service, Arthur because he lived after the Tower of Joy, Jaime because he stopped fucking his sister early on and is trying to be a better person... it doesn't really matter.

    From there, it's an easier and more realistic story to tell. Plus, you have opportunities for egg knowledge, with those in the know, without randomly finding one under Arya's bed one evening.
     
  3. MonkeyEpoxy

    MonkeyEpoxy The Cursed Child DLP Supporter

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    I enjoy these fics too. I occasionally indulge in silly power fantasy Jon/Dany stories where he's essentially the goddamn Warrior come again but with dragons.

    My hard lines on a fic like that that would be library worthy agrees with yours. I also like the idea of him somehow/somewhere finding a fully grown dragon, but it's almost debilitatingly crippled in a way. Blind, unable to produce flames, or just very very old. The beast was in hiding or something, and lacked pride or anything beyond the next meal.

    If he did get an egg, I'm not fond of him finding a way to hatch it himself, he would require Daenerys.

    And just no finding a way to make Valyrian steel please.
     
  4. Shizenjin

    Shizenjin Squib DLP Bronze Supporter

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    Diverge at Tower of Joy, have another or several more of Ned's entourage survive.

    You can't convince me a 'Jon journeys to gain the Iron Throne' fic with Theo 'Buckets' Wull as his ally wouldn't be a good time, a bloody quest across a war-torn Seven Kingdoms.

    More lords from the Tower could just be interesting politically, especially if the war breaks out. Suddenly a handful of lords at Riverrun are keenly aware of the possibility of installing Stark blood on the Iron Throne.

    As long as Jon doesn't coincidentally run into Sam Tarly and he is jammed down my throat once more.
     
  5. Inert

    Inert Headmaster

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    One example of a story that does, IMO, a great job of making Jon's growth realistic is The Wheel Unbroken. His growth in magic, especially, is well structured and about as realistic as can be expected.

    The two other skills I'd add to the list are political acumen and battle strategy. Information is huge in GoT; how to use it is arguably more important. Jon, who was raised by Ned Stark, is unlikely to be a political maverick without someone taking him under their wing. Canon shows he's not a moron, but many fics (mainly Jonsa ones) have him as a shrewd political operator in the vein of Baelish without any explanation as to where he developed these skills. Same with ability to manage a battle - when to send cavalry, archers, how to structure an ambush, etc. Admittedly, most stories don't bother with battle strategy, but I've seen more than one where Jon is as gifted as Robb without any development to show why.

    The linchpin, of course, is the time spent making it somewhat realistic. Most authors don't bother investing enough words into their story to have any level of competency justifiable outside of Jon's regular skills. The story starts, Jon's a badass who's been hiding his amazing sword skills because of Catelyn, and dragon eggs soon follow. Jon being adept with a spear and using poison makes all the sense in the world if he's squired to Oberyn Martell, but going through the heavy lifting to get him there from Winterfell in a way that doesn't have Ned as a secret Targaryen loyalist is a bit more difficult. Same with any other plot point.
     
  6. yargle

    yargle Professor

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    Full fairness to Jon, the martial path is one of the two (potentially three, depending on how you count taking the Black) "respectable" paths for a noble bastard to take so Jon having had some lessons in that regard wouldn't be completely out of left field.
     
  7. Inert

    Inert Headmaster

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    Just powered through both of these which are great fun. @Heather_Sinclair any other recs in that vein? I have:
    • The Ice Dragon which is by the same author as Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. It's not as good, but enjoyable enough.
    • To Go Forward a decent time travel fic that acts like a quasi-powerup fic.
    • Her Life and Her Death which is a meandering, if very well written, fic that has Jon squired to Oberyn of all people (he's not the primary focus though).
    Haven't found many others that give Jon some skills early rather than just handwaving him into the best swordsmen ever.
     
  8. Heather_Sinclair

    Heather_Sinclair Chief Warlock

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    Almost none, I'm afraid. It would take some serious delving to find them again. Almost every Jon fic out there is a pairing fic, concentrating on banging Sansa or Dany, with the occasional Reach maiden thrown in. If they don't immediately turn into romance, then they're abandoned early on. I mostly read HotD fics now. However, I'll keep an eye out.
     
  9. blob

    blob Seventh Year

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    Out of curiosity: is there any particular reason why Jon Snow seems to be by far the most wanked character in the fandom? It's usually Jon, then much more rarely Sansa/Arya/Daenerys. Is it just because his lineage allows writers to pull him in a lot of different directions so it's easy to build a story out of it, or is he a clear fan favorite over all other characters?
     
  10. Heather_Sinclair

    Heather_Sinclair Chief Warlock

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    I've seen a ton of Sansa power-up fics, though most are powered up with super political knowledge or super Old Gods magic, both usually involving time travel. She also suffers with being banged by Jon, Jaime, or Tyrion quite often. As of late it's Aemond in HotD fics.

    Arya is a super assassin powerup all on her own in virtually every fic out there.

    But Jon... he's the underdog, the everyman who has been shat upon from on high in canon. The shat upon always shall be the one who gets powered up. It's like fanfiction law or something.
     
  11. Donimo

    Donimo Auror

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    He's the protagonist.
     
  12. Spanks

    Spanks Chief Warlock

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    Ones I’ve been reading recently are:

    Shrouded Destiny https://archiveofourown.org/works/45612367/chapters/114773839

    Follows mostly book canon. Jon defeats the Others but dies in the process. Dany, Aegon and so on never respond to the call for help from the North so most of the North is wiped out. Bran and Bloodraven watch it all from that cave and Bran convinced Bloodraven to sacrifice their lives to send Jon’s mind back to before Robert comes to Winterfell. Jon is “blessed by the Old Gods” so he’s stronger and faster than usual, a super warg, etc. The fic really has him leaning more into his Stark lineage rather than Targaryen, which is rare.

    King’s Blood https://archiveofourown.org/works/52237747

    Maester Aemon isn’t blind and when he sees Jon is able to recognize he’s Rhaegar’s. Story hasn’t really gotten into the meat of the plot just yet.

    Rally Around the Family https://archiveofourown.org/works/41243505

    Jon goes back in time with Rhaegal to change the Dance and stop the death of dragons. Only problem is there are entities that don’t like this.

    Frostfyre
    https://archiveofourown.org/works/32985103/chapters/81867187

    Rhaegar leaves a dragon egg with Lyanna that hatches as Jon is born and bonds with him.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2024
  13. Inert

    Inert Headmaster

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    Based on your synopsis I think you meant to link The Stranger's Son. I've read and liked it. Jon is highly competent but around other deadly dragon riders, he doesn't seem absurdly OP. Hasn't updated in a minute which is a shame since we were coming up on Jon and Daemon interacting and I really want to read that lol.

    Rally Around the Family (which you linked) is book!Jon reincarnated as Daemon's bastard. Sadly abandoned. The author was pretty committed to exploring the ripples of Jon's presence which was quite interesting.
     
  14. Drachna

    Drachna Professor

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    He's one of several protagonists.
     
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