Jon Snow's Steward Is So Creepy

by Jodi Walker

Season 5 of Game of Thrones has had some series-topping showdowns: The Wildlings and the White Walkers at Hardhome, the Sons of the Harpy against Drogon, the High Sparrow versus... everyone. But, with so much of the narrative now unfettered from the books it's based on, Season 5 has also been a little heavy-handed with certain plot devices: Shireen telling her disheveled father she'll do anything to help him, Arya listening in on Meryn Trant, the man she wants to murder for revenge, as he reveals himself to be a total pedophile, and especially the littlest man, Olly, of the Night's Watch, and his nonstop meaningful glances at Jon Snow. So, why has Jon Snow's steward on Game of Thrones been acting like such a creep?

Olly is a creation of the Game of Thrones TV series, never mentioned in any way in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, which is probably why David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have worked so hard to keep the kid on viewers' radar. Not only is Olly a new character, but all Season 5 he's been set up to be a capital-i, capital-c Important Character. [Book spoilers ahead].

For non-book readers, Olly is perhaps just becoming a bit of an annoyance. His turn from loyal Jon follower to constant Jon questioner has taken up a good bit of screen time for a kid we barely knew before. But, for book readers, it's ringing loud and clear what Jon's steward Olly is being set up to do: Stab Jon Snow. In the books, a group of Jon's most loyal Night's Watchmen become annoyed with his various non-Watch-like alliances with Stannis and the Wildlings, and they turn on him, stabbing him seemingly to death. But, whereas in the books, readers have come to know many of those men and can consider it the ultimate betrayal, on the show, most of the Night's Watch are fairly anonymous, and the ones that viewers are more familiar with... well, it wouldn't be too much of a surprise to see them turn on their Lord Commander.

In steps Olly, then, who's gone from cute kiddo to side-eyeing steward in a matter of episodes. Let's go back to what's taken Olly from an orphan taken in by the Night's Watch to Jon Snow's potential betrayer with his very own "F*** Olly" subreddit...

Why is Olly at Castle Black?

It makes sense that Olly has such an aversion to Jon bringing the Wildlings through the Wall; he's made it very clear to his Lord Commander on the show, the Wildlings burned his village, held a knife to his throat and told him they were going to eat his family, and then sent him to the Night's Watch specifically to lure them out of Castle Black. So, it makes sense that now that Olly is safely inside Castle Black, he doesn't love the idea of his hero Jon Snow inviting his village's murderers into their midst.

Why is Olly Jon's Steward?

Jon and Olly have a complicated relationship. Namely because, when Olly gets his chance at the Battle of Castle Black in Season 4, he enacts his revenge on Ygritte, the person who he saw kill his father, by putting an arrow through her heart right before she can do the exact same thing with Jon Snow. If viewers are honest with themselves, this is probably when they started hating Olly, because we loved Ygritte... but she was also about to kill our beloved Jon Snow. Jon had similarly conflicted feelings about Olly's bold move, but, ultimately, recognizes much of himself in Olly, and in Season 5 names him his steward in order to teach him and shape him for command, like Jeor Mormont once did for him.

Why has Olly been creepin' so hard?

So, what happened?! How did these two go from the cutest non-related bros in Westeros to Olly wiping the smile off Jon's face with a smoldering glare when Jon returns from his Wildling wrangling? Well, it's just that: As Lord Commander, Jon has allied the Night's Watch with the Wildlings. And, while pretty much everyone looks pissed as the Wildlings make their way through the wall, no one is creeping harder than Olly. His angry little face has been getting so many close-ups in the last few weeks, and his little chat with Sam was so on the nose (sometimes we have to make hard choices, however unpopular, yada, yada), I almost wonder if the show's creators are playing us. But, no — why else would Olly's glares and aversion to the Wildlings be so front and center?

Betrayal breeds betrayal, and Lord Commander Jon Snow better watch his back (or his drink... I don't know what murder style lil' Olly prefers).

Images: Helen Sloan/HBO (2)