Season 5, Episode 1: The Wars to Come
Jon cuts Mance’s slow-burn of an execution short.
By the end of Season 4, Stannis Baratheon has helped The NIght’s Watch defeat the Wildling army, and Mance Rayder has been taken prisoner. Since Stannis is feeling pretty good about himself after FINALLY winning something, he asks Jon if he could get Mance to bend the knee and ask the Wildlings to fight for him. And since Stannis can be a total asshole, he only gives Jon until that night to convince Mance to do it. Totally enough time! On top of that Jon knows he won’t do it, so this is going to be a giant waste of time.
As you would imagine, Mance ain’t bending nothin’ to nobody. Jon’s efforts to appeal to Mance’s affection for the safety of his people goes nowhere, and he won’t send his people to bleed for a man that they don’t know. The one moment where Mance’s armor cracks is when he hears he’ll be burned at the stake (because OUCH), but it’s not enough to sway him, even though the last thing he wants is for his people to hear him screaming as he dies. Fair enough!
If there’s one unifying force between these three very different men, it’s that they respect each other deeply despite their disparate goals. So, when Stannis puts Mance on the stake and sets him aflame, Jon is forced to watch a man he’s grown to respect suffer in such gruesome fashion that he’s forced to act. Right in front of Stannis. Yeah, eff that guy. Because if it means doing the honorable thing, Jon Snow doesn’t give a flying frak what you think.