Why are bastards named "Snow" in Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series?
I have read up to the third book, so the answer may be far ahead in the series, but I have always wondered if there is a reason or a story on the vast lore that explains why giving the last name Snow to illegitimate sons, like Jon Snow or Ramsay Snow...
- 7 years ago
Bastards from the North are named "Snow", but those from other areas have different surnames, summarized here: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Bastardy#Surnames
Region Surname Example Character Reach Flowers Ser Robert Flowers Westerlands Hill Joy Hill Iron Islands Pyke Wex Pyke Riverlands Rivers Walder Rivers Dorne Sand Nymeria Sand North Snow Jon Snow Vale Stone Mya Stone Stormlands Storm Ser Rolland Storm Crownlands Waters Aurane Waters
That's interesting (and off topic, I know) but doesn't "Ser" imply knighthood, which I thought wasn't possible for bastards, unless they were legitamized (like Ramsay Snow/Bolton). I'm only familiar with ASOFAI through the show and I've read half the first book so far, so my knowledge is limited.
Being a knight isn't limited to nobles, it's just much easier for them (they're trained from a young age specifically to be a knight).
@Monty129 - Plenty of bastard knights running around. A lot of them are motivated to do a good job in the hopes of becoming *landed knights* (i.e. they own and rule a small strip of land) and thus start their own family name.
@Monty129 Being noble and being a knight are two different things. You can be a lord, or even a king without being a knight. And you can be the lowest of the low and still become a knight, such as is described in the *Dunk and Egg* novellas, where Dunk, the orphan from Flea bottom becomes knight. (Well, not really)
One interesting thing is that most regions use geographical features to name bastards. The Ironborn bastard name is the name of an Island. This suggests that the Ironborn don't have a culture of bastard names, but were forced to adopt a system of bastard names, perhaps after Aegon's conquest...