Now, before we incur the venomous, vitriolic hatred of our Game of Thrones audience, let it be known that the following article contains MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR SEASON 6, EPISODE 2 OF GAME OF THRONES!
Consider that your warning.
So yes, it finally happened. Even though Jon Snow’s death was only two episodes ago, it seems like an eternity. After months of speculation, rumour, theories and counter-theories, we were given the definitive resolution to the fate of the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
Jon Snow lives
Send a raven. It is known: Jon Snow has returned. He has risen (queue ominous, creepy music).
We can let it all go now, the great Jon Snow debate can be buried, or can it? At the end of Sunday night’s “Home” episode, the Lord Commander was resurrected by Melisandre, writing the concluding chapter after nearly a year of intense speculation. Of course, the showrunners – rather shrewdly – ended the episode with the shot of Snow opening his eyes and gasping for breath, contrasting starkly with the stirring image of him lying dead in Castle Black at the very end of season five.
And thus, Jon Snow has been revived! pic.twitter.com/H8nDPhsDbs
— Shawnieswami (@ShawnieSwami) May 2, 2016
Rather intriguingly, Entertainment Weekly has revealed that they have been secretly building a huge, in-depth cover story on Jon Snow’s death, delving deeper than anyone has done previously into the most-talked about moment in modern television history (that’s really not an overstatement in the slightest).
As they point out rather perceptively, Harington has been the actor tasked with performing off camera more than he does so in front of it. Harington has been forced to keep a straight face and stick to the ‘he is dead and not coming back’ story when pressed incessantly in interviews. He kept the ruse up admirably, it must be added.
Liberated now that his fate has been revealed, Harington opened up to EW in a video interview and simply said sorry to every Game of Thrones fan he had been forced to lie to. Remember, it was his job though – so you can’t hate him for it.
“I’d like to say sorry for lying to everyone. I’m glad that people were upset that he died. I think my biggest fear was that people were not going to care. Or it would just be, ‘Fine, Jon Snow’s dead.’ But it seems like people had a, similar to the Red Wedding episode, kind of grief about it. Which means something I’m doing — or the show is doing — is right.”
So, there you go, Harington is relieved that people actually cared about Jon Snow dying. We also care about his resurrection and what it means for the show. It obviously has enormous, seismic implications, particularly for those who plunged their knives into his chest and uttered the words ‘For the Watch.’
We never really believed that Jon Snow was going to stay dead anyway. Simply put, he is too important to the overall story. But how was he able to come back? Well, as you may recall in season three, Arya spent some time with the Brotherhood of Banners, led by the enigmatic Lord Beric Dondarrion. The funny thing about Beric was that he’d died and been resurrected six times. And you thought Jon Snow had been through a lot…
Beric revealed that the person responsible for his repeated resurrections was Thoros of Myr – a “red priest” who worshipped the Lord of Light, much like our dear Melisandre.
Thoros himself explained his mystical powers in the sixth episode of season three:
“I knelt beside his cold body and said the old words. Not because I believed in them, but he was my friend, and he was dead. And they were the only words I knew. And for the first time in my life, the Lord replied. Beric’s eyes opened. And I knew the truth. Our god is the one true god. And all men must serve him.”
There was a sequence which saw Melisandre visiting Thoros and learning of the resurrection powers. She said “you should not have this power.” She was stunned, but she had seen it. That’s how she knew, deep down inside, she could technically resurrect Jon Snow. However, after the death of Stannis Baratheon, Melisandre’s faith was shaken. She had grave doubts. Her unbending belief in the Lord of Light had been broken.
However, Davos – who always disapproved of Melisandre’s manipulation of Stannis – was the man to convince her to leave the grief behind and try to help Jon Snow. Davos said to Melisandre that he was not asking the Lord of Light for help; rather, he was asking her to perform another miracle. During the resurrection sequence, we see Melisandre on the brink of giving up for good. She believes her attempts at bring Jon back to life have failed and, as a result, she utters one desperate ‘please,’ before looking disconsolately at Ser Davos, before leaving the room.
Many book readers point to the prologue of A Dance With Dragons which told the story of a wildling warg by the name of Varamyr Sixskins, whose spirit and mind transferred into a wolf once he died. Champions of this theory would also point to season three, when Orell was killed by Snow, proceeding to then turn into an eagle and continue his attack on Jon.
It’s not 100% clear that Jon’s consciousness went into his Dire wolf, Ghost, after dying but in the episode, we saw the animal sleeping soundly beside the table on which Snow lay – naked, unmoving, dead. Then, after Ser Davos, Melisandre, Edd and Tormund leave the room after a seemingly failed attempt at an resurrection, Ghost stirs and looks up at Jon. Then it happens. His eyes fly open and he takes a few struggling breaths and the credits roll. Then we catch our own breath.
As Beric was severely damaged and changed by each resurrection, it’s foolish to assume that Jon will be the morose bastard we’ve come to know so deeply. He’ll be different. That’s a guarantee.
GRRM on resurrection
George R.R. Martin himself revealed his process for resurrecting character back in 2011, saying that they’re always transformed.
“My characters who come back from death are worse for wear. In some ways, they’re not even the same characters anymore. The body may be moving, but some aspect of the spirit is changed or transformed, and they’ve lost something. One of the characters who has come back repeatedly from death is Beric Dondarrion, The Lightning Lord. Each time he’s revived he loses a little more of himself. He was sent on a mission before his first death. He was sent on a mission to do something, and it’s like, that’s what he’s clinging to. He’s forgetting other things, he’s forgetting who he is, or where he lived. He’s forgotten the woman who he was once supposed to marry. Bits of his humanity are lost every time he comes back from death; he remembers that mission. His flesh is falling away from him, but this one thing, this purpose that he had is part of what’s animating him and bringing him back to death. I think you see echoes of that with some of the other characters who have come back from death.”
So, what happens now? Probably a lot of vengeance and death. It is Game of Thrones, after all. We know Jon Snow is alive and (not so) well – and he’ll more than likely be seeking to have a quiet word with Ser Alliser.
So, what did you make of the huge Jon Snow bombshell? We all expected it to happen, but it was still shocking and exciting (a sign of powerful storytelling). Let us know your thoughts on the episode and what it means for the rest of the season! Watch our video below predicting some of the major death that will happen during this season too!