It’s the question circulating among every “Game of Thrones” fan that won’t quit: Is Jon Snow really dead? Is he dead dead? Or is he coming back?
It’s time to quash this debate. Whatever verbal trickery the cast and creators of the hit HBO fantasy show use to distract us — saying his fate is right there in his eyes, or simply that he’s dead, which avoids the matter of resurrection — fans are pretty sure Snow hasn’t inhaled his last breath of Westeros air.
They’re right. For an assortment of reasons, from big to small, from the books to a simple understanding of how TV works.
Here’s every reason we’re confident Jon Snow is being resurrected in season six, which kicks off Sunday:
Yes, the success of 'Game of Thrones' is predicated on the possibility that anyone could die at any moment, and it could be gut-wrenching. But it has also regularly brought people back to life. The Mountain was as good as dead, until Qyburn injected him with some kind of zombie life.
Not only have people already been brought back to life on 'Game of Thrones,' the red priestess Melisandre has done it. Using her powers, she brought back Beric Dondarrion of the Brotherhood Without Banners (remember him?) multiple times.
By the season-five finale, Melisandre has travelled to Castle Black, where Jon Snow is, putting her in the perfect position to give him life again after his grisly death at the end of season five.
Actress Carice Van Houten has even hinted at the likely outcome, saying that something 'spectacular' is in store when the show comes back.
Melisandre saw Stannis as the one to take the Throne, but in the last episode, she had abandoned him, and she may just be eyeing Jon Snow as her best new hope. If so, she'll have to bring him back from sure death first.
The scene in which Jon Snow is stabbed is in the most recent of the 'Game of Thrones' books, published in 2011. And since then, readers have been gathering all sorts of evidence for why he's coming back that's also in the show.
You can read the book fans' full theories here, including Snow's potential warging abilities, but it's certainly illuminating that, back in the day, George R.R. Martin answered a question about why he killed Jon Snow by saying, 'Oh, you think he's dead, do you?'
In the book, Jon Snow's fate remains unfinished. The description of the attack simply trails off like so: 'He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold …'
While 'Game of Thrones' has unceremoniously ditched other characters, Jon Snow is different. The story has built him up as an archetypal hero, and has left many questions about him unsolved, most salient of which is his parentage.
Many fans have reason to suspect he has Targaryen blood running through him, which would give him a line to the Iron Throne, and could make for an interesting meeting with Daenerys.
Put simply, there are too many pressing plot reasons to get rid of Jon Snow now.
If Jon Snow really were dead, you would imagine 'Game of Thrones' cast members could brush it off pretty easily and tell people to move on. Instead, they have gone out of their way again and again to reiterate his death, as if to move people away from some other reality.
'I've been told I'm dead. I'm dead. I'm not coming back next season. So that's all I can tell you, really,' actor Kit Harington told Entertainment Weekly of his fate. It's revealing that 'all' Harington can say is that he's not coming back, as if there is more to tell.
We think the 'Game of Thrones' team is protesting the possibility that he'll be back too much.
Kit Harington has expressed a desire to cut his long hair once he's no longer contractually obligated to have it for 'Game of Thrones.' He once told the UK's Independent that he plans to 'cut it off quite soon. As soon as I'm allowed.'
Guess what? He's been spotted a lot since season five wrapped, and he still has the long hair.
One thing HBO is not is stupid. The premium cable network is meticulous in the way it unspools footage and information to 'Game of Thrones' fans, and it has leaned into questions about Jon Snow's future with the marketing for season six, rather than backing away, teasingly suggesting it has something under its sleeve.
There he is, splashed with blood in the poster, and he's even speaking lines in the trailer. He's literally the centrepiece of advertising for what's to come.
HBO wouldn't be doing that if Jon Snow really were gone for good. Why? Because the blowback from fans, who are anxiously awaiting to see what comes of their hero, would be way too intense. It would make the outrage over the recent 'Walking Dead' cliffhanger look minor. And HBO knows better than to do that.
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