‘Game of Thrones’: What Really Happened to Jon Snow?

Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones Season 5!

Jon Snow, Game of Thrones HBO

Source: HBO

The last season of Game of Thrones ended in a way that’s had fans buzzing nonstop. As Jon Snow was left bleeding out on the ground, we were all left to theorize as to whether his death was as permanent as others on the show have been. It’s a series that has no qualms about keeping key characters dead and buried for good, and much of the “Jon Snow can’t be dead” theories have been based around the idea that none of us want to believe one of our favorite characters is gone for good.

In the subsequent months following the finale, evidence has been stacking up on either side of the “is Jon Snow dead?” debate, with none providing a surefire answer either way. On one end, we know the history of George R.R. Martin, an author who’s given no quarter to the idea that death is merely an obstacle to overcome. On the other, there’s evidence that’s stacked up in favor of Snow having a large role in the Game of Thrones endgame.

To make things simple, we’ve gathered all the evidence on both sides. Rather than simply posting the newest tidbit based on set locations or cryptic interviews with cast members, this will be the one place for everything we’ve heard since the Season 5 finale. Our hope is that we don’t have another Ned Stark situation on our hands this time around. A show can only take away so many fan-favorites before viewers get bored, and not even GoT is immune to that. We’ll look to answer one question in the meantime: Is Jon Snow dead?

Theory #1: Jon Snow is dead

Jon Snow - Game of Thrones, HBO

Source: HBO

Directly following the Season 5 finale, showrunner Dan Weiss wasted no time in setting the record straight. An interview with Entertainment Weekly had Weiss matter-of-factly stating, “dead is dead.” Weiss went on to admit that they all “hope that after seeing the scene and the way it’s shot that the answer to that will be unambiguous in the minds of the people watching it.” That all seems fairly straightforward and hard to refute, especially when the source is the showrunner himself.

This was further confirmed in a later interview EW did with the actor behind Jon Snow, Kit Harrington. In it, Harrington affirmed the statement from Weiss, noting “I’ve been told I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m not coming back next season.” In that same interview, he describes a sitdown with Weiss and David Benioff, where he was told “Look, you’re gone, it’s done.” It’s a damning preponderance of evidence in support of the “Jon Snow is dead” side of the debate. Piling on is HBO’s official synopsis for the Season 6 premiere, which doesn’t spend any time mincing words: “Jon Snow is dead. Daenerys meets a strong man. Cersei sees her daughter again.”

Theory #2: Jon Snow is alive

Jon Snow - Game of Thrones

Source: HBO

While statements from both Kit Harrington and Dan Weiss are difficult to refute, there’s a whole pile of evidence that tells us there’s a slight possibility of a misdirect here. What’s even more interesting is that the most convincing evidence to the contrary also comes from Harrington, in a recent interview with Dutch magazine HumoIn a cryptic answer to the question asking the amount of years Kit is committed to Game of Thrones, he teased us ever so slightly.

Let’s just say that Game of Thrones will remain a part of my life for a while, I’ll probably be in my thirties when it’s over. One thing’s for sure: the day I’m no longer on Thrones is the day I’ll bury myself in movie projects.

This isn’t the only evidence concerning Jon Snow’s survival either. Harrington was recently spotted heading to Belfast, Ireland with fellow GoT cast member Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H’ghar). Belfast is a well-known hub for Game of Thrones sets, and it seems more than coincidental that the actor behind Jon Snow would appear there right around the same time as the initial table reads for the 6th season. Even Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) admits she thinks there’s a “50/50″ chance Snow yet lives, telling us that not even the cast is convinced.

Of all the rumors though, none are more convincing than the one brought to us by the fan site Watchers on the WallAccording to an unnamed source on set, “a scene was rehearsed and is being filmed this week involving Sansa, Jon Snow, Ramsay and Littlefinger. The characters are interacting in Winterfell’s courtyard, and there’s a great deal of tension.” If this is true, it would appear as though Jon found himself resurrected by Melisandre, who had conveniently arrived at the Wall directly before Snow’s stabbing. Combine that with the photo of a bloody (but ever-so-slightly alive-looking) Jon Snow on the HBO official site, and things are looking up for the “He’s alive” camp.

[Update, 3/17/16.] Finally, there are hints from a Season 6 cast member. On a recent appearance on BBC Breakfast, Ian McShane revealed that his character, who he described as “an ex-warrior who’s become a peacenik,” will “bring back a much-loved character everybody thinks is dead.”

And the verdict is…

It seems hard to believe that Jon Snow truly is gone, and if he is, Game of Thrones will suffer for it. Prevailing theories in the “he’s not dead” camp seem to think that Melisandre’s presence at the Wall aligning with Snow’s death will play a large part into his survival. Already we’ve seen a Red Priest resurrect Beric Dondarrion, and it makes little sense for her to arrive on the scene to do anything but the same for Snow.

In terms of the Game of Thrones endgame, many believe that Jon Snow still has a part to play. As the alleged offspring of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, he would technically be the heir to the Iron Throne, and has proven himself as the one person capable of slaying a White Walker (Samwell Tarly excepted). Based on that and other evidence, it’s hard not to believe that Snow won’t be back in some capacity, whether it’s a straight resurrection from Melisandre, or warging his way into his direwolf.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

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