Jon Snow's Alive, and We Need to Talk About It
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In the lead-up to season six, Game of Thrones teased us with trailers, teased us with interviews, teased us with shots of Jon Snow in Weekend at Bernie's mode. And for whatever reason, after a major revelation in "Home," the second episode of the season, it still feels like we're being teased. But.. we like it?
Think back over the last, painful year. "I’ve been told I’m dead," declared Kit Harington, after his character, Jon Snow, was brutally stabbed in the season-five finale. "NO THEY DID NOT!" declared everyone else in the world. People couldn't believe it. Like, they really couldn't believe it, and promptly spent the next year in theorizing agony. Harington went on the defensive. "I had a sit-down with [series creators] Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff], we did the Tony Soprano walk, and they said, 'Look, you're gone, it’s done' ... I’m dead. I’m not coming back next season."
But how could Jon, the closest person the show had to a true hero, be killed off with a handful of seasons to go? He couldn't. On Sunday night, he returned through magical resusciation, and Harington, as he knew he would, ate crow. (Thrones pun intended.)
“I’d like to say sorry for lying to everyone," said Harington, in a message delivered to Entertainment Weekly. "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.”
He's got a point. Even if Jon Snow's resurrection was more "when will they?" than "will they?" the final scene of "Home" played every beat for agonizing tension. Who knew if magical CPR would work on his sliced-up body? The magic of Westeros is a little too shaggy to be considered a sure thing. For one thing, Stannis' death caused Melisandre to lose faith and slip into elderly depression. Then you have the White Walkers rampaging toward the Wall, turning adorable babies into little snowpeople, and making anyone who survives encounters with them worry that humans won't ever get the upper hand. Meanwhile, Bran's greensighting up a storm in a magical tree with the human avatar of a Three-Eyed Raven. Sheesh. Where's David Copperfield when magic needs a swift kick in the ass?
The cards were on the table -- but like his death, no one expected the Lord of Light to fill Jon Snow's lungs so early in the season. We're happy to move past it. The twist leaves room for the leader of Castle Black to resume his position as Game of Thrones' noble knight. Thank the Old Gods.
The timing couldn't be better. Self-appointed leader and all-around scumbag Ramsay Bolton has an army waiting to invade Castle Black. In his crosshairs: Jon Snow. (How embarrassing would it have been for Ramsay if Jon was still dead when he showed up -- faux pas.) The bastards will inevitably meet, and Jon will have an army behind him, too, his made up of Davos Seaworth, assorted wildlings, and his remaining brothers of the Night's Watch -- even, perhaps, Alliser Thorne and the other backstabbing (er, frontstabbing?) turncoats.
Snow was a righteous man before death. I can only imagine how a few hours in the afterlife nuzzling dead Ygritte changed him. This is the once and future king. Mercy is in his newly energized blood. I'll say it: he'll spare Alliser's life, let pissy little Olly off with a warning, and then take the fight to Ramsay. Somewhere along the way, Brienne and Sansa will join the party, and we'll finally get the Game of Thrones version of the Avengers we never knew we wanted.
And then? Let's be real: we knew Jon Snow would come back to life, because Game of Thrones is his show. The crazy fan theory that's right on the money is the one connecting Jon to Tyrion and both of them to Daenerys (who, thanks to Dothraki widow jail, doesn't even make an appearance in "Home"). Maybe they're not all blood relations -- although Tyrion certainly got his Targaryen on when he cosied up to those two dragons -- but they're the three heads of this dragon of a fantasy series. They'll inevitably wind up in one spot, fighting off Ramsay, White Walkers, or whoever else stands in the way of a modicum of justice in this bleak, bleak world.
Or maybe it plays out differently. Game of Thrones has its hero back -- but who's the villain? And will they come back to life to battle Jon in the ultimate undead showdown? Remember, chemistry revived the Mountain like Frankenstein's monster. Thoros previously revived Beric by shocking him with the Lord of Light's defibrillator. Fandom may will the Hound back for a few more episodes. Anything's possible.
For now, we'll let our imaginations go wild -- and try not to hold anything against Harington. Yes, sir, something you're doing is right.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He can't wait to see Jon Snow punch Ramsay in the face. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.