Game of Thrones Season 7 may have only just finished, but that hasn't stopped fans lamenting over the fact that Season 8 won't be out until 2019. Viewers have also been torn over whether the recent season lived up to their expectations, and what it all means as we head into the eighth and final season of the #HBO show.
Much of the criticism of Season 7 was due a mixture of strange pacing, unnecessarily abrasive dialogue and simple storylines that felt a little pedestrian by GoT standards. Another criticism of the season was the lack of major deaths. If we look back at the history of the series, we know that this is one of their most powerful weapons — the uncertainty that no one is safe. After all, Ned's beheading and the Red Wedding are fantastic examples of how Game of Thrones became the show that never stopped surprising — until Season 7, that is.
While the deaths of Olenna Tyrell, Thoros of Myr and Littlefinger were warranted, they weren't a shock, and they did not forward (or more importantly, divert) the plot in any way. Season 6 ended in a massacre that put #Cersei on the Iron Throne with zero competition within the walls of King's Landing. Season 7 underwhelmed with revenge killings and accidental deaths. The only death with any impact to the story was that of Viserion, and as of now the Night King has a means to breach the Wall. This is why Season 8 needs to shake things up, take no prisoners, and kill off its most beloved and important character — Jon Snow.
#JonSnow was an excellent character. He was the awkward, virginal bastard son of Ned Stark, trying to do right by his father by serving at the Wall. He was morally good, but also naïve, and his relationships with Ygritte and Sam were integral to his character development, growth and likability. However, ever since Season 5/6 — when he was brought back from the dead — Jon has increasingly (and disappointingly) become The Hero.
At its core, Game of Thrones isn't about heroes and villains; it's more nuanced and exciting than that, placing politics and moral ambivalence at the heart of the action. Yet D&D are increasingly casting Jon as the heroic outsider with a powerful secret — a trope that's prominent in literally hundreds of works of fiction. Not only is Jon now the "true" heir to the Iron Throne, but there is major steam behind the theory that he is also The Prince that was Promised/Azor Ahai/"Will be reborn to save the world in its hour of need." He has also had the most screen time of any other character, and his moral superiority places him in stark contrast with Cersei, a.k.a. the villainous she-devil of Season 7. And now, the upcoming season looks like its about to place Jon at the center of the GoT's grand finale, positioning him as the archetypal hero who saves the world and (possibly) gets the girl. Ultimately, this is why he has to die.
The fallout of Jon's death — especially once everyone knows the truth about his birth right — would completely shatter viewer expectations, and mirror Ned's devastatingly surprising death from Season 1. It would be the kind of plot twist that Game of Thrones earned its stripes for, proving that yes, there is a core cast, but no, they're not all safe — even The Hero. If Jon died, the whole game would change, and once again the throne would be up for grabs with no clear heir, which from a viewers perspective is how the show has always played out. Having said this, Daenerys's death could also bring on a similar shift in narrative, but Jon would still be there to "win" both the war beyond the wall and the Iron Throne whether he wants it or not. Jon is currently the most powerful player in the game, and as we already know, in the game of thrones you either win or you die.
I know this may not be the most popular Season 8 opinion so far, but I am bored of Jon Snow's infallibility, especially in Season 7. Of course, we don't know Jon is Azor Ahai, but it's hard to argue that he isn't, and he obviously has no desire to sit on the Iron Throne, which all makes for a more interesting arc in Season 8. While I am 99.9 percent sure he won't die, it would be the one and only thing D&D could do that would shock us, and it would disrupt the hero's journey that Jon has been slowly fulfilling since day one. Considering it's the last season of #TV's most popular show ever, why not take that risk?
Do you think Jon Snow should die in Season 8? Sound off in the comments!