Warning - MASSIVE SPOILERS for Game of Thrones' Season 5 finale are to be found below. If you haven't seen the episode yet, then be warned - a major plot point will be SPOILED for you below... Similarly, toward the bottom of the page, there are references to (almost identical) events that have happened in the books. Proceed with whatever level of caution you deem fit, is the point...
Game of Thrones.
Now, in the greater scheme of things, there may have been bigger, badder, more twist-filled final episodes of television seasons - Fringe's Season 1, Breaking Bad's Season 4 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Season 5 spring to mind - but that doesn't exactly help with LITERALLY ALL THE SCREAMING.
Yup, that's right: we just watched Jon Snow - one of the most beloved characters on one of TV's most popular shows - die in as distinctly horrible a fashion as could be imagined for him. After all, not only was he stabbed to death, but the deed was done by his own comrades in the Night's Watch.
They may have been chanting 'For the Watch,' but that doesn't distract from the fact that we're now all going to be fully on board with watching White Walkers eat Alliser Thorne and pals faces in a future season.
The thing, is, though:
He Can't Actually Be Dead, Right? RIGHT?
After all, pretty much every major fan theory - including the wildly popular, and by this point pretty much book canon, R+L = J - involves Jon Snow not being very much dead.
So, surely - as book readers have been predicting for years, ever since A Dance With Dragons first caused fans this very specific form of anguish - Jon is going to find some way to come back. After all, we already know that Red Priest's can bring people back to life - step forward, Thoros of Myr - so Melisandre turning up at the last minute can't be coincidence, surely. Or, if not, we've also already seen a warg transfer his consciousness into an animal, so Jon could live on through Ghost, right? RIGHT?
Well, if you ask Kit Harington, who plays the character, and therefore really ought to know:
Jon Snow WON'T Be Surviving This One
As he told EW, in no uncertain terms:
"This is my understanding of it. I had a sit-down with Dan and David, we did the Tony Soprano walk [letting an actor know they’re being whacked]. And they said, “Look, you’re gone, it’s done.” And as far as the salary thing goes, that angered me when that story came out. I don’t know where it came from, but it was inaccurate in many ways. It’s going to put questions into your head and into fans’ heads that things are not what they are. Quite honestly, I have never been told the future of things in this show, but this is the one time I have. They sat me down and said, “This is how it is.” If anything in the future is not like that, then I don’t know about it – it’s only in David and Dan and George’s heads. But 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."
To which showrunner Dan Weiss added:
“Dead is dead.”
Which, on the face of it, seems to suggest that Jon Snow is, in actual fact, very much dead, and that there's simply no coming back from this one...
Except, of Course, it Isn't That Simple
Y'see, while Weiss was more than happy to say "dead is dead," he was also careful to add that:
"We would 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...It should be pretty clear what happens in by the time you’re done seeing that scene. It’s not an, ‘Oh what just happened?" scene
Which, while on the surface a seemingly pretty solid confirmation that Jon is as dead as a doornail, might actually be something a whole lot more. After all, with Jon's eyes staying open, and that trail of dark blood heading up the screen, Weiss' comments could just also be interpreted as suggesting that Jon is, in fact, set for exactly the kind of Melisandre-themed resurrection that he's long been speculated to receive. Or, alternatively, you could read those comments as suggesting the showrunners "would hope" we see the scene in an "unambiguous" way, so that when Jon turns up alive, we're all (sort of) surprised.
Even Harington's comments - which at first glance seem pretty clear cut - leave a surprising amount of wiggle room. It's worth noting that he repeatedly points out that he's been told he's dead, rather than that he definitely is...
"They sat me down and said, “This is how it is.”...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."
As well as adding that...
"If anything in the future is not like that, then I don’t know about it – it’s only in David and Dan and George’s heads."
Leaving open the distinct possibility that the showrunners know full well that they're bringing Jon back, but have told him he's dead (with an accompanying wink and a nod) so that Harington can honestly tell the press that he is, for sure, all done with Game of Thrones...as far as he knows.
And then, if he does indeed return via some sort of cunning resurrection, not only would Jon very much have been dead before being resurrected - meaning the creative team hasn't outright lied to us - but Harington would be insulated from accusations of actively misleading us himself.
So, Will We See Jon Snow Again, Then?
Well, as George R.R. Martin himself said, when asked about this very issue just a few months ago:
"If there’s one thing we know in A Song of Ice and Fire [it's] that death is not necessarily permanent."
Or, in other words...probably, yes.
Here's hoping, then...
What do you reckon, though?
Will we see Jon Snow on Game of Thrones again?