WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the Game of Thrones TV series and A Song of Ice and Fire books. Do not read on unless you have seen Season 6, Episode 2, 'Home.'
So the secret is finally out: Our beloved bastard is BACK, baby! I say "secret," but did anyone really believe that Jon Snow was gone for good? His body barely had a chance to hit the ground before people started talking about his return, and in hindsight, it's not difficult to see why.
Looking back over the last few seasons (Season 3 in particular), the showrunners actually left an ample trail of breadcrumbs leading up to last night's reawakening — and George R.R. Martin's books aren't short on clues, either. Here's how we knew Jon Snow would eventually find his way back to us.
The Resurrection Of Beric Dondarrion
From way back in Season 3, some of you might remember a certain subplot involving Arya Stark and the Brotherhood Without Banners. The brotherhood was led by a certain Beric Dondarrion, a.k.a the Lightning Lord, a faithful servant of the Lord of Light. Why so faithful?
Lord Beric was revived and healed not once, not twice, but six times by his friend and Red Priest Thoros of Myr, using a mysterious fire magic supposedly gifted to him by the very same god Melisandre has spent the entire series worshipping. Thoros explained the feat:
"I knelt beside his cold body, and said the old words. Not because I believed in them, but he was my friend. And he was dead. And they were the only words I knew. And for the first time in my life, the Lord replied. Beric's eyes opened. And I knew the truth: Our God is the one true God. And all men must serve Him."
All was revealed to Melisandre in a chance meeting with her male counterpart and as we learned last night, the notion really stuck with her.
Jon's Connection With Ghost
As Melisandre tried (and at first failed) to bring Jon back to life, the camera made a point of showing Ghost fast asleep on the ground. The moment that Ghost awoke, so did Jon. Coincidence? I think not!
Jon's ability to warg is confirmed in the books when wildling Varamyr Sixskins (named Orell on the show) recognizes Jon's connection with Ghost. The prologue to A Dance With Dragons says:
[Varamyr] had known what Snow was the moment he saw that great white direwolf stalking silent at his side. One skinchanger can always sense another. The gift was strong in Snow, but the youth was untaught, still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it.
While Varamyr warged into a wolf when he died, it is believed that Orell inhabited his eagle. How do we know? As Jon spears him with a sword, not only do his eyes appear to roll back into a warging state, but almost immediately after the eagle attempts to exact revenge by clawing at Jon's face with his beak and talons.
We've seen a lot of direwolf casualties over the course of the series, but conveniently when Jon is killed, both on the show and in the books, Ghost doesn't die with him. This quote from A Dance With Dragons describing the death is particularly telling:
Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free.
In the cold night air the wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end. When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold...
The Story Just Isn't Finished With Him Yet
There are far too many plot holes that would be left wide open if Jon were to leave us so soon — he's just too damn important to lose. Perhaps most pertinently in regard to a (rumored) coming storyline: R + L = J. For those of you without a clue as to what I'm talking about, the equation stands for the chatter that Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark came together to create Jon Snow. In other words, they're his real parents.
The theory has been floating around for a while now and although it's been kept relatively quiet since Ned Stark left us, last season saw the long-dead characters dragged up again for discussion. Whether you believe the theory or not, it doesn't look like we'll have to wait too long to find out for sure, as the preview for Episode 3, entitled "Oathbreaker," strongly suggests that we'll finally see what happened to Ned's sister in one of Bran's flashbacks.
The revelation, as well as making Jon a blood relative of Daenerys, would also give him a potential claim to the Iron Throne. What does that mean? It means he's a pretty indispensable character if you ask me. Dragon blood aside, the books have detailed quite extensively how followers of the Lord of Light believe a hero, Azor Ahai, will return to save the world from a looming darkness. Melisandre even thinks to herself in A Dance With Dragons:
I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.
The big question now, of course, is:
Is Jon the savior the Seven Kingdoms have been waiting for?
Watch the preview for next week's episode below.