Warning: Spoilers for 'Game of Thrones' Season 6
Game of Thrones' sixth season was full of memorable moments, and one of the most iconic scenes from what many consider to be the best season of HBO's epic fantasy show was the return of Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Stabbed multiple times by traitorous members of the Night's Watch at the end of season five, fans waited months to discover whether or not Snow would return. His resurrection was dramatic.
In a sudden turn of events in a show notorious for killing fan-favorite characters, Jon Snow came back from the dead to rally the Northernmen together and unleash all kinds of glorious vengeance on the sadistic Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). Considering the show's habit of treating the Starks brutally ever since the Red Wedding, these few victorious moments were cause for celebration among audiences who supported the North way back in season one.
They Knew Nothing
While talking with The Wrap during their coverage of the Emmys, Kit Harington opened up about the creative process he had to go through while coming back as the bastard son of the Starks, including the difficulties of essentially playing the character blind for his first few scenes.
With Thrones, you always get two or three scenes each season that you know are very important, I found that this was one of my most powerful seasons on paper, and I wanted to do it justice.
Even if fans correctly guessed Jon Snow's fate, only Kit Harington and a few Game of Thrones writers knew about his resurrection before shooting for season six began. To pull off the emotional impact, Kit Harington was sworn to secrecy and had to lie to the rest of the crew, a moment he wasn't too proud of. Most of all, he felt bad about deceiving Sophie Turner, who plays his sister Sansa Stark in the show.
It wasn’t one of my proudest moments as an actor... I wasn’t convincing at all. I didn’t want to do a big speech and start crying, because I knew I’d be seeing these people next year... I don’t know why I chose Sophie, of all people, to deceive the most. I let her in on the secret last of anyone, really, and she was so sweet. She wrote me a letter about my leaving the show, and she bought that I wouldn’t be coming back. We’re all very pally with each other on our set, we’re like family, and she genuinely feels like a little sister to me. So I guess I kind of played tricks on her like an older brother would.
But as some people say, there's always a bright side to everything and that's exactly what Kit Harington found while playing dead.
I tell you what, it was kind of nice, having an excuse not to talk about it or do any press. I could observe the circus that surrounds it from the outside, but at the same time be front and center in the cliffhanger that was my death, or not my death.
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Jon Snow's Displeasure
Jon Snow's resurrection was a pivotal moment for both the story and the character not just because it brought one of the more popular characters back for even more A Song of Fire and Ice drama but because it gave him another level of depth. As important as it was, Harington, and pretty much anyone who was watching the show, was curious as to how exactly Game of Thrones would execute the scene.
I knew I was coming back to life, but I didn’t know if I’d come back as a changed person, as a villain. So I couldn’t pre-plan anything, which was hard. … And then I got the scripts, and actually, he comes back as himself, as the Jon that everyone knows. Which at first I found disappointing. But it’s more subtle than that. He has an insight into what lies beyond that very few people in his world do, and that no one in our world does—he knows that there’s no afterlife. Which does quietly drive who he is and what he wants to do.
The actor's initial disappointment is understandable because at first glance, nothing about Jon Snow changed, despite his death. Fans of the books who were hoping for the show's equivalent of Stoneheart - the soulless and vengeful resurrection of Catelyn Stark, who was killed at the Red Wedding - felt cheated. As season six proved, however, the payoff was more than worth it.
Back for More
The changes in Jon Snow's character are more subtle than expected. Going down that route actually proved to be the better option, as interesting as a zombified Jon Snow may have been. It's possible the show's writers would have been able to pull off a Stoneheart-style resurrection, but in bringing Jon Snow back just as he was, only with more emotional baggage to carry, audiences focused on his development as a human being who saw the afterlife. There was thankfully no getting distracted by his undead appearance or the fact that he's a walking corpse, similar to Beric Dondarrion or Ser Gregor Clegane aka The Mountain.
A Song of Fire and Ice's long-delayed sixth entry The Winds of Winter may give Jon Snow a different fate following his stabbing at the end of A Dance with Dragons. That said, things are looking better for his televised counterpart after he avenged the Red Wedding, reunited with his sister and became the King in the North.
With two more seasons left to go before audiences find out who gets to sit on the Iron Throne, especially since they'll be shorter seasons than usual, Game of Thrones has a lot of wrapping up to do. The chance to see how Jon Snow will find closure is something that will keep viewers hooked on the show all the way to the story's promised bittersweet ending.