'Game of Thrones' Finally Addressed Its Biggest Twist — Where Does the Show Go From Here?
Editor's note: Major spoilers ahead for the sixth season of Game of Thrones.
Not that there was much doubt — though HBO and Kit Harington certainly tried — but we finally received the verdict on whether or not Jon Snow would come back to life. As expected, with the help of the red priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten), the assassinated lord commander of the Night's Watch was resurrected in the waning moments of the episode in spectacular fashion, as he gasped the first breaths of his new lease on life.
Still, as high of a point as this was in the episode, Jon Snow revival truthers aren't out of the woods just yet; in fact, we might as well be lost in the Haunted Forest. Jon's return leads to even more questions about the direction of the character, the Night's Watch and how the rest of the North (and beyond) will be affected in the aftermath.
He might not come back the same. As Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) says in the preview for the season's third episode, the people — Night's Watch, wildlings or otherwise — see the resurrected Jon as "some kind of god," which is probably the last thing the humble commander would have wanted. But we might not be getting that same Jon back.
Resurrection has been established in the show and the A Song of Ice and Fire books prior to Jon's death, but it has always been met with consequences. In the series, that emphasis is placed on the introduction of Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), a knight who leads a group to protect smallfolk from Lannister soldiers on the command of Ned Stark (Sean Bean).
By the time Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) meets Beric, it's revealed that the red priest, Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) has brought him back from the dead with the help of the Lord of Light several times. It's one thing to talk about characters being revived, but it's shown on-screen after a fight with the Hound (Rory McCann) kills him once more. There, Beric explains to Arya the consequences of his constant returns.
"Every time I come back, I'm a bit less," he tells her, after his sixth revival. "Pieces of you get chipped away."
If that's not enough, George R.R. Martin himself has said characters coming back from the dead are not the same, either.
"My characters who come back from death are worse for wear," Martin said in a 2011 interview. "In some ways, they're not even the same characters anymore. The body may be moving, but some aspect of the spirit is changed or transformed, and they've lost something."
He might have died only once, but that's enough to question whether we're seeing the same Jon come back next episode, or mere vestiges of the Northern bastard we've known for five seasons.
He could fulfill a prophecy. Melisandre joined up with Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) because she believed him to be the prophesied warrior Azor Ahai, who once held off an invasion of White Walkers with the help of his fiery sword, Lightbringer. Stannis is now dead, and the series has been planting the seeds for Jon to be this warrior for a long time.
As Melisandre says in the books, and note the capitalization, "I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R'hllor shows me only Snow." This is plainly in reference to Jon, and the show has emphasized that she sees him riding into battle at Winterfell after he's killed. This, combined with the widely popular R+L=J theory regarding his parentage, signal that Jon is not just a main series protagonist, but perhaps the embodiment of the series that is called A Song of Ice and Fire. But before he can deal with the White Walker invasion, he has to deal with the unrest at Winterfell.
We could see two Northern bastards face off: Jon was less than happy with the news that his brother and Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) were killed at the Red Wedding, and at times has struggled between his duties at Castle Black and trying to avenge his family. Jon is seemingly freed from the Night's Watch, given the sacred vow reads: "Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death."
Well, he died — at the hands of his brothers, no less — and could be free to take back Winterfell from the clutches of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), who has now killed his father, stepmother and infant stepbrother to claim the North for himself. It would make sense, given that Sansa (Sophie Turner) is heading to Castle Black, and they both have plenty of incentives to attack the Boltons.
They probably have the allies (the North remembers, after all), and could jumpstart the highly theorized "Battle of the Bastards" between Jon and Ramsay. Oddly, this could mean HBO and the actor weren't lying this whole time. Jon Snow could be dead; maybe we're going to see the first glimpses of Jon Stark, taking back Winterfell for his family.
Regardless of the speculations, one truth rings true for fans: It's good to have him back.