The adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is a strange beast. The first season of Game of Thrones aired just before A Dance With Dragons was published, and fans of the books have seen another four seasons of the show before The Winds of Winter‘s publication. The fifth season of Game of Thrones ended at the same point as A Dance With Dragons, as Jon Snow is betrayed by his men in the Night’s Watch, as they believe he has broken his vows by saving the Wildlings, and arguably taking Stannis’ side in the war. All throughout the fifth season of Game of Thrones, Entertainment Weekly published a series of interviews and features with the cast and crew of the show. Following the finale, Kit Harrington ‘confirmed’ that Jon is dead. Book and show spoilers/speculation will be around.
Book readers have long believed that Jon Snow is not, in fact, dead. In A Dacne With Dragons, Melisandre, Selise and Shireen all stayed at the Wall, so Melisandre didn’t need to make her way back to Castle Black just in time for Jon’s death. Just because Jon’s dead, that doesn’t mean he’ll stay dead. Maybe he’s just mostly dead, like in The Princess Bride. Anyway, book readers and show watchers alike have speculated that Melisandre might resurrect the Bastard of Winterfell, and HBO seems to have confirmed it with the promotional artwork for season six.
Maybe HBO realised that they couldn’t keep this a secret any longer, now that Kit Harrington has been seen on set. Or maybe they were really sick of Kit Harrington Hair Watch 2015, aka my favourite thing on the internet this year. Either way, the strategy was no longer viable, as Todd VanDerWerff reported over on Vox. A possible character death makes for a good season-ending cliffhanger, but when you’re the biggest show in the world and the character may not actually be dead, it might have made more sense to resurrect him in the season finale. This was speculated on my favourite Game of Thrones spoiler podcast, A Storm of Spoilers, and one of the theories was that The Night’s King would carry Jon Snow away. However, given the burning of Shireen and Melisandre’s presence at Castle Black, a resurrection by way of The Lord of Light seems much more likely. Now that I’ve written all of this down, I’m going to go and read what Joanna Robinson has to say about this.