[WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Season 6 of Game of Thrones.]
The question of whether or not Jon Snow was still alive was unquestionably the biggest off-screen subplot going into season 6 of Game of Thrones. The character, played by Kit Harington, appeared to be murdered by his fellow Night’s Watch brothers in the closing scene of season 5. But for various reasons — most related to how little storytelling sense it would make for the character to remain dead — most fans of the series presumed that Jon Snow would somehow return from the dead. Even those who didn’t pored over whatever info trickled in from the show’s shoot, including whether Harington was present and whether his haircut matched what Jon’s should look like.
Then the season 6 premiered and, as many fans suspected, Snow was indeed brought back to life at the end of the second episode. He resumed his place as one of the main characters on the show, participating in an elaborate battle sequence in the second-to-last episode before getting crowned King of the North in the finale. Harrington was such a big part of the season, in fact, that he was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama, where he’ll face off against co-star (and past winner) Peter Dinklage. On the occasion, Harington is finally talking in a way he wasn’t allowed to a year ago.
In an interview as part of The Wrap’s Emmy package, Harington talked about his role in season 6 and what it was like to keep such a big secret. Harington spoke, once again, about how he talked to co-stars and the crew as if he were actually leaving the show, and how hard it was to know that he was coming back without knowing how Jon would be changed upon his return. He also shared that he was disappointed at first to discover that the returned character was just the same old Jon Snow:
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.
There was all sorts of speculation as to what form Jon Snow would take upon his return: Would his soul be trapped in the body of his direwolf, Ghost? Would he be somehow damaged, physically or mentally, by the resurrection process? The answer was that aside from a new level of melancholy, a sense of betrayal over his “death” and no longer having to be part of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow came back as essentially the same character he died as.
Not that there was anything wrong with that, necessarily; Jon Snow’s character arc was one of the best things about season 6. Even if Kit Harington was disappointed, he should feel lucky — a whole lot of other actors have had characters die throughout the life of Game of Thrones and, other than Beric Dondarrion all of them have stayed dead, and therefore off the show.
Game of Thrones will return for its seventh season in the summer of 2017 on HBO.
Source: The Wrap