[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Game of Thrones ahead.]
When Game of Thrones' season 5 finale aired last summer, even the most tragedy hardened of the show's fans were appalled by the 'death' of fan favorite and symbol of super theory: Jon Snow (Kit Harington). The ensuing uproar and simple disbelief regarding this plot decision has become an internet breaking phenomena that has yet to desist. The Game of Thrones showrunners, marketing team, cast members and Harington himself have consequently become embroiled in a complicated game of double bluffing hinting and denial that would make even Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) seem an amateur in manipulation.
One of the most adamant masters of denial since Snow's stabby end has been Harington, despite the many clues to the contrary - the most obvious of which being his unexplained presence on set.... in costume... during Game of Thrones season 6 filming in Belfast in September 2015. Many fans took this to be a sign that the character will live on (in some incarnation) but the ever stoic actor has just done his best to finally squash this theory.
Although (in the last season especially) the show's writers have guided the action off course from George R.R. Martin's published source material, the cliffhanger involving Jon Snow's survival is an event true to the season's companion novel “A Dance With Dragons”. Subsequently, Game of Thrones fans that had read the novel were prepared for this possible occurrence - but due to clues and intrigue surrounding the character, theories have developed that have both book and show fans alike convinced that Snow is destined for a greater purpose than a seeming shock tactic death.
Time Out have taken an opportunity to probe the actor about his involvement in season 6 whilst interviewing him about his upcoming role in a stage production of “Doctor Faustus” in London's West End. When asked outright about his presence in Belfast and the future of Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, Harrington was as firm as usual confirming Snow's death and offered a justification for the filming he was clearly doing there:
“Look, I’m not in the show any more. I’m definitely not in the new series.... I filmed some scenes of me being dead – [jokingly] it’s some of my best work.”
When asked about upcoming story lines in Game of Thrones season 6, the actor responded with a blunt yet cryptic answer:
“I don’t have a clue. I know how long I’m a corpse for, but I can’t tell you that!”
Harington continues to maintain his steadfast position of refusal regarding the possibility of Snow's revival in Game of Thrones season 6, but the question is: do we believe him? When the show's marketing seems to deliberately confuse with illusive hinting, and subtext within certain scenes points towards some spectacular theories, are we even meant to? The Game of Thrones creators have become masters of spoiler avoidance in an increasingly difficult climate of fan speculation and probing. The tease of outright denial from the actor in question, juxtaposed against releasing advertising featuring said actor (as one example), feeds the steady flow of publicity that keeps fans interested between seasons.
Believe him or not, we will most likely have to wait until the April 2016 season 6 premiere to find out. Then again, if we take it that Jon Snow knows nothing... can anything Jon Snow says therefore be taken definitively?
Game of Thrones returns with its season 6 premiere on April 24th, 2016 on HBO.