Kit Harrington has already claimed that he won’t be back for season 6. The Spooks star previously stated to Entertainment Weekly that, “I had a sit-down with [showrunners]Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff], we did the Tony Soprano walk [letting an actor know they’re being whacked]. And they said, ‘Look, you’re gone, it’s done.” So why are we clinging on?
Although Harrington clearly brings some eye-candy to the show it’s also because the character is still potentially pivotal to the story. Harrington himself even pointed this out, though claimed that all he knew was that he was dead; “it’s only in David and Dan and George’s heads. But I’ve been told I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m not coming back next season.” Our main arguments hinge on the following reasons:
1. Too much has been left undone (admittedly this is based mostly on ‘fan-theory’)
George R.R. Martin has cracked out some pretty shocking deaths in his fantasy epic, it’s true, but when you stop and look back, the victims are all characters whose stories have come to a natural end.
Ned Stark was stuck in the past, a victim of honour over common sense. Robb Stark was never as major a character and George R.R. Martin somehow never seemed enamoured with him. Catelyn was one of the old guard too, her family scattered and her husband dead. Joffrey had been fully established as a horrible king – he wasn’t going to change and he couldn’t keep the throne indefinitely, could he?
But when it comes to Jon, there are just too many dangling threads left. We’ve only just started exploring Jon’s tenure as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Not only that, but The Wall is obviously going to be a central location in the story’s climax and, without him, who is our point of entry into that world? Even Samwell Tarly isn’t at Castle Black anymore.
On top of that, there’s the mystery of Jon’s mother. More is made of it in the books, but if our suspicions are right (more on that in a bit), it will be just as significant to the show when the time comes around. And then there’s all those prophecies flying around…see what we did their?
2. The Prince who was promised
Melisandre, the Red Priestess, is on the lookout for a promised hero known variously as The Prince That Was Promised, Azor Ahai, and by numerous other grandiose titles. Unfortunately for Melisandre, she inexplicably decided that Stannis Baratheon was that fabled hero, but that looks more unlikely than ever now. Though it’s still unclear whether Stannis is really dead in the show – we only saw Brienne’s sword and he’s alive in the books – he’s still failing slowly.
There is plenty to indicate that Jon is the one she is waiting for, including various visions of snow (subtle!) and it looks like Melisandre is slowly coming to see that, not to mention the leader of the White Walkers, The Night’s King.
There is also a prophecy about Daenerys needing two more companions to ride her other dragons (aka the dragon has three heads). Now, unless you’re a Targaryen, you don’t really have much hope of avoiding abruptly ending your life as a barbecued snack. Conveniently, most fans are, or were, pretty certain that Jon is a Targaryen too (the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen – see The Internet for pages and pages more on that). For originality’s sake, we would still prefer Dany to be the prophesied hero Azor Ahai, and it could even be that they both end up as heads of the promised saviour.
So, according to our estimates, Jon has some pretty important roles still to fill, which would be made a whole lot more challenging for him if he really is dead and gone.
3. George R. R. Martin loved him!
George R.R. Martin plays favourites with his characters – there’s no denying – and we already noted that Robb Stark found out to his severe detriment that he didn’t make the list.
For favourites, see: Daenerys, Tyrion, Arya and Jon. The bastard Stark son has remained central to the story throughout, and we just can’t see Martin shuffling him off before the big finale. Snow has always been mentioned, even when Ned was in Westerns and Catelyn at war with her son.
So of course, what remains is – how could Jon Snow survive?
That’s all very well and good, you might say, but Jon was leaking from an awful lot of holes and looked pretty dead when last we saw him. Of course Kit Harrington also came forward and said he’s not returning for season 6 and so far know’s nothing, but, has he ever? Therefore we’ve come up with a few get-outs for GRRM and the show runners.
Firstly, he might just not be dead. Martin has offered some fake outs like this before, although given the grisly on-screen depiction this is starting to look a lot less likely. Hands-up for who now hates little Olly?
The Stark kids have also shown a talent for ‘warging’ – jumping into the bodies of animals and humans, such as their direwolves. One theory is that Jon will jump into another body and survive. We’re not sure how much we can credit this, as we can’t see the show swapping out Kit Harington’s pout for a wolf’s muzzle or the pout of another actor. Still, it might explain his promised absence in season six and also enable him to ride the dragon.
Our favourite prediction is that, though technically dead, it won’t stick. Characters in Game of Thrones have a habit of coming back, especially when Melisandre and her fellow Lord of Light priest Thoros of Myr are about. This however has mostly been seen in the books and not on screen. Beric Dondarrion came back numerous times, and – in the books – a familiar character known as Lady Stoneheart. If you don’t know who that is I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to start reading.
If Jon is connected to the Azor Ahai prophecy, it stands to reason that the Lord of Light might have more plans for him, stab wounds be damned. We certainly hope so.
Of course, this is all speculation until Game of Thrones season six or the next novel The Winds of Winter arrive, which isn’t expected at least until 2016. If you want to witness The Edge’s response to last night’s deaths read our live-blog or our review.