If you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode, stop reading now!
Television’s biggest question was finally answered during last night’s episode of Game of Thrones: Jon Snow lives.
Although many of us scoffed at the proceedings, as we did at Glen’s impossible, eye-roll-inducing escape in Season 6 of The Walking Dead, Jon Snow’s resurrection was much more than some last-minute write-in to bring one of Westeros’s only do-gooders back from the dead. It goes all way back to season three and the Brotherhood without Banners.
How, Melisandre, How?!
In the wake of Thorne’s mutiny, Ser Davos Seaworth seeks Melisandre’s help, asking her to harness her power and bring Jon back. She agrees, albeit with uncertainty, stating that she once “met a man who came back from the dead, but the priest who did it… it shouldn’t have been possible.”
Here, Melisandre is referring to her meeting with Thoros of Myr, The red priest of the Lord of the Light red priest, during Season 3. Shortly after resurrecting Lord Beric Dondarrion following his loss in a trial by combat against The Hound, the two discuss Thoros’s power. Melisandre learns that it isn’t just about the words that are said, but the feelings behind those words.
“I knelt beside his cold body and said the old words. Not because I believed in them, but he was my friend, and he was dead. And they were the only words I knew.”
Man’s Best Friend
After Jon was fatally stabbed by several of his brothers, Ghost howled in his nearby pen until he was freed. He then laid at Jon’s side, patiently waiting for his owner’s return.
After Melisandre said her “old words” Ghost leapt up as Jon awoke and gasped for air.
This moment begs the question: was Jon’s spirit trapped in Ghost’s body? Within the GoT Universe, humans can escape death through warging. Wargs, for those less learned, are those with the ability to enter the minds of animals and perceive the world through their senses, and even control their actions. Bran Stark is a warg, having skin-swapped with his dire-wolf, Summer, in seasons past. Previously, there was Orell, a wildling warg killed by Snow whose consciousness inhabited his pet eagle in order to exact revenge.
Could Jon’s spirit have been temporarily placed inside of Ghost’s body? How will this affect their relationship going forward?
Who Is This Jon Snow?
No one returns from the dead whole.
After returning from the darkness for the sixth time, Lord Beric tells a bewildered Arya “Every time I come back, I’m a bit less. Pieces of you get chipped away.”
“Each time Beric’s revived, he loses a little more of himself. He was sent on a mission before his first death. He was sent on a mission to do something, and it’s like, that’s what he’s clinging to. He’s forgetting other things, he’s forgetting who he is, or where he lived. He’s forgotten the woman who he was once supposed to marry. Bits of his humanity are lost every time he comes back from death; he remembers that mission. His flesh is falling away from him, but this one thing, this purpose that he had is part of what’s animating him and bringing him back to death.”
This could also be said of The Mountain. Although his return came at the hands of expelled maester, Qyburn, and his illegal human experiments, the zombified Ser Gregor seems fixated on serving his Queen Cersei, more so now than ever before.
So what does that mean for Jon and his “mission?”
The obvious points to Jon uniting wildlings and crows to protect the Wall from White Walkers, a mission he was determined to lead until his dying breath. However, just before his death, Jon was tricked into believing his lost uncle and first ranger of the Night’s Watch, Benjen Stark, had returned to Castle Black. So could Jon’s mission now be diverted to reuniting his uncle and siblings with hopes of reclaiming the North for the Stark family?
To further complicate matters, fans of the books and show alike have spotted several plot-points in seasons past that point toward the confirmation of the”R+L=J” fan-theory. The equation breaks down as follows: Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon, meaning Jon is not the bastard son of Ned Stark, but rather the love-child of the maybe-secretly-eloped Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. This would make Jon the nephew of Daenerys Targaryen, giving him a potential claim to the Iron Throne. And with the “blood of the dragon” coursing through him, we may eventually see Jon atop of one of Daenerys’ dragons. But this could just be wishful thinking here.
Wikipedia already has some information on next Sunday’s episode, stating “Bran continues his training with the Three-eyed Raven, where he is transported in the past and witnesses the events that occurred when his father arrived at the Tower of Joy to rescue his sister Lyanna from Rhaegar Targaryen.”
All signs point toward the theory becoming canon, but how will Jon handle this truth?
As Vox points out, Jon could be a reincarnated hero from centuries ago:
“Additionally, the books have extensively set up a prophecy believed by followers of the Lord of Light —- that a promised hero, Azor Ahai, would return and save the world from darkness. Melisandre thought that hero was Stannis — but in one chapter she searches for him while staring into her magical flames, and says, “All I see is Snow” — with a capital S. If Jon’s father is, in fact, Rhaegar Targaryen, that would mean he’s the blood of the dragon, as well as a Stark — a fitting lineage for a mystical hero in a series called A Song of Ice and Fire.”
Jon Snow was brought back with intent, be it to defeat the White Walkers beyond the Wall, to claim the Iron Throne with his aunt, or whatever alternate theories might exist out there. The integration of fan-favored head-canon into the show’s secret sauce means that all bets are potentially off. However, the most intriguing question is how will his resurrection or his time in the darkness affect his character arc?
Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think is next for Jon Snow.