This article includes some mild Season 6 spoilers.
The Season 6 poster teases us with a picture of Jon Snow’s face. Yet HBO has said adamantly and repeatedly that Jon Snow is dead. Everyone from the showrunners to the executives have avowed his death.
Just yesterday, Natalie Dormer told Channel 5 news that “If you get stabbed that many times, you’re dead, you know. There are some basic medical rules that even apply in Westeros.”
But, she continued to say, “So Jon Snow is dead right now.”
When pushed on the “right now” point, she emphasized the point by repeating “right now.”
Some fans argue that HBO refuses to bring the fallen back to life. My friend Phil says that bringing back the dead is much easier in novels whereas you run into suspension of disbelief problems on TV. That is, will people be scared the next time you kill a character off if you brought a character back to life?
Case in point: After Catelyn died, there was no Lady Stoneheart. And, Lady Stoneheart probably isn’t making an appearance in Season 6. As recently as September 2015, Michelle Fairley “curtly” told Gulf News, “I am not under contract to Game of Thrones.”
Plus, for book fans, look what happened with Mance Rayder and Rattleshirt. TV Mance appears to be absopositively dead. HBO dissolved all doubt at Hardhome when they showed Tormund beating Rattleshirt to death.
All throughout Season 5, I hoped that somehow TV Mance would come back to life. But, no pun intended, Hardhome really drove it home for me: Mance wasn’t coming back. When Jon shot TV Mance with an arrow on the funeral pyre, he was really dead. Worse, because of this, I now suspect that Book Mance is dead.
=== SPOILER ALERT ===
Until I read Martin’s blog post (see below), I was hoping Myrcella was still alive. <Sob.>
Worse, I was still having a moment of denial, until I went to Wikia looking for images — and saw this:
I am hoping against hope that Jon Snow is still alive, both in the books and on the show. And, I’m not alone. Amanda Peet — D.B. Weiss’ wife — even jokingly threatened to divorce the showrunner if Jon wasn’t alive and breathing when the credits roll this April.
Still, between George RR Martin and HBO, there have been some mixed signals — or maybe I just want to think they are mixed. Journalists have been doing a “close reading” of anything Martin says about Jon since Season 5 ended, such as when Martin referred to Jon’s arc in the present tense. Some sharp eyes even caught David Benioff shaking his head no — Jon is not alive — during this gag at the Emmys.
The books and the show have now gone on two separate paths. The health status of a character in the Book World does not necessarily mean that his or her heart beats on TV. In Martin’s own words (from his blog):
“Mago, Irri, Rakharo, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Pyat Pree, Pyp, Grenn, Ser Barristan Selmy, Queen Selyse, Princess Shireen, Princess Myrcella, Mance Rayder, and King Stannis are all dead in the show, alive in the books. Some of them will die in the books as well, yes… but not all of them, and some may die at different times in different ways.”
So, all of this brings me round to the question, do you think Jon is still Dead? Alive? There are, of course, other options, so please assume there will be spoilers in the comments below.