It’s been more than a month since the season finale of this year’s Game of Thrones aired and fans of the show are still reeling over the supposed death of beloved character Jon Snow. As someone who is both a big fan of the show and the books, I remain highly skeptical that Snow is really dead in the same way that Ned Stark, Joffrey Baratheon and Robb Stark are. I’ll lay out all the evidence why I think Snow is still alive below.
First of all, Kit Harrington, the actor who plays Snow, has been spotted in Belfast this week, which just happens to be where the sixth season of the show is starting filming. Harrington also still has the trademark long hair and beard that are iconic features of Snow’s character and we can’t imagine him wanting to keep all that hair on in the middle of summer if he doesn’t have to.
But that’s just the start of it. If we go back and look at the book A Dance With Dragons and subsequent interviews with author George R.R. Martin, we can find all the evidence we need to make a case that Jon Snow isn’t dead.
Toward the end of A Dance With Dragons, the red priestess Melisandre gave Snow several cryptic warnings about “daggers in the dark” and advised him to keep his dire wolf Ghost nearby. Clearly Melisandre, who is a sometimes-accurate prophet, saw Snow’s own men betraying him in her visions and tried to warn him against the plot.
“OK,” you say. “But we still saw Snow get stabbed multiple times before being left to bleed out on the ground.”
Yes we did! However, there are two ways he could get out of this rather nasty predicament:
- Melisandre could just resurrect him. In the books, red priests and priestesses have the power to bring people back to life, presuming they died recently and they weren’t, say, beheaded. In the books (but not the show), a red priest brought Catelyn Stark back to life after she died in the infamous “Red Wedding.” And in both the books and the show, character Beric Dondarrion is revived by a red priest after suffering several deaths. So the precedent is there for Melisandre to bring Snow back to life, especially since she ever-so-conveniently turned up back at The Wall at the end of season 5.
- Snow could zap his consciousness into his wolf. We know that the Stark children have psychic connections with their pet dire wolves and that the young Bran Stark is able to take over the body of his wolf (and other creatures) if he so chooses. While Jon Snow has never done this directly, he does have the same kind of connection to Ghost that Bran has to his wolf and it’s entirely possible he could leap into the wolf in a moment of extreme distress. This also offers context for why Melisandre kept telling Snow to keep his wolf nearby toward the end of A Dance With Dragons.
Finally, there’s an interview with author Martin himself.
Asked by Entertainment Weekly back in 2011 why he killed off Jon Snow, Martin coyly responded by saying, “Oh, so you think he’s dead, do you?” Martin has never been shy about telling the world that dead characters are, in fact, dead and the fact that he chose to leave it an open-ended question here suggests that the Bastard of Winterfell’s story is still a long way from being over.
And finally, here’s my personal reason why I think Snow is still alive: The story is so much better with him in it. A Song of Ice and Fire is filled to the brim with brutally cruel and ruthless characters who are clamoring for power. While those nasty characters are part of what makes the story so much fun to read, we also need to have some decent human beings to root for.
If by the end of the story we’re looking at a battle for the Iron Throne between Cersei Lannister, Ramsay Bolton and Littlefinger, will we have any reason to root for anything except a giant meteor to destroy the entire continent? Because of this, I think the story needs Jon Snow to stick around for a while longer.