Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season six.
Jon Snow’s resurrection may have been the worst kept secret in “Game of Thrones” history, but that doesn’t mean fans didn’t have expectations set for how the character would behave once he was alive and kicking again. According to a recent interview with the Wrap’s Steve Pond, even actor Kit Harington had anticipated the character changing after returning from the dead.
Though Harington knew Jon was coming back to life, he didn’t have a clue about where Jon’s story line would go in season six. “And then I got the scripts, and actually, he comes back as himself, as the Jon that everyone knows,” Harington told the Wrap. “Which at first I found disappointing.”
This disappointment was echoed by some of the fans at home watching, who felt that the resurrection was a cheap drama ploy if it didn’t actually have any affect on the character or those who know him.
“But it’s more subtle than that,” Harington continued. “He has an insight into what lies beyond that very few people in his world do, and that no one in our world does—he knows that there’s no afterlife. Which does quietly drive who he is and what he wants to do.”
As Jon’s season six journey continued, we watched as he navigated the world without Castle Black to call home. He left the Night’s Watch and (after some serious convincing from Sansa) led the charge against the Boltons and won back the north. He was perhaps even gloomier, and at one point requested that Melisandre never resurrect him again, but overall the changes were definitely subtle.
Here’s what Harington had to say in an Entertainment Weekly interview published the week Jon’s resurrection episode aired: “Jon’s never been afraid of death, and that’s made him a strong and honorable person,” he told EW. “He realizes something about his life now: He has to live it, because that’s all there is. He’s been over the line and there’s nothing there. And that changes him. It literally puts the fear of god into him.”
This change was most present during the epic ninth episode, “Battle of the Bastards.”
Throughout the battle against Ramsay and his forces, Jon takes his fate into his own hands time and time again — even when it was the wrong choice. From foolishly ignoring Sansa’s advice and charging to save Rickon, or emerging from the crushing bodies during the battle’s climax, or nearly beating Ramsay to death, Jon’s mentality was unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Redditor I_miss_arrow put this into the perfect words: “Jon’s behavior this season has been characterized by fear. Fear of death, certainly. But more than that is fear of not having a say in his own fate.”
In a very literal sense, Jon was reborn during the “Battle of the Bastards” — in a way that might turn out to be more dramatic than his initial resurrection. Now he’s been crowned King in the North, and his leadership skills will be put to test more than ever. As for dying again? We’d bet Jon is one of the few characters guaranteed to make it to the end. Killing someone twice is cruel — even by “Game of Thrones” standards.