Resurrection, Reunion Winter Soon After
Too many main characters dying on TV these days only to be brought back? Well, sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Misdirection is a common narrative tool in creating epic moments, and the suspense of ending each episode with more questions than answers is narrative gold. But, did that Jon Snow resurrection work for you? It did for me. I’ll tell you why. You make your own call. Also, we’ll dive into where this may lead and whether or not Jon Snow still knows nothing. ;)
Why it Worked, and Why we Liked it
First, it worked for me primarily because it fit the narrative like a glove, Ace Ventura not OJ Simpson. Here is why. Jon Snow needed a way out of Castle Black and the Night’s Watch he swore an oath to. This way out had to maintain his hero status, remain true to Jon Snow, a son of Eddard Stark and rightful heir to the North. Why not just take the offer Stannis Baratheon gave him last season and take his place as Warden of the North? Good question GOT fans. It would have betrayed who Jon Snow is as a man and a leader and align him with a character, Stannis who was going down a very different path. Jon Snow is the good guy, no matter where he goes. He has to do what is right, like his father. Also, Jon Snow needed a way to truly align the wildlings and the men of the Night’s Watch before he can take a heroic path to immortality in Westeros, or not (more on the not in a second). Jon Snow also needed allies among the magical of Westeros, and he now has that connection. Daenerys has her dragons. The Lannisters have a monster. Jon Snow has the Red Woman and perhaps the Fire god. Bran has his abilities as a Warg and the greensight, and the mentorship of the three-eyed raven. Arya is learning the ways of the faceless men. Jon Snow’s resurrection accomplished a lot narratively and signals the third act of our beloved story. We also have a lot up in the air with Jon Snow; can we now find out who his parents are and what role that will play? I hope so.
Jon Snow and His New Friends
Second, other characters needed Jon Snow but had to get rid of their baggage first. Melisandre needed doubt to push her toward her true path, apart from Stannis. The same can be said of the Onion Knight, Davos. He is also a man of honor and needed Stannis to fall from grace, literally. I’m still reeling from the murder of his own daughter. That was wicked, even for GOT. Ok, maybe it was on par for GOT. Westeros sure does see a lot of family drama and the occasional family murder. Tyrion, that was still awesome - on the toilet! Wow! This show sends characters off in style. <- I’m foreshadowing the best bit of this article, that explanation was for the “Jon Snow” readership...the one's who know nothing. Follow me people! Jon Snow has such a big part to play in the overall story, but I don't believe this is his story, just a hunch. Keep reading.
Death/Resurrection that I didn't like on a show I love
In contrast, The Walking Dead death of Glenn in the middle of last season did not sit well with me and came off as a cheap trick. It didn’t do anything narratively that I can see yet (don’t follow the comics because I love the show so I don’t know what is coming, except the whole Negan thing, comic-wise). For me, the death has to accomplish something and the resurrection has to course correct or alter the plot in way that facilitates narrative trajectory and growth. I personally don’t like shock value for the sake of shock value.
We Earned This Resurrection
Third, his death was totally Game of Thrones, but his resurrection was earned. It was paid for with Eddard Starks head. It was bought with Lannister gold at the Red Wedding. It was paid for at the hands of the Mountain squeezing the life out of our well earned vindication for the hero Tyrion. It was paid for time and time again with each death that took the wind out of the sails of our righteous indignation at the villains of Westeros. The hero had it coming. Amongst the incest, rape, murder, gasping and gloriously shocking violent deaths, the audience earned something as pure and innocent as Jon Snow getting a second chance. Well, maybe.
What now for Jon Snow? Be careful what you wish for...
Now this is where we will jump into what may come. There is no promise that Jon Snow is still ‘Jon Snow’. He may actually know something now, ha. But seriously, he may be altered in some form or another. There are (SPOILERS) some elements from the book where characters come back but are not the same at all. In the only example on the TV show, take a look at Beric Dondarrion (best name on the show) and look at what a shell of a man he was as he is constantly resurrected from deaths. It comes with a cost. In GoT, there is always a cost - ask Arya or Khaleesi. Jon Snow gasps back into life, so I don’t think he is inhuman. But there could be something different or wrong about him and he may be the same, eventually. We will see.
Beware, the Ultimate Coupe De Grace is coming!
Lastly, and here is the real kicker - the aforementioned "best bits" -> the ultimate coup de grace. This paragraph is dark and full of SPOILERS, potentially. I never for one minute believed he was dead. It made too much sense how they could bring him back and he had too many mysteries we love up in the air, his parentage for instance. The groundwork had been laid for his revival from the start. The show had done it before, to several different degrees. Baric Dondarrion, Khal Drogo both were brought back and each time there is a cost, but they are resurrected. The Red Woman also has powers unknown and after Stannis’s death was primed to lend her desperate aid. But here is why I never bought it, deep down. Potential Spoilers, my fan theory. Game of Thrones and George RR Martin love to build up a hero and then dashingly and horrifically kill them off leaving the audience heartbroken but somehow itching for more. What better coup de grace than to bring Jon Snow back, have him seemingly bulletproof in your audience's eyes as he walks right up to the Iron throne only to snatch it away from him in a most gruesome fashion. If he comes back as basically the same identifiable and beloved Jon Snow, he’s doomed to be the ultimate coup de grace. If he comes back different but eventually gets back to being the heroic Jon Snow, doomed. I could be wrong, but I don’t think this is Jon Snow’s story. Just when you think he is safe, whammy. Jon Snow may be the Game of Thrones double whammy.
BONUS: What didn't Work and Why
Here is how it didn’t work for me. It wasn’t a surprise. The show did great. It was setup nicely, the pieces fit for a return, but nothing was implicit. And then, we came along - the ravenous consumer with our instant media and unquenchable thirst for more of what we love. The ultimate statement on this cultural dynamic is that some people now feel lied to and misled. What? It’s a show. The actor “lied” to you because he got paid millions under a signed contract to NOT say anything so you might be shocked and surprised. But it didn’t matter. Hilarious.
We made it really impossible to keep his resurrection under wraps for a season break. I think there was a general belief he would be back. We have to know everything, right away. We wanted to see pictures of Kit Harrington on set in Season 6 last fall. We wanted to read articles about how he is still on the payroll and for a lot of money while the show was filming. Pre-internet the word spoiler was reserved for a sports team that ruined a higher seeded team’s chance to win or for food. Now it is used daily to save people from seeing or hearing too much. It’s just the way it is. It is really hard for secrets to stay that way for beloved people, products, and properties like GOT. The security on the sets where they want to keep the story under wraps, an Apple commercial for a new product or a Star Wars movie is ridiculous. The President or a bank isn’t so safe. It has to be that way. So, the cat was out of the bag I think for awhile unless you of course knew what Jon Snow did...nothing.
Here is a perfect example, without spoiling it I know who Negan killed. I'm not special or anything, some guy slowed down the audio so much you can hear what the characters say in response to the deathblow, and I was tired of that show playing games with me so I just wanted to know - moment of weakness but I don’t regret it. I had to know something ;)
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