Opinion: Jon Snow’s Death

Is Jon Snow really dead? Will he be brought back to life?

It’s been nearly two weeks since the spectacular season finale of HBO’s Game Of Thrones and speculation is still rife over a number of cliffhangers. The most prominent being that of Jon Snow’s apparent death after being stabbed in a mutiny at Castle Black.

As a GOT book reader, having read the series multiple times and yet to find another series of a similar quality, I was expecting the twist to occur but David Nutter’s beautiful directorship and escalation of tension increased the quality of the scene far beyond belief. As the show very often does, characters are presented a moment of hope, something that contrasts with the usual Game Of Thrones world and allows audience to celebrate and applaud. But this hope very rarely lasts, with such characters either coming to an untimely death or facing some cruel punishment. Jon Snow was made to believe his uncle Benjen had arrived back at the Wall, rushing out of his chambers only to be met with a wooden stake and sign. ‘Traitor’ it declared. As a few seconds of silence increased the tension, the stabbing began, Allister Thorne and Olly, prominently highlighted as part of the rebelling brothers. But the question is constantly asked, did Jon Snow actually die and if he did, will he be resurrected? Facebook and Twitter is an abundant source of discussions, forums and memes speculating over the future of Jon Snow. So I thought I’d share my opinion.

Jon Snow will live. This is my belief. While these thoughts not original, hopefully I can clearly highlight the main reasons I, like many others, believe this:

  • George RR Martin stated in an interview that Jon Snow would eventually find out the truth of his parentage. Jon Snow’s mother, or within most speculation, his parents, has been a source of great discussion within the literary world as readers and now viewers debate the numerous possibilities for Jon Snow’s mother and who she could be. The most popular theory and again the one I believe to be true is the idea that Jon Snow is the child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. This theory proves Jon not to be Ned Stark’s son, and therefore not a bastard. The first evidence of this comes from a character analysis of Ned, someone that is the embodiment of honour, a man that would never impregnate a woman outside of marriage. Whether it is shown through his recurring idea of justice, and that the man who finds someone guilty must impose the sentence, or his dutiful role as a father, understanding the reality of a father and husbands role, a family man in a dark cold world. Ned Stark again and again proves he is not the sort of man to father a bastard and for to Martin to make him do such a thing would undermine his whole character. Ned is also incredibly protective of Jon, even in a way exceeding that of his true born children. While it could be argued he is just defending his son, many believe Ned see’s Jon as his last link to Lyanna, the sister he dearly loved and the possible mother to Jon. Keeping Jon and telling everyone that he is his own could be a means of protecting his sister’s son and therefore keeping her memory alive. The second aspect to consider in regard to Jon Snow’s parentage comes from the lore of the books and a series of events during Roberts Rebellion. As the Targaryen Family fell, it is believed Rhaegar either with or without consent impregnated Lyanna in hope that she would give birth to a heir and allow his family to live on. Rhaegar leaves Lyanna in the Tower of Joy for over a year until Ned comes across it guarded by three Kingsguard, an unlikely place to find such men. Again it is speculated that the men were there in order to guard the heir from anyone wishing to kill him. It is the following part that is of the greatest importance. When Ned defeated the Kingsguard and reached Lyanna in the Tower, she is believed to have died but not before she made Ned promise something, and Ned true to his honour and love for Lyanna is reported to have agreed. I believe that Ned promised Lyanna that he would safeguard her child and raise him as his own. In the second book in the series Danerys enters the House of the Undying where she has visions of Rhaegar, her brother, and his son Aegon. Rhaegar is said to declare that he needed a third child, behind Rhaenys and Aegon, as this was needed to fulfil the prophecy of a dragon with three heads. He also began to model himself off his ancestor Aegon The Conquerer, who had two wives leading him to believe that his third child needed to be given birth by a second woman, that potentially being Lyanna. On top of his vision, Danerys also sees an image of a blue winter rose growing from a slab of ice. This rose could be linked to the Wall, a wall made of ice and to the point that Lyanna was fond of blue roses. Other minor reasons include Jon’s physical attributes as differing from that of either Ned or Catelyn. If this theory of his parentage is true, Jon Snow is the heir to the Iron Throne after Aegon. If Martin is to be believed, then Jon Snow cannot be dead as he is yet to find out about his true parentage while this would also be a lackluster climax to the theories surrounding Jon Snows mother and would leave fans of the show and the books with little gratification.
  • The next theory regarding whether Jon Snow actually indeed was murdered, or if he will come back to life is a little more complex and relates to the Azor Ahai theory. Azor Ahai is the mythical figure that Melisandre believes is the chosen hero and champion of the Lord Of Light and will one day be reborn, supposedly after a long summer, which has just occurred in the Game Of Thrones timeline. It is also said that Azor Ahai would be reborn within salt and smoke. Initially the dominant view throughout the books and show was that Stannis Baratheon was the hero reborn and that was why Melisandre worshipped him. Stannis wields a sword that is similar to the legendary ‘Lightbringer’ the sword Azor Ahai wielded, and also lives at Dragonstone, a volcanic island with smoke from the geysers and salt from the sea. However there are multiple factors against this that prove Stannis cannot be Azor Ahai, one being that his sword is not warm and therefore cannot be Lightbringer and the other that he is not a direct blood relative of a dragon, or a Targaryen, something many believe is symbolic of Azor Ahai. In the show Melisandre foresees Stannis’s defeat at the Battle Of Winterfell directly following sacrificing his daughter, Shireen, to the Lord Of Light. Melisandre therefore believes that because the Lord Of Light still let Stannis fail, he cannot be the hero reborn, immediately riding back to the Wall to see Jon, which many believe is indicative of her changing her view and now believing Jon to be Azor Ahai. It can be argued that Danerys is Azor Ahai reborn due to her direct relationship to dragons and the fact she was born on Dragonstone as well as the fact that she became the ‘Mother of Dragons’ when being ‘reborn’ when surviving walking through a fire. As this happened it is also evident that the three dragons were born, and the following morning a red comet shot across the sky, again symbolic of Azor Ahai and the Lord Of Light. There are other character that some argue are Azor Ahai but in those are the main theories. In regard to Jon, we can identify the thought that Melisandre may resurrect him from the dead after realising him to be Azor Ahai. Firstly when he was stabbed it is said that the brothers were crying, indicating salt, while if Jon is a dragon and is being ‘reborn’ his birth may be a symbol of the fire of the dragon and as he lay on the snow, his birth and therefore the fire would create smoke. Jon is also known to have had a dream where he battles the Others with a burning sword, possibly Lightbringer. It should also be noted that Azor Ahai was the nemesis of the Others, in a similar manner to Jon, as highlighted throughout the books and shows, and depicted quite directly in the episode ‘Hardhome’. If Jon is Azor Ahai this would allow him to be resurrected and therefore we can say that he is not gone for good.
  • My final point is in regard to plot line of the books and show. The series revolves around the fight for power and ultimately the Iron Throne. If Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna then he is the second heir to the throne. This would be a major plotline and something that, if Jon is dead, would be foolishly ignored. Why would Martin waste such an oppotunity, as well as the connection to the idea of ice and fire, Danerys being the fire and Jon representative of ice. The two coming together to win the throne. If Jon dies, he is released from his vows, therefore making him a legitimate claimant of the throne, if Aegon dies. Again this highlights how Jon dying would be a waste of a potential plot and not work with numerous other subplots unless Melisandre brought him back to life, free of his vows.

Whether you agree with my opinion or not, please comment below your thoughts and arguments and if there is any other evidence I may have missed.