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Game of Thrones has never been an easy show to predict. Still, plenty of us have spent the hiatus between Season 5 and Season 6 pretty confident that the assassination of Jon Snow didn’t actually mean the end of his character’s run on the show. There was just no way that he could be really, totally, 100% forever dead, right? Judging by the Season 6 premiere that did not feature a Jon Snow resurrection, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss might be able to convince a few more of us that Jon is dead for good with their reasoning for why he was killed off.
Benioff and Weiss had this to say about the decision to kill off Jon Snow:
Was any gambler dumb enough to bet money on Voldemort? In traditional fantasy, when the forces of darkness are arrayed against the armies of light, everyone knows who’s going to win. And that’s one of the elements that bored us about traditional fantasy: the predictability of it.
The showrunners certainly avoided predictability with "The Red Woman." Instead of the episode ending with Melisandre in all of her gorgeous red glory performing a kiss of life on Jon’s corpse, it ended on Melisandre climbing into bed after removing the jewel that evidently kept her young and beautiful. Jon is still dead, his pals are preparing for a last stand, and Melisandre is much more than she seemed. David Benioff and Dan Weiss were definitely successful at subverting expectations for the Season 6 premiere.
At the same time, comparing Game of Thrones to Harry Potter at this point might not be the best way to convince fantasy fans that Jon Snow is dead for good. Warning: Harry Potter saga spoilers are coming. The final Potter book did feature Harry’s pals preparing for a last stand when they believed that their hero was dead. They even had his seemingly lifeless corpse in front of them, but Harry did in fact come back to save the day. Game of Thrones may or may not be bringing Jon Snow back, and Thrones is certainly much darker than Potter ever was, but the comparison probably won’t help the showrunners make their case to any who are familiar with both series.
This was not the first instance of folks behind the scenes at Game of Thrones claiming that Jon is dead and gone. Kit Harington must nearly be blue in the face for all the times that he’s given interviews about his character being killed off, and even President Obama has been told in no uncertain terms that Jon is dead. Still, contractual hair lengths don’t lie, and we have to hope that we haven’t been on the edge for ten months just to discover that Kit Harington returned to the set only to play a corpse.
Luckily, Season 6 is finally just getting started, so we should soon be able to learn if there is any other truth about Jon Snow and see if the showrunners’ reasoning to THR for his predicament was worth the worry. Tune in to Game of Thrones on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO to see what happens next. Check out our summer TV premiere schedule to see when the rest of your favorite shows will return to the airwaves.