If you have not seen the Season 5 finale of Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy,” then do yourself a huge favor and stop reading now.
Jon Snow is dead.
Yes, the Bastard of Winterfell turned Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch with the beautiful head of hair was steered by that little shit Olly into a trap, and, staring at a miniature cross with the word “Traitor” plastered across it, was stabbed by Ser Alliser Thorne and the rest of the Night’s Watchmen to death in true Julius Caesar fashion. The death strike came courtesy of Olly, who’d watched his family be butchered by the wildlings and had harbored resentment towards Snow for cozying up to them.
And according to Kit Harington, who plays Snow, the sexy bastard is gone for good—at least that’s what he was told by showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff, as well as author George R.R. Martin, whose idea it was.
“This is my understanding of it,” Harington told Entertainment Weekly. “I had a sit-down with Dan and David, we did the Tony Soprano walk. And they said, ‘Look, you’re gone, it’s done’… Quite honestly, I have never been told the future of things in this show, but this is the one time I have. They sat me down and said, ‘This is how it is.’ If anything in the future is not like that, then I don’t know about it—it’s only in David and Dan and George’s heads. But I’ve been told I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m not coming back next season. So that’s all I can tell you, really.”
Snow had, it seems, lost sight of the needs of the Night’s Watch.
“There’s a huge amount of fault,” Harington told EW. “He hasn’t paid attention to the people around him. He’s only looked at the big picture this season. His major fault is a bit like Ned’s in that when trying to do the right thing he wasn’t observing the people around him. He had blinders on. All he could really see is this impending doom by the White Walkers and doing things for the greater good, and what he was missing was Olly and [Ser Alliser] Thorne and some of the men around him. He wasn’t seeing their discontent and dealing with the smaller issues. And because of that, he’s served justice.” That outcome really depends on your definition of “justice.” This season saw Snow engage in politics like never before, angling—with the help of Samwell Tarly—his way to Lord Commander through a miniature coup over Ser Alliser, and as Harington said, trying to get a grasp of the larger picture (White Walkers, Winterfell) instead of focusing on the here and now. And, as anyone who’s familiar with the political arena knows, long-term plans have no place in politics; it’s all about immediate gratification.
“How he goes about being a politician is something we’re going to see this year,” Harington told me earlier this season. “Does he force people to go his way, or does he ask them to? That’s what this whole season is for him—he’s deeply involved in politics in a way he hasn’t been before, and he’s too young for it, in a way. He doesn’t understand other men well enough to play the politician.”