The Secrecy Behind John Snow’s Fate

"game_of_thrones_kit_harington_jon_snow_94600_1920x1200" by Peter Pham is licensed under CC BY 2.0

WARNING: SPOLER ALERT

In an era of spoilers, leaks and information at the tips of our fingers, it’s even more impressive the lengths HBO and Game of Thrones went to keep John Snow’s fate a secret.

As the camera panned out on Snow’s bloodied, stabbed body at the end of the last season, every Game of Thrones fan declared themselves dubious that he was truly dead. This is even despite watching five seasons of the main, beloved characters being killed off over and over again.

Then, the easily recognised Kit Harington was suspiciously spotted on set of Season 6, where he and the show claimed he was simply ‘playing a corpse’.

Even whilst being interviewed about Doctor Faustus, Harington’s new West-End play, all the interviewers wanted was for Harington to admit that Snow was still alive and he would feature in the upcoming season.

We must remember that the latest season is the first to be released prior to George R. R. Martin’s equivalent book – so even the most dedicated fan did not know for sure.

Watching the final scene on Sunday of the second episode of the latest season, ‘Home’, it still felt like there was even a chance that GoT and Harington had been telling the truth this whole time. Snow is dead. Harington is merely doing his duty for the show and acting as a corpse. GoT have done what they do best. They normally kill of the fan favourites; they’re basically doing the same thing by not letting him be brought back to life.

But then as Melisandre, Tormund, Ser Davos and entourage disappointingly leave the dungeon containing Snow’s corpse, the camera begins to reminiscently pan out over Snow’s body. His eyes open. He begins to pant. The credits roll.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Harington apologises profusely for continuously denying a John Snow comeback, since the last episode of season five aired.

“I’d like to say sorry for lying to everyone. I’m glad that people were upset that he died…I think my biggest fear was that people were not going to care. Or it would just be, ‘Fine, Jon Snow’s dead,’”

Harington admitted, “at first I thought I would find it fun…this will be a fun game. But I had to lie to a lot of close friends and cast members and crew. The longer it went, the more I felt like I was betraying them. So I did end up letting people in, slowly.”

Since the resurrection, it’s emerged the lengths the show went to, to keep the John Snow secret ‘alive’.

Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss only let Harington know he was going to eventually be revived, and therefore, kept the remainder of the cast in the dark until shooting this season, for fears his fate would be leaked. Harington was sworn (and probably signed) to secrecy for over a year and even had to convince his cast-mates, family and friends that he was leaving the show.

Once shooting began for the latest season and the rest of the cast knew Snow would return, ‘John Snow’ didn’t appear on any scripts or casting calls. Instead Harington’s character was referred to as ‘LC’ (Lord Commander), for further fears the secret would slip out. Harington also confirmed in the Entertainment Weekly interview that ‘John Snow’ was banned from being said on set with ‘LC’ ever since becoming his nickname.

Despite Game of Thrones being arguably the biggest and most scrutinised show on TV at the moment, it still manages to controversially keep us guessing, season after season. This is the reason it is so eternally loved and why each season is so eagerly anticipated.

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