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The Jon Snow death in Game of Thrones was a significant blunder and failed to shock viewers, with fans already anticipating his resurrection due to hints in the books.
The showrunners pretended to trick audiences into believing Jon’s death was permanent, but fans knew better and felt patronized by the show’s attempt to create surprise.
Game of Thrones season 8 did not justify Jon’s death fakeout, as his resurrection had little impact on the story, and his character lacked purpose, so deciding to kill him off felt meaningless.
Jon Snow’s death and resurrection in Game of Thrones seasons 5-6 had little impact on the rest of the show.
Jon Snow dies in the Game of Thrones season 5 finale, “Mother’s Mercy,” he is stabbed to death under a sign that read ‘traitor’ by a faction of the Night’s Watch who hated Jon for bringing the Wildlings south of the Wall. The final blow was dealt by Jon’s protégé Olly. However, in season 6, episode 2, “Home,” Jon is brought back to life by Melisandre.
Though it became a much-talked-about moment for the series, many complained about the failed shock value, the lowering of the stakes, and the lack of purpose. With the Jon Snow spinoff on the way, there’s no better time to look back on one of its parent series’ worst choices.
The Jon Snow death fakeout hasn’t just poorly aged — it wasn’t received well when it aired either. It’s easy to see why the showrunners thought they could get away with convincing fans that Jon was dead (and not coming back).
A Dance With Dragons ends Jon Snow’s story with the Mutiny at Castle Black, so in both A Song Of Ice And Fire and Game Of Thrones, fans are left on a cliffhanger with Jon stabbed by his men, and Jon Snow dies. What Benioff and Weiss did not factor in, however, was the fact that the fandom had learned that Jon Snow died when A Dance With Dragons came out in 2011.
Game Of Thrones Showrunners Pretended They Tricked Audiences
The Jon Snow death scene also fell flat because fans doubted it was real. Although the series had a history of killing off major characters, starting with Ned Stark’s death in Game of Thrones season 1, fandom had a consensus that this death wouldn’t stick.
In story terms, it was clear that Westeros wasn’t done with Jon Snow. As the child of Rhaegar and Lyanna, his parentage is just a little bit important — so every book fan knew that the series couldn’t be done with him before that particular reveal came into play.
The Red Woman, who could theoretically bring people back from the dead, just happening to be back at Castle Black was too coincidental not to be noticed whether a fan or the books or not. Add in some behind-the-scenes hints, especially Kit Harington’s un-cut mane, and there was little doubt that Jon would be coming back in Game of Thrones season 6.
However, the showrunners ignored the fandom on this one and acted as though the Jon Snow death scene was shocking and permanent. Kit Harington said he had been told he was dead (via EW).
Although the Game of Thrones fandom had no doubts Jon would be resurrected, the show continued to act as though it was all a big surprise, but soon learned that patronizing a fandom isn’t a great way to make those fans happy.
Game of Thrones would have been better off treating Jon’s death similarly to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s treatment of Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War. Everybody knew that the heroes Thanos sent away with the Blip would return somehow, and Marvel Studios didn’t pretend otherwise — the hype was in finding out how.
Jon’s Return From Death Has To Mean More In The Books
The Jon Snow death in Game of Thrones did a lot of damage to that character, especially in how the rest of the series handled his arc. While there is some chance of the Jon Snow spinoff finding a way to undo some of that damage, the only natural way to redeem Jon Snow’s death is through George R. R. Martin’s books.
To date, the last moment of Jon in the books was his assassination in A Dance with Dragons. Of course, the show has confirmed that Jon still has a role to play in the story and that the books will have to resurrect him. It can mean a lot more in the books.
The show has never been as interested in the prophecies of Martin’s books, from the Prince That Was Promised to the Valonqar prophecy. Jon’s resurrection will play into the idea of him being the Prince That Was Promised, as Martin has already laid the groundwork convincingly. Likewise, the author will surely put more weight on the importance of Jon’s parentage than the show did, meaning that Jon’s return will have more to it.
While the series was known for killing off characters fans love, Jon Snow’s death in Game of Thrones was a misguided attempt to shock viewers and became one of the biggest blunders. There have been unpopular decisions in Game of Thrones, including most of the show’s final season.
Most of the less-than-stellar decisions that showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have made have been balanced out by stunning plot twists, battle scenes, and Westerosi intrigue. However, one of their worst decision still leaves a bad taste in fans’ mouths: Jon Snow’s death in season 5 and subsequent resurrection in season 6.