Night gathers, and now my watch begins.
He knew nothing. He was the bastard sent to the Wall, whose expressions range from uncomfortable to extremely uncomfortable. He was incredibly naive but at the same time well-meaning.
And no matter the truth about his true parentage, a Stark is a Stark, and we all love Starks, don’t we?
But in this twist of George R. R. Martin’s blood-soaked pen, another one was added to the pantheon of dead Wolves.
In the season finale of A Song of Ice and Fire’s HBO television adaptation, Game of Thrones, the audience were left hanging with the death of Jon Snow, the Bastard of Winterfell and the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He was stabbed to death by the mutinous brothers to whom he had sworn himself, betrayed because of growing dissidence; his rule had been questioned since the beginning, for his ways were different from what they were used to, and they did not wish to stand for it.
And another Stark bit the dust (or the snow, as the case might be).
But did he, really?
There have been many speculations surrounding Jon Snow, long before his apparent demise. They say he was the real reincarnation of Azor Ahai, the legendary hero of the followers of R’hllor, whose sword, Lightbringer, was fated to bring the Others down. They say he was the lost son of Rhaegar Targaryen, borne from his tryst with Lyanna Stark, a relationship that sparked Robert Baratheon’s rebellion and one that ignited the bloodiest wars in the history of Westeros since Aegon’s Conquest. He would have been Rhaegar’s attempt to fulfill the prophecy about the three-headed dragon, House Targaryen’s own sigil.
If so, then bastard though he was, Jon could certainly contest Daenerys Targaryen’s claim to the Iron Throne, should she arrive in King’s Landing anytime soon.
If these were true, then Jon Snow was most certainly not dead.
Though seemingly far-fetched and more likely resulting from reading too far into Martin’s symbolisms, these theories have enough grains of verity. Small details point to their factuality, and isn’t it true that the devil is in these details?
Here are several things one should consider when thinking about whether or not Jon Snow was dead:
After the battle at Hardhome, while Jon was sailing away with the wildlings, he looked back and met the blue-eyed stare of the Night’s King, who then raised his sword in a whole “come at me” gesture. The fact that the Night’s King paid enough attention to him to issue this sort of challenge, well, it might be because he saw something in Jon. It might be because they, fundamentally, were the same, especially if the legends of the Night’s King were to be believed: he too was a Lord Commander, who fell in love with a woman Beyond the Wall, and it was rumored that he was of Stark blood too.
When Dany was trapped in the House of the Undying, she saw some vivid visions, one of them being her on Drogon, with two yet-unnamed riders on Viserion and Rhaegal. Of course, it would make more sense if the dragonriders were of Targaryen ancestry; after all, though it was said that dragons existed long before the Valyrian Dragonlords, only they had ever had control over the mighty beasts. It should stand to reason that with the Targaryens the only remaining link to Old Valyrian blood, only they could then ride the three remaining dragons as well (regardless of Euron Greyjoy’s Dragonbinder).
When Melisandre was looking into her flames for visions of R’hllor, searching for ways to help Stannis Baratheon (whom she honestly believed was Azor Ahai, but she was mistaken), all she saw was Jon Snow. In a world where prophecies were taken seriously, this was an extremely important clue.
Melisandre fled from the remains of Stannis’s army, horrified of her mistakes, and arrived at the Wall. The timing was apt because that night, the Brothers of the Watch staged a mutiny against their Lord Commander.
Melisandre’s presence in the Wall reinforced the idea that she would play a hand in Jon Snow’s life—or revival, as the case might be.
Melisandre was obsessed with Stannis’s blood, king’s blood. But if Jon Snow were Rhaegar’s son, then king’s blood was even stronger in him, and Melisandre would have a role in his claiming his birthright.
Yes, it was said that Azor Ahai was born amid salt and fire, and Jon Snow, if he was actually Jon Stark Targaryen, was born amid the salt and fire of the Red Mountains Dorne with ruins surrounding him as his dying mother handed him to Eddard Stark.
These theories all share one thing in common: Jon Snow is a major player in both books and the show. And though Mr. Martin and the showrunners are obviously not afraid of killing their characters (hello the infamous Red Wedding and the disturbing scene of burning Shireen), it seems unlikely that such a central character, with several interconnecting plots in his belt and a major POV in the narrative, would be killed off and would be left at that.