At this point, the idea that Jon Snow is alive on Game of Thrones has moved beyond theory territory. Vague rumblings about contracts and hair length have been rendered all but moot by the mere fact that Kit Harington has been spotted in Belfast. "So he's doing a little bit of sightseeing. What's the big deal?" you ask. Well, the capital of Northern Ireland just so happens to be one of the primary filming locations of the HBO fantasy series that so infamously offed Jon Snow in the Season 5 finale — or so we were led to believe.
The fact that Harington was seen, as reported by Watchers on the Wall, arriving in the Belfast airport on July 21, caught strolling through the streets with cast mate Ben Crompton (Eddison Tollett) by The Daily Mail, and seen again by Watchers enjoying a local restaurant with cast mate Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) as recently as this past Wednesday is a dead giveaway the likes of which HBO was probably hoping to avoid. Sure, one could make the argument that Harington is simply visiting his many friends in the cast... but then why is he still sporting that distinctive Jon Snow hair?
The much more simple explanation that allows me to maintain some semblance of hope is that the actor is in Belfast for filming, ergo Jon Snow is not dead. Quod erat demonstrandum.
If you're still not convinced, here's a list of Thrones locations that shoot in Belfast.
The capital city is home to Titanic Studios, a large renovated shipyard where parts of the ill-fated ocean liner were built back in the early 1900s. Now, as described by Northern Ireland Screen, Titanic Studios contain Paint Hall, where Thrones set up shop in 2010 for Season 1, and where principal filming has remained ever since. The 8-acre lot contains 64,000 square feet of studio space with walls that are 90 feet high and three feet thick. This mammoth facility is home to almost all of Thrones' interiors sets, including everything inside King's Landing: the Red Keep, the throne room, and the Great Sept of Baelor. Did Jon somehow find his way south for Season 6? Not likely.
The Great Pyramid of Meereen
Where else could you build an opulent 800-foot pyramid than inside the shipyard where the grandest luxury liner in history was assembled? Any exterior scenes in Meereen are filmed on location in Croatia, the same country where the exterior King's Landing scenes are shot. In Season 3, Meereen's fellow slave cities of Astapor and Yunkai were represented by Morocco, as reported by the Daily Mail. Ireland, Croatia, and Morocco join Iceland, Spain, and Malta as the six exotic countries the Thrones team uses to stand in for Westeros and Essos, lending the show its epic scope and sumptuous visuals. So will Jon be pulling a Tyrion and joining Dany in Meereen sooner than anyone expected? Again, probably not.
Paint Hall is also where any scenes taking place inside the ancestral Stark home of Winterfell are filmed. These proved to be some of the bleakest scenes of all of Season 5, but Jon's presence might liven things up. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the resurrected bastard might head back to his home, especially since his brush with death might have technically relieved him of his vows to the Night's Watch. But Belfast is most famously known as the home of...
Unlike the other three main Belfast sets, scenes at Castle Black aren't filmed in a studio, but rather on location at Magheramorne Quarry, just a short drive away from Paint Hall on the outskirts of the capital. (This is also where Season 2's Battle of the Blackwater and Season 5's Battle of Hardhome were both staged.) This is actually good news for Jon Snow fans. One prevalent fan theory suggested that the young Lord Commander might be reanimated as a wight in the thrall of the White Walkers. But all the beyond-the-Wall scenes are filmed on location in snowy Iceland, so the fact that Harington is in Ireland means the Night's King won't be carting Jon off to the Lands of Always Winter anytime soon.
Regardless of the mechanics of exactly how Jon Snow will be coming back to us, one thing is certain: you can stop pretending, Kit. We all know you're a big fat liar. For more proof that he'll live to see another season, check out the video below.
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO (4)