With 41 seconds, the Game of Thrones showrunners just sent fans everywhere into fits. A new Game of Thrones Season 6 teaser dropped Thursday on the show's Facebook page, depicting what looks like a very alive Jon Snow. He stands against a gloomy backdrop, those famous tresses waving gently, as epic-sounding music swells in the background. The masts of a couple ships peer above the bottom of the screen — perhaps a return to the Wildlings' Hardhome? He's totally expressionless, and the measured, gravelly voice of Max Von Sydow narrates the scene: "We watch, we listen, and we remember. The past is already written. The ink is dry."
Suddenly, the scene cuts to the infamous murder of Jon at the hands of his supposedly loyal Night's Watch. In rapid succession, it flashes by some of the most wrenching deaths — or near-deaths, because they're not all confirmed dead — in the series thus far: Ned Stark, Rob Stark, Arya Stark, Jojen Reed. Then there's Jaime Lannister losing his hand and the White Walker raising an army of the dead, then a kiss between Sansa and Littlefinger. And then back to Jon again, blood pooling around his head. (Can anyone lose that much blood and survive? Game of Thrones Season 5 turned me into an amateur forensic scientist, trying to figure out whether he can be saved in time.)
"They have no idea what's going to happen," Bran Stark narrates. (A shot of his face, eyes rolled back into his head, briefly graces the screen.)
So what does it all mean? Is this a confirmation that Jon is dead, or an allusion to his survival? Or neither? Have the Game of Thrones creators found another way to confound audience expectations yet again? One thing seems certain. Bran Stark, having spent the entirety of Season 5 in absentia, will make a glorious return to the screen.
Here's what it looks like: Von Sydow says, "The past is already written," as a stunned-looking Jon looks out past the screen. It seems to indicate that, despite his presence in the clip, what's done is done. There may not be any reason to hope for his return. Yet it seems unlikely that the Game of Thrones team would expend time and resources getting Kit Harington on camera if he weren't going to play a role in the upcoming season. What it really looks like is David Benioff and co. toying with our emotions, knowing we'll continue to lap it up. Harington has claimed time and time again that his character is really dead. Dead he might be, but does that mean he's really not returning to the show?