Few final scenes of any given television show have proven to be so pivotal to the show's development as the final scene of the second episode of Season 6 on Game of Thrones was. Obviously, spoilers ahead. In those final moments of the episode, ravenous viewers watched with shredded nerves as the tension built, Ghost the direwolf stirred and then... Jon Snow opened his eyes. Cut to the end credits and the internet exploding with reactions.
It seems like Jon Snow's death and subsequent resurrection have been the biggest talking points in the Game of Thrones universe over the last year. A niche industry had been created, with constant speculation on the precise amount of involvement Kit Harington had following Jon Snow's Season 5 death. A steady stream of close coverage on Harington's set visits, coupled with a steady barrage of questions for Harington and fans mourning the loss of a favorite character have all contributed to the shock left in the wake of this major reveal.
Jon Snow's return to Game of Thrones signals the possibility of many different outcomes for the show, but the one major result from his return is what it means for the Game of Thrones fandom. Jon Snow's resurrection means there is a reason for fans to have hope. His shuddering jolt back onto the mortal coil was a breath of fresh air and an occasion to rejoice. This resurrection means that there is no longer a reason to feel hopeless when it comes to caring about a Game of Thrones character. The act of sympathy that was once an luxury is now being rewarded. The Jon Snow fandom is large and looming. He is the Tiger Beat heartthrob that makes this show worthwhile. Having him back is a thrilling turn of events when it comes to being a Game of Thrones fan. In spite of the various fan theories that require Jon Snow to stay above the ground, the simple act of resurrection is a seriously positive occurrence. How could we, the fans, have been so lucky?
Historically, it's been tough to be a fan of this epic fantasy show. There have been more deaths, rapes, murders and forced separations than are worth counting. This has led to a certain amount of nihilism becoming infused into the fandom. Don't get me wrong: it's still fun to cheer on your favorite characters and get lost inside the magical realism of it all. After a certain point, the fun begins to fade. How long could you be expected to keep watching when it seems every character you love is going through a very hard time? While the characters of Game of Thrones are nuanced in their moral goodness or badness, Jon Snow always held prime real estate in the soft spots of our heart. We may have had to make strong cases for why we liked or disliked certain people, but Jon Snow was always a noble and beloved fellow.
So, his return to the world of the living (fingers crossed he is indeed human), it feels good to be emotionally rewarded for all the suffering Jon Snow's absence has caused. There are so many more hurdles to overcome in Season 6. The major plots have yet to be unfurled. Big showdowns are still percolating. But in a world where "dead means dead," Jon Snow is a ray of sunshine. For a show often devoid of silver linings, I think it's best we hang on to this one as long as possible.
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