There was a lot happening in "Beyond the Wall," so nobody could blame audiences if they missed one important detail from Game Of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6. As one Reddit thread made clear, Jon Snow's sword Longclaw seemed to open its eye when its master emerged from the water. So what does that mean exactly? Is it tricky camera work or something far more symbolic?
Update: On Tuesday, episode director Alan Taylor debunked the Longclaw eye theory during an interview with Insider. " I haven't got a clue what they're talking about," he said. "I can say that there was no intention for that to be the case."
Earlier: Given that it was such a brief, subtle moment, it's possible that Jon's sword opening its eye was just a coincidence. After all, surely the team behind the show would have made a bigger deal of it if it were significant. That's what Reddit user @heppyatheist claims, arguing, "The eyes are just a peice [sic] of crystal, you can see when his glove is particularly behind it only half the eye turns dark, the fills out when his hand is directly behind the handle." But other theories maintain that this moment was far more resonant than you'd think.
Uproxx has pointed out that the weaknesses of "Beyond the Wall" include the way it doesn't seem to adhere to logic, expressing frustration at the moment the King in the North has to fight wights (who presumably don't need to breathe and so aren't at a disadvantage minus oxygen) underwater and how he somehow miraculously survives this with no explanation. But perhaps Longclaw solves this one issue.
Given that Longclaw opens its eye just as the person who wields it emerges from the water, could this be a subtle signal to audiences that the sword had some sort of magic power to revive him or strengthen him during his underwater battle? But whether or not you find that probable (though given that we've got Wights, White Walkers, dragons and now an ice dragon, it wouldn't exactly be the most unlikely thing that's ever happened on Thrones), it's still possible that the sword has consciousness even if it didn't rescue Jon.
Reddit offered yet another a solution for how the sword might have gained sentience, with users like @zxc123zxc123 suggesting that if, Bran had warged into being the sword, this might also explain why Uncle Benjen managed to be there at the perfect possible time,
"...when to jump into the fray to bail out Jon, but not any other time before that time say jumping in earlier or not going after the Night's King during all that chaos with those dragons."
But perhaps we're all overthinking this. While it's probably not an "alive/dead detector," maybe it was just a visual metaphor. We thought Jon Snow could be dead, the sword lies seemingly lifeless, eyes closed. The warrior springs from the water and it opens its eye. Maybe it's just a tiny Thrones "gotcha" moment, as if the show is laughing at us for even believing for a few key seconds that the King in the North could really have died. And maybe that would be the neatest theory of all.