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Game of Thrones: How death changes Jon Snow

Exclusive: Kit Harington on how being resurrected impacts his character

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HBO

Jon Snow is back. But the Lord Commander won’t be the same.

In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, we got behind the scenes of Game of Thrones season 6 with star Kit Harington. Among our questions: How does death change Jon Snow?

While we’re not going to reveal any plot details from Snow’s very dramatic arc this season, Harington did recount a conversation his character has with Melisandre in an upcoming episode (likely from Sunday’s third hour, “Oathbreaker”) that gives some intriguing insight about post-resurrection Jon Snow and suggests what he’ll be like moving forward.

Warning: If you wish to be like Jon Snow and know nothing about his character’s transformation, stop reading now.

“At first, I was worried that he’ll wake up and he’s the same, back to normal — then there’s no point in that death,” Harington says. “He needs to change. There’s a brilliant line when Melisandre asks: ‘What did you see?’ And he says: ‘Nothing, there was nothing at all.’ That cuts right to our deepest fear, that there’s nothing after death. And that’s the most important line in the whole season for me. Jon’s never been afraid of death, and that’s made him a strong and honorable person. He realizes something about his life now: He has to live it, because that’s all there is. He’s been over the line and there’s nothing there. And that changes him. It literally puts the fear of god into him. He’s seen oblivion and that’s got to change somebody in the most fundamental way there is. He doesn’t want to die ever again. But if he does, he doesn’t want to be brought back.”

There’s quite a bit to unpack from that revelation. First, it dismisses fan theories that Jon’s consciousness was hanging out in his direwolf Ghost while his body was dead. Second, it suggests Snow is going to be rather haunted by his experience moving forward. And third, it sounds like Snow might rule out being brought back again — which is important, since Melisandre’s power to resurrect him could have otherwise undermined the dramatic stakes for his character (it’s hard to worry about a character being in danger if they can simply get brought back to life). Put another way, Jon Snow is going to be very different than the resurrection-addicted Beric Dondarrion.

For more — much more — check out EW’s current cover story where we chronicle the incredible two-year story of how the actor and the Thrones team killed off Jon Snow, then secretly brought him back to life for the Lord Commander’s greatest season yet. The full story is now online, read it here.