This post includes discussion of content from Sunday night’s Game of Thrones episode “Oathbreaker.” Spoilers below.
Jon Snow made some key decisions in Sunday’s Game of Thrones.
First, he executed the Night’s Watch mutineers — including teenage Olly.
Then he declared his intention to leave the Night’s Watch (“Now my watch has ended”).
For star Kit Harington, the two decisions were firmly linked together, and also inspired by seeing “nothing” while he was dead.
“He’s done with it,” Harington says of Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch. “He’s seen the other side, seen what’s there, and comes back and realizes he needs to lead his life and get out of there. This place betrayed him, and everything he stood for has changed. Plus, he had to kill a child, Olly, and that’s what really does it. He kills an underage kid and he can’t see the point in being up there anymore. At the heart of it, he knows by staying at the Wall he can’t help the kingdoms and he’s probably going to die very quickly if he stays.”
As we saw in Game of Thrones‘ very first episode, quitting the Night’s Watch is an executable offense. But the Night’s Watch creed specifically reads, “Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death…” Since Jon Snow has now died, he would no longer technically be an “oathbreaker” to give up the Black.
Previously, Harington told EW that his chat this week with Melisandre and Ser Davos about his afterlife experience — or lack thereof — was the most important part of the season for his character.
“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 said. “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.”
More coverage: Here’s our touching exit interview with Thorne actor Owen Teale, where he reveals his favorite Thorne scene. Check out our recap of “Oathbreaker,” where we eulogize Ser Alliser Thorne and more. And be sure to read our full Kit Harington cover story going behind the scenes of Jon Snow’s revival. Also, subscribe to our Game of Thrones podcast, and listen to the newest episode below.