There is no Game of Thrones season five, only Game of Thrones season Jon Snow. The 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch was once one of the show’s most ineffectively gloomy characters, with a permanent scowl that rivaled my own whenever he was on-screen. Jon loosened up once Ygritte was introduced, but she was the boss in that doomed relationship. It wasn’t until season Jon when he became not only a great leader, but also the show’s MVP. Then, because Game of Thrones gonna Game of Thrones, he died.
It’s not a spoiler to say that Kit Harington will return in season six in some capacity. He’s been spotted on set, he didn’t cut his unruly hair (#JonSnowHairWatch), and Jon is too important of a character to have been murdered by some know-nothing members of the Night’s Watch and that rat bastard Olly. He’s even front and center in the teaser HBO released yesterday; hell, he’s the first character we see. But not the last. That would be Jon’s sort-of brother, Bran Stark, who could end up being the Jon Snow of season six.
Before we look ahead, let’s revisit the past. The last time we checked in with Bran, he was hanging out in a tree with the (recently re-cast) Three-Eyed Raven, who told him he’ll never walk again. But he will fly… to the Wall?
That’s one of the theories surrounding the teaser.
The shot of Jon dying in the snow looks a lot like the one of Bran with his eyes rolled back. It’s unlikely, but Bran could warg into Jon right before he’s murdered. It’s established that he can inhabit other humans, after having done so with Hodor, but less known is what happens when you become someone when they’re on the verge of death. I hope this happens, because if Bran adds “bringing the dead back to life” to his list of accomplishments (current list: Climbing sh*t and… that’s it), we could call him Raisin’ Bran.
That joke kills in Flea Bottom.
Another, more popular theory posits that Jon became his direwolf Ghost before meeting his maker, with his “spirit [living] on inside the beast,” according to the prologue of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons. The problem with that is, “Every day his memory fades, and the beast becomes a little less a warg, a little more a wolf, until nothing of the man is left and only the beast remains.” Kill the beast?
But back to Bran. Don’t overlook the montage of iconic scenes. As The Hollywood Reporter notes:
“We watch, we listen, and we remember,” he says. “The past is already written. The ink is dry.”
These are important words, as Bran’s final chapter in Dance sees him experiencing visions of the past, such as his late father Eddard Stark in the woods outside of Winterfell… Framing these famous moments in Thrones lore with words of wisdom from Bran’s teacher and Bran himself strongly suggests an emphasis on the past as the show carves its way into an unknown future. It aligns with reports that key moments in Westeros history, like the fabled Tower of Joy that may or may not hold the key to Jon Snow’s true lineage, might be represented in season six, perhaps through Bran’s time-tripping narrative. (Via The Hollywood Reporter)
It’s clear that no matter what happens to Jon, Bran is going to play a pivotal role, not only for that one character, but the entire future of the show. Unless it turns out that Jon’s death, and everything else that’s happened over the past five seasons, has been a figment of Bran’s imagination, as some have suggested. Winter is always coming in the St. Elsewhere snow globe.