12:15pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones' Podcast: How the Show Moved Away From a Big Jon Snow Secret
[This story contains full spoilers through seven seasons of HBO's Game of Thrones.]
By now, everybody knows the big secret about Jon Snow (Kit Harington), former lord commander of the Night's Watch, current king in the North and potentially the future king of Westeros.
It was heavily suggested in the season six finale of Game of Thrones, and all the way confirmed in the seventh-season finale: Jon is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, making him the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Throughout his novels, George R.R. Martin littered several clues about Jon's true heritage, though it remains unconfirmed as the sixth installment in the series, The Winds of Winter, has yet to be published.
Here's one more secret about Jon from the books on which Game of Thrones is based that the TV series only briefly engaged: Jon doesn't just have the blood of the dragon coursing through his veins — he also has the potential to embody a dragon himself.
In the prologue of A Dance With Dragons, the fifth and most recently published (2011) book in Martin's series, a wildling by the name of Varamyr Sixskins comments on how Jon is one of the most powerful wargs he's ever encountered — and he should know, Varamyr is a warg himself. For those who have trouble keeping track of the show's lingo, "warging" refers to the ability to project one's consciousness into another living being. Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) uses this gift regularly, whether it was warging into Summer and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) back when they were alive, or his current method of inhabiting a flock of ravens. Many fans believe Bran will warg into a dragon by the end of the series; what better way to regain control over the zombified Viserion?
For his part, Jon's warging abilities, mentioned in the books, have yet to fully manifest. Martin's version of the narrative has yet to reveal how Jon survives his apparent murder at the hands of the Night's Watch mutineers, but there's reason to believe it will involve him warging into Ghost prior to his body's full collapse.
It would seem that season three briefly set up this possibility for Jon. In "Dark Wings, Dark Words," the second episode of the season, Jon meets a wildling named Orell (Mackenzie Crook), with the ability to warg. The magical art is explained to Jon in vivid detail, as though to set up the character's own potential use of the power later on down the road. Elsewhere in the episode, Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) makes his first appearance, and also talks through the differences between warging and greensight for Bran's educational purposes. But how much was this information on the screen for Bran and viewers alike to learn the ins and outs of Northern magic, versus how much it was laid in to pave the way for Jon's warging abilities to resurface in the show's future?
With only six episodes remaining, and no further sign of Jon's potential as a warg along the way, it feels clear that the show has abandoned whatever plans Martin may have for this storyline in the future of his books, assuming he has such a storyline in mind at all. Nonetheless, this week's "Winter Was Here" podcast from Post Show Recaps' Rob Cesternino and Josh Wigler speculates on the possibility all the same. Also discussed in the episode:
• The role Sansa (Sophie Turner) plays in setting up the Purple Wedding;
• The continuing setup of the Red Wedding;
• How the show and the books diverged in depicting the torture of Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen);
• Tracking the start of one of the best pairs in Game of Thrones lore: Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann);
• And more!
Listen to the podcast in the player below: