Jon Snow (Kit Harington) knows something about nothing.
It’s not “nothing” in the Ygritte (Rose Leslie) sense of the word, either. Instead, it’s the darkest form of nothing, the great oblivion waiting in the world beyond the mortal realm — the world Jon just returned from, having died in the season five finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones, only to be reborn courtesy of the Red Priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten).
In the five years since Jon’s death in A Dance With Dragons, the fifth and latest book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series on which Thrones is based, readers have lived with the idea that Jon Snow might be gone for good — but, more likely, would return through supernatural means. Popular consensus centered on Melisandre using the fire magic of R’hllor to restore Jon’s life. Other theories leaned on the possibility Jon warged into his direwolf Ghost shortly before death; several passages in the novel backed this idea. HBO’s adaptation rarely if ever mentioned Jon’s warging abilities, but Ghost’s attentive gaze at his master in the seconds before his rebirth gave the theory new life.
“I cannot answer this question,” director Jeremy Podeswa told The Hollywood Reporter when asked about Ghost’s potential role in Jon’s resurrection. “I would say if you keep watching, all will be revealed.”
However, new information directly from Harington himself seems to dispel the idea of Ghost’s involvement. In an interview with EW, the once and future Jon Snow reveals what exactly his character experienced during death — namely, nothing.
“There’s a brilliant line when Melisandre asks: ‘What did you see?’ And he says: ‘Nothing, there was nothing at all,'” Harington tells EW, referring to an exchange with the red woman in a future episode. “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 doesn’t want to die ever again. But if he does, he doesn’t want to be brought back.”
The idea that Jon experienced emptiness during his time away from the world of the living suggests a couple of things. For one, it seemingly removes the idea that his consciousness was inhabiting Ghost — still an entirely possible outcome in Martin’s next book, and potentially even likely, given the major deviations between the show and the novels.
The other suggestion is a bit more profound. Ygritte always made her opinion about the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch quite clear: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Now, the reborn hero truly knows the meaning of nothing, having stared it right in the eye.
As for what specifically comes next, the possibilities are endless, but Harington makes it clear that season six is Snow’s “biggest season” yet: “There’s one episode this season, which is Jon’s story, that’s the most epic episode we’ve done.” With only eight episodes remaining in the year, it’s only a matter of time before Snow’s sprawling story reveals itself.
Follow THR‘s Game of Thrones coverage for further news, analysis and interviews.