WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE SONG OF ICE AND FIRE BOOKS AHEAD
In a recent post, we featured a video that compiled together some Game of Thrones scenes that hinted at Jon Snow’s true parentage. Now, the same person who made that video has made a new one that splices together scenes about the return of magic to the world following the birth of Dany’s dragons, and hints at how it could play into Jon’s fate.
The video begins with Maester Luwin’s speech to Bran in Season 1. “Maybe magic once was a mighty force in the world but not anymore. The dragons are gone. The giants are dead. The children of the forest are gone.” In later seasons we discover that the giants and the children of the forest are alive and well. But the birth of Dany’s dragons seems to be the main catalyst for powerful magic bursting back onto the scene. So how does the return of magic play into Jon’s possible resurrection?
Since the dragons hatched, we know of at least two people resurrected with the help of magic and the Lord of Light: Beric Dondarrion and (in the books) Catelyn Stark. On the show, Melisandre learned about the possibility of resurrection courtesy of Thoros of Myr, who’s brought Beric back six times. It’s also important to note that when Beric was resurrected the first time, Thoros’ faith was at an all time low. When Melisandre returned to the Wall at the end of Season 5, the look on her face spelled disillusion. Even though her faith is at a low point by the end of Season 5, in A Dance with Dragons she realizes that her magic is more powerful at the Wall. Between the dragons, the Wall, Melisandre, and Jon’s probable parents, his rebirth is likely to provide a fair amount of fireworks.
There’s another point of speculation regarding Jon’s resurrection that I’m curious about. Will the adage hold true that only death may pay for life? But whose death? Ser Alliser Thorne? Olly? Melisandre? She seems an unlikely candidate since she claims to have seen herself at Winterfell while the Bolton banners fall. Shireen Baratheon’s fate has already been sealed on the show, but in The Winds of Winter will her death pay for Jon’s life?
On the Inside the Episode feature following Shireen’s death in “The Dance of Dragons,” show runner David Benioff said, “When George first told us about this, it was one of those moments where I looked at Dan and was just like it’s so horrible but so good in a story sense.” So why kill her off earlier than in the books?
We know that the show has made many adjustments to streamline certain plotlines. They’ve also tweaked several scenes from the books that may not play as well to a TV audience. For example, in the show, Sansa never told Cersei about Ned’s plans to leave Kings Landing, Jaime and Tyrion’s last words to each other following Tywin’s death were warm and fuzzy, and Dany didn’t tame Drogon with a whip in Daznak’s Pit.
While Stannis allowing his daughter to be sacrificed was pretty gut-wrenching, he’ll never be a hero of the story. Jon Snow is. In the books, if Shireen’s death allows Jon to live, would his resurrection somehow be sullied for the audience? I’d say possibly. Is it a bittersweet, George R. R. Martin-esque twist? Definitely.
Maybe Olly was created for the show to not only serve as Ygritte and Jon’s executioner, but also to be sacrificed in Shireen’s place at Jon’s resurrection? Given Olly’s track record I’d doubt anyone would miss him. Alternatively, it’s possible that Shireen’s fate in the books is completely unrelated to Jon and it made sense to wrap her story at the end of Season 5. Either way, it’s always fun to speculate.