What started out as a normal Monday morning became extraordinary after HBO released its first promotional image for April's Game Of Thrones Season 6 premiere, which basically amounted to being a huge banner screaming out to the world that yes, Jon Snow is (probably) alive. The promo, which is a close-up shot of Snow's blood-streaked face, seems to suggest that even if Snow isn't technically alive, he is, at the very least, resurrected.
Now that the initial excitement has faded, though, fans are left to ponder one glaring question: Just how exactly did Snow manage to survive the scores of stab wounds inflicted on his (exquisite) body by his traitorous, mutinous Night's Watch buddies. Luckily, there won't be lack of fodder for discussion, because Game Of Thrones fans have been theorizing about Snow's possible alive-ness ever since the Season 5 finale wrapped in June. And after today's leaked image... well, those theories are sure to keep on coming.
Here are some of the top (possible) explanations for Snow's apparent rebirth:
1. R+L Equals J, So The Entire Series' Plot Depends On Snow
This one is less about the mechanics of how Snow lives, and more about why he lives. If you're a Game Of Thrones fan who doesn't immediately know what this means, stop what you're doing and immediately read this primer on the R + J theory. In short, it's widely believed that Jon Snow is not, in fact, the bastard offspring of Ned Stark and some conveniently unnamed woman who Stark slept with while he was off fighting in Robert's Rebellion. Rather, Snow is theorized to be the progeny of Ned Stark's sister, Lyanna Stark, and Rhaegar Targaryen, the son of the Mad King.
I'll let that sink in for a moment, because it sure explains a lot, doesn't it? I mean, it would certainly explain why Ned was always so vague about his alleged affair. Given his loyal personality and his great marriage with Catelyn, it never seemed to make sense. And if this theory turns out to be true, it might prove to be the inspiration behind 'A Song of Ice and Fire,' which is the umbrella name for all of the books in the entire Game Of Thrones series. In this case, Jon would represent the union of ice (House Stark) and fire (House Targaryen). Which would, in turn, mean that he's pivotal, central, and totally consequential to the ongoing Game of Thrones plot.
2. Jon Is Part Targaryen And Therefore Does Not Burn
On a related note, if R + L does, indeed, equal J, then it stands to reason that Jon might have some of the same powers enjoyed by his aunt, Daenerys Targaryen. This might, theoretically, include the ability to be reborn by fire and/or to withstand fire. So if the Night's Watch burn Jon before he dies in an effort to prevent him from becoming a White Walker, he would perhaps not burn. Or if they burn his body after he dies, he could be reborn in the fire. It's true that not all Targaryens can be reborn by fire, but if Jon is special like Dani, maybe he has the same ability.
(If you're scratching your head at Dani being his aunt, check out this very helpful video:)
3. Jon Snow Is Part Stark, And Therefore Can Warg Himself Alive
First things first: Warg is definitely a noun, and it's probably-definitely a verb, too. Secondly, a Warg is a person who can move into the body of an animal or human and control their actions. Since Jon is the brother (or, possibly, the cousin) of Warg-happy Bran Stark, it seems possible that Jon can hop into the skin of a nearby animal if the mood so strikes. Indeed, it's even possible that all Starks have unrealized Warg potential.
If that's the case, some have theorized that Jon, more specifically, will Warg himself into Ghost, his beloved Direwolf. Still, this doesn't seem particularly likely, in part because Warging, just like, errr... some other things... takes practice, and in part because this amazing screenshot of Snow right after he was stabbed alludes that his powers will lean in a more Targaryen direction. Looks rather like a dragon's wing, no?
4. Only Jon Can Defeat The White Walkers
Throughout the Game of Thrones book and television series, there have been repeated references to some vague, Messiah-esque character who is alternatively referred to as The Prince That Was Promised, Azor Ahai, or the Stallion Who Mounts the World (eww.). It's likely that these all represent the same Game Of Thrones Messiah figure, and Snow just might be The One. (Or, maybe it's Daenerys. Or Both. Or the two of them along with some third person who all fly their dragons together. We can only hope that time will tell.)
According to Westeros legend, many thousands of years ago, a great hero figure ended the Long Night and defeated the White Walkers. The connections are all somewhat vague, but this person is probably the same person as all of these aforementioned Messiah characters, and it's possible that Snow is the reincarnation or follow-up to this other guy. It would certainly explain why the Night's King kept giving Jon this totally meaning-laden stare, which seems to say, verbatim, 'I'll get you next time, Snow.'
5. Melisandre Will Resurrect Jon Snow
Will Melisandre bring Jon Snow back from the dead? This seems to be the most popular theory. We all know that Melisandre, a.k.a. The Red Woman, is totally capable of dabbling in a bit of necromancy, even if she hasn't pulled it off yet. Case in point: Melisandre met Thoros of Myr in Season 3, the very same priest who resurrected Beric Dondarrion not once, but six times. It therefore seems that followers of the Lord of Light are capable of resurrection, so why not Melisandre, one of the most powerful priestesses around?
Plus, Melisandre had a very conspicuous, very, errr... in-your-face fascination with Jon Snow back in Season 5. It's almost as if the series creators were trying to send us a message that these two will be linked.
Whatever the specifics will be, the important thing is that Jon Snow lives. For many of us, that's reason enough to watch Game of Thrones.
Images: grottoofregets, fyjonsnow, iheartgot, groteleur, mygoddesskaty, grancontessa/tumblr