I came across a very interesting reddit thread discussing Melisandre’s role in the upcoming Season 6. The actress Carice Van Houten has called Season 6 a pivotal point in Melisandre’s character according to this one article. What could Carice be referring to in this situation? Is it a possible Jon Snow resurrection?
Because Melisandre is tied to the Lord of Light and that we’ve seen a previous character resurrected by another follower of R’hllor, most knowing fans speculate that she has the power to resurrect Jon Snow. The most logical theory in combining evidence/hints from the books and the show is that Jon Snow prior to being gutted worged into his dire wolf Ghost to save his life. In A Dance with Dragons, the introduction has another character with worg abilities transfer himself into an animal before his physical body perishes. Most of the Starks have been shown to exhibit some level of worging ability and it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to see Jon Snow with this ability either.
At the end of Season 5 Episode 10, there is an extremely subtle hint that Jon Snow worgs into Ghost where we briefly get a glimpse of his eyes changing to a blueish tint and the blood flow briefly turning into what looks to be an image of a wolf. Because the image appears so quickly, it’s more subliminal than something anyone can certainly say. But the showrunners have done an excellent job consistently dropping hints/foreshadowing for events in the future. So this brief glimpse is just another tiny indication that Jon Snow isn’t exactly dead, at least in spirit.
Still, there’s a lot of ground to cover in terms of dealing with the chaos that erupted from Jon Snow’s demise. First, we have to deal with the “rebellion” at Castle Black and the tenuous situation with the Wildlings. Next, we have to account for Davos Seaworth, who, despite not really having a true alliance in this situation, probably would’ve sided with Jon Snow considering that Jon has helped Stannis to a degree and vice versa. Also, we have to see how Melisandre’s character evolves here. Carice mentions that Melisandre has changed where her faith for once has not been validated. Lastly, we have to consider what will happen with Jon Snow’s physical form. Does Melisandre require the original body to enact a “resurrection?”
The way I see things go down is that immediately after killing Jon Snow, the Night’s Watch traitorous members might want to burn his body to prevent him becoming a White Walker zombie. Davos or other Jon Snow supporters might attempt to intervene and here’s where Davos might learn the truth of what happened, thus calling into him directly questioning the traitors. I’m certain Alliser Thorne will take issues with Davos since he shares some of Jon Snow’s good personality. However, Alliser Thorne, being one of the most senior people at Castle Black, probably will take control and become the new Watch Commander and order Davos banished.
Seeing that the situation has become utterly tragic, Davos might attempt to go to Melisandre and request help from her as she’s one of the few that might be able to do something about the situation. Melisandre now finds that everything she has done might’ve been futile and she resigns herself from her faith because she sees that her actions have been corrupt, including slaying an innocent child, killing a possible faithful friend (the Queen) and putting Stannis to a task leading to his death, all of which will result in the doom of the world once the White Walkers conquer Westeros.
Pretty much it’s a classic story arc of fucking up and finding some sort of redemption. Potentially, Melisandre’s journey in Season 6 will be one of piecing together Jon Snow’s past. Perhaps, with the aid of Sansa Stark, Theon/Reek and Davos, Melisandre will begin to understand the prophecies and her visions. She already had an unusual connection to Jon Snow where she detects there’s something deeper to him.
One thing you have to remember in fantasy is that a lot of writers do borrow from Dungeons and Dragons. David Benioff and DB Weiss refer to AD&D a lot and Game of Thrones is essentially one of the better fantasy pieces to utilizes a large number of AD&D concepts. One thing we have to think about is how the world is like having a large number of AD&D PCs (player characters) who are growing up in a bildungsroman type of character arc, especially when earlier drafts of proposals describe the end game survivors as the children of large families (i.e. Arya, Jon Snow, Bran Stark, Dany and Tyrion). It’s essentially the leveling up process.
With Melisandre, something to think about in the AD&D context is understanding what her corresponding AD&D level would be. The other character introduced in earlier episodes was a cleric type (Thoros of Myr) that had the ability to resurrect. It seemed as though at that point in time Melisandre did not have the same level of power as him. So perhaps she was level 5-7 or so. This season might be her way of leveling up to 9 where she gains the ability to Raise Dead. Or maybe she might be even higher level at 18 if Jon Snow’s body is left alone for too long. Either way, this character arc is just a way to show the leveling up process beyond killing monsters and finding treasure to gain experience points as per old school AD&D.
Also, we need to understand that the resurrection process described in the show is definitely taken from the AD&D version. Beric Dondarrion and Melisandre have a dialog exchange in Season 3 where Beric explains the effects of resurrection. The essence is that each time he gets resurrected, he “loses a bit of himself.” In AD&D terms, resurrection causes one to age 10 years (or 1 from a Raise Dead spell) and lose -1 to their constitution. If they fail a system shock roll, then they get obliterated. In Beric’s case, you can see that his body has been beaten up which indicates that his constitution is being slowly drained away. He also appears older than when we first received a glimpse of him in Season 1 after Ned Stark assigns him to take out The Mountain.
Now, going back to the idea of resurrecting Jon Snow, if we use what we know from Beric and AD&D, the implication is that Jon Snow will at the very least lose 1 point of constitution and age 1-10 years in the process. It might partly be like Frodo where the stab wounds from his Brothers never truly heal. But that aging of 1-10 years from the books perspective ought to put him at around age 24-27. So when he rises, he becomes a “man” just like Maester Aemon had foretold.
Those are just the physical changes. Beric never goes into detail about the psychological changes from a resurrection, which is something that the show might undertake. In Jon’s situation, if he worgs into Ghost, we don’t know what will mentally happen to him. Does he lose some sanity? Does he become more wolf-like in the process? Also, does dying mean Jon Snow goes into some spiritual realm?
Another thing to think about is how the Old Gods play a role in this situation. No one knows for certain if any gods truly exist in this realm outside of people blindly accepting certain faiths. But Jon Snow and the Starks follow the Old Gods (which will be ironic considering that Melisandre’s faith is a newer one). Because of their faith and the potential for the Old Gods to be the true gods, one must wonder if the dead Starks are able to reunite in the afterlife or if their spirits wander endlessly.
Perhaps, there’s a small moment where Jon Snow in between being resurrected is able to connect with his dead family. In the novel, we see Bran, as he’s being trained by the Three Eyed Raven, connect to his father via the Godswood in Winterfell. I have a feeling that Bran might use that power and attempt to connect Jon Snow back to his family’s spirits so that Ned Stark and Jon are able to have that promised talk about Jon Snow’s heritage.
Either way, Jon Snow will change via the resurrection. I think that there’s some hidden notes that will legitimize him via Robb Stark and perhaps Stannis as well (since Stannis did promise him in Season 5). His body will change too where he appears older and thereby being able to receive more respect. This will be important not only for Castle Black but the whole of the North where Sansa and Jon will attempt to rally the North to quell the Bolton rebellion. But I also think something psychologically will change within him. Perhaps, in speaking with Ned Stark, he will finally stop knowing nothing and discard honor as a fallacy in learning how to rule properly. Perhaps, Jon Snow will become darker and more blood thirsty due to his treatment after the betrayal. I feel that George RR Martin will retain some flaw in him to keep him interesting rather than making him out to be a pure badass with too much of a tweener/popular character archetype like Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock.