Jon Snow Lives?

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

For months since the fifth season finale of Game of Thrones closed on an image of Jon Snow bleeding out, fans have tweeted out a defiant hashtag: #JonSnowLives. Kit Harrington, who plays Snow, gave interviews insisting Jon had died in the finale, betrayed by his Night’s Watch brethren, and since that stabbing is also the final chapter of George R.R. Martin’s most recent Thrones novel A Dance with Dragons, there was no way to conclusively refute him.

Until now.


HBO just released its teaser poster for the sixth season, which premieres in April. While it doesn’t confirm anything, it feels like an epic bit of fan-trolling from the network, focusing on Jon’s bloody, brooding face. After months of secretive filming in Belfast, and efforts by fans to find out if Harrington was still involved with the show, the poster indicates that Snow’s going to be an ongoing part of the Thrones story, as most fans have believed for a long time. There are too many mysteries yet to be resolved—like his unknown parentage, and his bizarre face-off with the king of the White Walkers—for the show to permanently get rid of Jon, meaning Harrington’s interview was either a cute misdirect or a shameful untruth that confused his fans, depending on your perspective.

This automatically serves as a bit of a spoiler for Martin’s upcoming sixth book as well. That’s unfortunately unavoidable, since his last novel came out in 2011, the year that Game of Thrones premiered on HBO, and fans have been waiting so long for the next one that the show has finally caught up with it. Outside of Jon’s fate, season six should do a lot of spoiling for Martin’s upcoming works, something devoted readers will have to grapple with. It’s one thing to not watch the show—but it’s hard to avoid a noticing a billboard.