Every week for the sixth season of Game of Thrones, Christopher Orr, Spencer Kornhaber, and Lenika Cruz will be discussing new episodes of the HBO drama. Because no screeners are being made available to critics in advance this year, we’ll be posting our thoughts in installments.
Lenika Cruz: Jon Snow’s back ... and now he’s gone. “My watch is ended” may have had the delivery and feel of a mic drop, but it was a oddly triumph-free way to punctuate Jon’s departure from The Wall. There was a mixture of defeat, sadness, and disillusionment in Jon’s face as he strode out of Castle Black, leaving the wildlings and his remaining sworn brothers in his wake. I couldn’t help but think back to Maester Aemon’s words to him: “Kill the boy, and let the man be born.” At the time, “kill the boy” just seemed like a poetic way of saying “make the difficult, but right choice.” But, in a more prophetic sense, is “the boy” in Jon Snow officially dead? Could the newly reborn Jon, released from his vows and that fluffy fur cape, finally be the “man”—the prince that was promised, the one Melisandre saw in the flames fighting at Winterfell?
We don’t know—all we know now is that he’s visibly and profoundly traumatized by what he’s been through. (“I did what I thought was right, and I got murdered for it, and now I’m back. Why?”) It doesn’t help that he’s glimpsed the other side, only to see “nothing at all.” No surprise, then, that Ser Davos’s sincere but lackluster pep talk failed to jolt him out of his existential horror. The most immediate consequence of his departure is his impending missed connection with Sansa, but I also wonder how the wildling-friendly Night’s Watch will do under the presumed leadership of Edd. Winter’s still coming, after all.