Warning: This story contains major spoilers for Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” finale.
In one of the most shocking TV moments in recent memory, “Game of Thrones” killed off one of its biggest stars on Sunday night. Jon Snow, or the bastard of Winterfell, was struck down by men of the Night’s Watch in a harrowing conclusion to the HBO drama’s fifth season.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, actor Kit Harington talked about his popular character, how fans of the show will react to Sunday’s gut-wrenching finale and whether or not the Lord Commander is actually dead.
“I kind of knew it was coming,” Harington said of the finale. “I didn’t read (George R.R. Martin’s novel) ‘A Dance with Dragons.’ But I read the other books and I had heard this is what happens.”
He added: “I will be really interested to see the audience reaction. I hope it’s not, ‘F–k yes, thank f–k he’s dead.'”
Harington said it was the show’s creators, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who broke the news to him last year before production on the fifth season began.
“We did the Tony Soprano walk (tell an actor they’re going to die). And they said, ‘Look, you’re gone, it’s done.’
But what Harington didn’t realize is that Jon Snow’s death would be the final shot of the season.
“That made it extra special,” the actor said of the bloody mutiny, in which a band of Night’s Watch brothers stab Jon to death for being a “traitor” after joining forces with the enemy outfit the wildlings.
“I dunno, I loved it,” he said. “I loved how they brought Olly in to be the person who kills me. I love how the storyline with Thorne was wrapped up. I think it was really well crafted by (Benioff and Weiss). It felt like the right way for it to happen.”
He added, “We have to go by what ‘Thrones’ does. And ‘Thrones’ treats drama as real life. And people die and don’t accomplish what we think they’re meant to in real life. And I think that’s one of the powerful things about ‘Thrones’.“
As for whether or not his character his really dead or if there’s a chance his wounds were not fatal and he returns, Harington said: “I’ve been told I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m not coming back next season. So that’s all I can tell you, really.”
The drama’s showrunners also insisted that he was gone: “Dead is dead,” Weiss told EW.
“We would hope that after seeing the scene and the way it’s shot that the answer to that will be unambiguous in the minds of the people watching it,” he explained. “It should be pretty clear what happens in by the time you’re done seeing that scene. It’s not an, ‘Oh what just happened scene?’”
The episode’s director, David Nutter, confirmed Jon Snow’s demise in similarly unflinching terms, telling Variety, “I can say emphatically that Jon Snow is definitely dead.”
But George R. R. Martin, author of the popular books that inspired the Emmy-winning series, has sprinkled some skepticism as to whether Snow’s fate is actually sealed on “Game of Thrones.”
“My readers should know better than to take anything as gospel,” he said in a 2011 interview. He added fuel to the fire in another interview this past year: “If there’s one thing we know in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ is that death is not necessarily permanent,” he said, referring to the multiple resurrections of seemingly dead characters seen in the novels to date. Martin is currently writing the next book in the series, “The Winds of Winter.”
As for Harington, he’s already begun to turn the page: “I’m looking for movies for next year,” he said. “I’m in a very lucky place—I can turn things down and do what I want to do. There’s a couple movies I’m looking at, but I can’t really talk about them yet. I might take a holiday. I might try writing. I’m trying to figure it out.”
What should fans expect in the last few seasons of ‘Thrones’?
“I don’t know how they’re going to finish (it), but I think I’ve gone out on a great season,” Harington said. “I think they’ll have to end it with most epic f–k-all battle TV has ever seen.”