If you have a friend who loves Game of Thrones, you’ve bound to heard the name Jon Snow once or twice (or a hundred times, repeated over and over again while sobbing in a corner). After the beloved Stark was killed off last May in the most brutal fashion–stabbed five times in the stomach by his most trusted friends and allies–Game of Thrones viewers have been in mourning, but they’re still not sure that they should be. For Game of Thrones fans all around the globe, it’s the topic of the year; is Jon Snow, one of the main characters of the series, alive or dead? Because of the magnitude of the character’s murder, the question has also become one of the most weighted topics among cast, crew, and creators as well.
“People are spending a lot of time looking at his eyes, thinking he’s not dead,” says David Benioff, one of the show’s creators.
One thing people have paid the most attention to is the state of Jon Snow’s eyes, Variety reports. As the slain Lord Commander lays bleeding out in the snow for the last shot in season five’s finale, the camera spends a considerable amount of time zooming in on Snow’s eyes, and fans are questioning whether the dilation of the pupils is proof that Snow isn’t completely dead.
“We’ve spent a lot of time–” Benioff says, before Dan Weiss, the other show-runner, cuts him off.
“We’ve spent a lot of money,” says Weiss, “on his eyes.”
Since the betrayal murder and leading up to the premiere of season six, the show-runners have been using the face of the (possibly) dead Jon Snow in posters and trailers to tease the upcoming episodes, though before fans breathe a sigh of relief to see their favorite pictured in the advertising–which would normally suggest an appearance or a few in the next season–wait.
After all, the most prominent trailer that Snow is featured in is the one released in February that depicts the Black and White House’s wall of faces. Yes, the wall includes Jon Snow’s, but it also included Tyrion’s, Arya’s, Sansa’s, and others who are still very much alive. The wall also included the first prominent death of the series’s face, that of Ned Stark’s.
“I think the shock of Ned Stark dying was a new phenomenon,” says Weiss. “No one saw that coming. This was a slightly different thing where everybody got the sense that anybody could die at any time.”
And so far, Game of Thrones has slain some of its most popular and its seemingly most important. Down for the count so far are Robert Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, Joffrey Baratheon, Catelyn Stark, Robb Stark, and that’s just to name a few. So, according to the show-runners, it’s completely on theme to keep the beloved Jon Snow dead.
“[Jon Snow] was somebody who was so central to the story and had been for so long and their investment in him was so tremendous that, yeah, I think we knew that people would maybe be displeased,” says Weiss.
The show-runners refused to give any more hints than that, though in the coming days before the Game of Thrones season six premiere on April 24th, maybe Benioff and Weiss will sneak in one final hint.