Rereading the Jon Snow leads the White Walkers theory the other day I have realized that I have made it a tad bit complicated. So… this post will try to simplify it. The complications mainly come from my takes on how Jon Snow could come back to life (and he will). So, let’s break them a part into several possibilities and see what is in store for our favorite bastard boy.
JON WILL WARG INTO GHOST
Varamyr, better known as Varamyr Sixskins, is a member of the free folk, a skinchanger who controls three wolves, a snow bear, and a shadowcat but also the protagonist of the prologue of the fifth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) saga, entitled A Dance with Dragons (ADWD). The same book that features a chapter in which Jon Snow dies. This is important because it is Varamyr Sixskins who points out at Jon’s peculiar talent we knew nothing about. The talent to skinchange. Sure, we all assumed that he has the ability to do that, being a Stark child and a proud owner of Ghost, but none of us actually had any real proof. Until we read Sixskins’ POV chapter. In it we have discovered a warg-skinchanger roadmap of sorts. We also learned what it means to be a warg, how easy is to control and animal, how easy is to control a human being.
Dogs were the easiest beasts to bond with; they lived so close to men that they were almost human. Slipping into a dog’s skin was like putting on an old boot, its leather softened by wear. As a boot was shaped to accept a foot, a dog was shaped to accept a collar, even a collar no human eye could see. Wolves were harder. A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf. “Wolves and women wed for life,” Haggon often said. “You take one, that’s a marriage. The wolf is part of you from that day on, and you’re part of him. Both of you will change.”
Other beasts were best left alone, the hunter had declared. Cats were vain and cruel, always ready to turn on you. Elk and deer were prey; wear their skins too long, and even the bravest man became a coward. Bears, boars, badgers, weasels … Haggon did not hold with such. “Some skins you never want to wear, boy. You won’t like what you’d become.” Birds were the worst, to hear him tell it. “Men were not meant to leave the earth. Spend too much time in the clouds and you never want to come back down again. I know skinchangers who’ve tried hawks, owls, ravens. Even in their own skins, they sit moony, staring up at the bloody blue.”
But more importantly, we learned what it means to die as a warg, be it in the body of an animal or in your human body, which is apparently a very different matter and crucial for this theory.
“They say you forget,” Haggon had told him, a few weeks before his own death. “When the man’s flesh dies, his spirit lives on inside the beast, but every day his memory fades, and the beast becomes a little less a warg, a little more a wolf, until nothing of the man is left and only the beast remains.”
Varamyr knew the truth of that. When he claimed the eagle that had been Orell’s, he could feel the other skinchanger raging at his presence. Orell had been slain by the turncloak crow Jon Snow, and his hate for his killer had been so strong that Varamyr found himself hating the beastling boy as well. He had known what Snow was the moment he saw that great white direwolf stalking silent at his side. One skinchanger can always sense another. Mance should have let me take the direwolf. There would be a second life worthy of a king. He could have done it, he did not doubt. The gift was strong in Snow, but the youth was untaught, still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it.
Last but not least, this chapter also told us that Jon Snow is potentially one of the most powerful wargs who still hasn’t uncover his ability unlike his brother Bran (best part in the book is that Jon is always followed by his dire wolf and Mormont’s raven).
We also learned that a connection between a wolf and a man is of special kind and that if a human body of a warg dies while he is in his animal his spirit continues on until the animal takes over and the man completely disappears. This means that a warg’s life as a man ends when his body dies. Jon Snow’s body died in both the book and in the show. However, there is one crucial distinction here. In the book his last words were “Ghost” which gave us all the reason to believe that he warged into locked up Ghost mere seconds before he died. Understandably, most of us believed that Jon’s eyes would turn white mere seconds before the closing credits of Mother’s Mercy but that never happened. Instead his last words were “Olly” and Ghost was nowhere to be found.
A lot of people believe that Jon’s traumatic experience will serve as a catalyst for unlocking the unimaginable potential thus mirroring the storyline from the first season when Jaime crippled Bran and as a consequence unlocked all sorts of Bran’s powers, including the power of greenseering. I too belong to this group of optimistic people. However, Jon living in Ghost for the rest of his short life of gradual fading out makes little to no sense. In order for his story arch to mean something he simply must return to his human body. Therefore, if Ghost is to play any part in this, he will play the part of a temporary host and the protector of Jon’s body who will also (FINALLY) give him the reason to believe in magic and perhaps even give him a much bigger picture he is certainly a part of.
MELISANDRE WILL BRING HIM BACK (BY ACCIDENT)
In both the book as well as the show Melisandre is present at the Wall in the moment Jon Snow is brutally and cowardly stabbed multiple times by his so-called brothers. Her presence there is a wise decision on writer’s part but also a sort of a red herring. We all know that Mel is the closest we will get to the idea of a witch. She is a Red Priestess of seemingly great power. On a plus side following the analogy of Thoros of Myr, the Red Priest of Brotherhood without Banners, we also know what the priests and servants of Red God are capable off. But there is a small problem here. First of all, unlike Thoros, Mel has never been able to bring the life back from death. In best-case scenarios she was able to take life using her sorcery but even that is questionable since most of her visions and attempts at things are flawed (apart from Smoke babies). So, Robb dying, Joffrey dying etc. could simply be a coincidence, one that is not her doing. Therefore, as a Red Priestess she is highly unreliable. However, she does not lack confidence, which is one of the two key points here. The other one is her realization that Stannis is not Azor Ahai, the champion of the Red God that will save the world from darkness. Jon Snow is. Now in the show both Stannis and Jon are dead. But, since Stannis is not her chosen one and Jon is and since Jon’s body is right there I am, like everybody else, 100% sure that Mel will do everything in her power to save his body so she could perform some kind of blood magic on him that will potential bring him back to life. This is what she will do. And she will not succeed. She will only think she succeeded and only because she doesn’t posses a key piece of information about Jon. Jon is Rhaegar’s and Lyanna’s son, which makes him half Stark, half Targaryen, which makes him half ice, half fire, which brings us again to the very beginning of this story. Yes, I am talking about Daeanerys’ funeral pyre for Drogo.
Like we all know, Targaryens are not immune to fire, however, they have a higher resistance to it than regular people and they can actually survive the pyre if there is some kind of blood magic involved. For Daenerys that was either the presence of dragon eggs or Mirr Mazz Duur or both. Either way, she walked in and walked out unharmed. With three brand new dragon babies.
Of course, unlike Daenerys, Jon is not a 100% Targaryen but, unlike Daenerys, he is 50% Stark and this makes him unique in all of the world since there has never been a case of a Stark and a Targaryen creating a life force together. There is only one person that has a similar background as Jon who is, at the moment, one of the most powerful people in the whole wide world. Yes, I am talking about Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers aka The Tree Eyed Raven who in the meantime turned into a tree. He is not a Stark but a Blackwood and therefor a descendant of First Men (just like Starks). Mix that with Targaryen blood and you have a very special person.
That said, what Mellisandre will do is take Jon’s body so she would perform a ritual, one that might even involve a sacrifice of few remaining brothers *fingers crossed* Unbeknownst to Mel and due to Jon’s unique blood compound, he will warg from Ghost into his own, now resurrected, body and Mel will continue living like a fraud.
Melisandre will use her magic to glamour Jon Snow making him appear as someone else to the brother’s of the Night’s Watch (Rattleshirt/Mance case). Although interesting possibility it is also hardly unlikely for several reasons: the title of the chapter said Jon Snow and not Lord Commander; Jon’s final thoughts wandered of to Arya, Needle and the last thing he told his sister “stick them with the pointy end“. Why would someone who is not Jon think of Arya and Needle during his final moments? Makes little to no sense. Jon Snow was the person who got stabbed.
BRAN AND BLOODRAVEN WILL BRING JON BACK
Bloodraven planned Jon’s death all along (possibly together with Shiera Seastar) by warging Mormont’s raven and making sure Jon is elected for Lord Commander, which eventually lead to his death. We believe he is grooming him for command, literally. Also, nice foreshadowing. What the command is we do not know because we don’t know much about Blodraven’s agenda as it is. Does he work for the WW? Does he want to establish the Blackfyre Royal Targaryen line as the revenge against being sent to the Wall? Or he wants something else completely? If so, Jon, being again the bastard son of a Targ fits nicely into this story.
So how will this play out? Two words: Theon Turncloak. There is a debate going on as to who is the ghost from the ADWD chapter “The Ghost of Winterfell”. Some say it is Benjen Stark, some say it is Theon Greyjoy’s split personality… I say it is twofold. The “Ghost of Winterfell” (as in hooded man who goes around killing Bolton men) is one of the Northerners loyal to the Starks. But “Ghost of Winterfell” is also Theon, simply because this is his POV chapter. This means that the title itself foreshadows development of Theon’s character arch that will end in death making Theon another one of Wintefell’s Ghosts. To what end? For one, Theon has suffered enough. Clean death would be a nice way to end his life. And if his death can aid a sorcerer from North of the Wall in resurrecting one of the remaining Stark children, his debt will truly be paid. Bloodraven, with the help of Bran, who’s been communicating with Theon via Weirwood tree (ADWD) and ravens (TWOW), will use Theon’s beheading (suggested to Stannis by Asha in TWOW) as the blood sacrifice and a retribution for Eddard Stark and his boys, to raise Jon from dead. “There is power in king’s blood” and a reason why the last image Bran Stark saw through Weirwood in ADWD was the blood sacrifice. Death for Life.
JON WILL WAKE UP WITH CHANGED EYE COLOR
Since Jon is a Stark to the core (and his identity as a Northerner has been emphasized on numerous occasions) I seriously doubt that he will take Red God as his lord savior. This is also my principle argument against “Mel brings Jon back and he turns into Azor Ahai reborn” theory. GRRM has spent far too much time and far too many words to make us understand just how important Winterfell, North and the name Stark to Jon actually are. And they are. To all of the Stark children but to Jon Snow, who always dreamed about being the integral and respected member of that family, to him, the most. Adding three more crucial details to this mix is what cements the story in my eyes.
First one: “Until my death” is what the oath to Night’s Watch says. Technically, if resurrected successfully, Jon is free of the Night’s Watch and finally able to fight for the North and wrongdoings against his family.
Second one: Upon learning his brother’s are dead, his sister Arya dead and his sister Sansa married to a Lannister, Robb Stark wrote a letter in which he, as the King, Warden of the North and Lord of Winterfell, legitimizes his bastard brother Jon Snow (same thing what Tommen did for Ramsey nee Snow, now Bolton). So by a royal decree Jon Snow is no longer a bastard but a Stark and the heir not only to Winterfell but also to the seat as the next King in the North. Now all he has to do is find the damn letter. Or go down to the crypts. And free it from the Boltons.
Third one: All of the siblings he thought dead are in fact alive. Fighting against them will never happen.
With magic back into the game everything is possible. I am a firm believer that Starks are somehow connected and possibly even related to the White Walkers. I believe the story goes all the way back to Bran the Builder and Brandon Ice Eyes just to name few. Adding few dreams into the mix:
a) Melisandre’s dream about a Wolf boy, a Weirwood tree with a face of a human and the Thousand Eyes and One whom she sees as the Champions of Others,
“A face took shape within the hearth. Stannis? she thought, for just a moment . . . but no, these were not his features. A wooden face, corpse white. Was this the enemy? A thousand red eyes floated in the rising flames. He sees me. Beside him, a boy with a wolfs face threw back his head and howled.”
b) Jon’s dream about wearing an armor made of black ice and carrying a flaming sword that burns in his fist
“Burning shafts hissed upward, trailing tongues of fire. Scarecrow brothers tumbled down, black cloaks ablaze. “Snow,” an eagle cried, as foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders. Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist. As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again. He slew a greybeard and a beardless boy, a giant, a gaunt man with filed teeth, a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she’d appeared.”
c) Bran’s dream about his brother turning into ice,
“Finally he looked north. He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal, and his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him.”
it is my belief that Jon will get resurrected (possibly even in a funeral pyre) as half human half White Walker. An improved version of human sort to speak. This is not to say that he will become an old man with a grey hair and sparkly skin but he will become something else completely and it will not be yet another Targaryen dragon rider.
His overall appearance will not be the key to the narrative but his ability to unite all the humans and nonhumans of the North in the fight for the North. Including the White Walkers. He is a diplomat, capable of understanding and sympathizing with others, who over the course of time shifted their position. By becoming an Other (or half an Other), we will finally be able to learn the truth about them and possibly even change our perspective.
TO SUM THINGS UP…
So all in all the story will most likely play out like this:
Upon stabbing, due to the traumatic experience, which triggered his ability to warg, Jon Snow will move inside of Ghost mere seconds before his body dies in order to survive. His body is then saved and preserved by Melisandre and few of Jon’s brothers. It is either stored in the ice crypts or taken someplace safe so Mel would perform a blood magic ritual during which she plans to burn his body. The latter would mirror Daenerys’ case from the last pages of GOT which would mean that Jon would rise from the death out of the funeral pyre. The resurrection can happen either through the power of Red God (meaning Mel succeeded) or through the power of Old Gods (meaning Bloodraven succeded). What Jon Snow will become in the process depends on many things and the person (God) that resurrects him. If Mel is successful he can end up being the champion of the Red God aka Azor Ahai. If Bloodraven is successful then Jon could end up being a champion of the Great Other (as Mel has seen in her flames) and therefore the leader of the White Walkers not necessarily looking like one. If neither one of them succeeds then Jon will simply wake up as Jon, a human being, half Stark half Targaryen capable of both warging and dragon-riding. Also a possibility but to what end? So he would be the third dragon rider in Daenerys’ army? Maybe. Maybe not. (I personally don’t support three-headed dragon = three dragon riders theory). Or the funeral pyre will trigger something within Jon, as it did with Daenerys, and he will be born a man freed from his oath, with a new ability. Either way, all these roads are highly plausible and all these roads might end up being only parts of the grander scheme of things, i.e. Jon’s life, role and purpose. Jon Snow’s ultimate purpose will continue to be an unanswered question and the whole point of his character. For his story to get a closure and have any meaning whatsoever he first must die (which he did) and then come back from death. His resurrection is therefore the only certain aspect of his life. It is the only thing we know is coming. Apart from winter.