The sweeping disappointment surrounding the ending of HBO’s Game of Thrones hasn’t wavered in the slightest since the final episode aired in spring 2019. Fans of the franchise have long lamented the anticlimactic and oddly rushed endings to beloved character arcs. Perhaps at the top of that list of subpar endings was the fate of Jon Snow.
One of many ambiguous endings in the show’s finale (spoiler alert), the last time we see Jon is as he rides out beyond the Wall into the true north to, inferably, live out the rest of his days in peace. Audiences were seemingly supposed to accept this exile ending as sufficient, given that he never wanted to inherit the Iron Throne in the first place!
However, I can’t help but dwell on the crucial plot twist revealing Jon Snow’s true identity as Aegon Targaryen, which seemed to fade too quickly into an afterthought by the series’ end. Did that monumental discovery really change nothing in terms of Jon’s destiny? It sure seems so.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of finale discontent, which greatly fueled the fandom’s reaction to the spinoff announcement. Thus, in consideration of shared disappointments, let’s dive into potential possibilities (and letdowns) surrounding Jon Snow’s return to the screen.
Other Returning Characters
I think we can all agree the only redeemable quality to Jon’s ending was the reunion with his dire wolf, Ghost. If the spinoff is indeed picking up where the show left off, we can happily assume that Ghost will be by his side. The same goes for his charismatic enemy-turned-friend, Tormund, who was beside him in the show’s final sequence.
Based on that culmination, the spinoff may potentially focus on Jon’s life amidst the remaining Free Folk in the land beyond the Wall. But how does that shape into an intriguing, action-packed plot? The White Walkers are gone. The Children of the Forest are presumably dead (after the attack in Season 6). Most importantly, peace is restored in Westeros, with Bran sitting on the Iron Throne and Sansa as Queen of the North.
Speaking of Jon’s (sort of) siblings, Bran is still the Three-Eyed Raven. Given his all-seeing powers, a reprised role for him would potentially make sense, given he can travel beyond the Wall using his mind.
Writers and Producers
Another key question surrounding the early development of a Game of Thrones sequel concerns who will be involved in or in charge of its creation.
In a recent blog post, Martin acknowledged the leaked news but remained tight-lipped on the details, waiting until HBO gives him the green light. However, he did assuage fans that he will be involved in this exciting project, just as he has with all related spin-offs, such as the upcoming prequel, House of the Dragon.
Also of note is Martin’s confirmation that the spin-off was, in fact, Kit Harington’s idea! He further explains: “Kit’s team have visited me here in Santa Fe and worked with my own team of brilliant, talented writer/consultants to hammer out the show.” The creative connection between Kit and Martin certainly raises hopes for a satisfying continuation of Jon Snow’s story.
As for the original showrunner duo, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the pair clarified in a recent interview that they are indeed moving on from Westeros. Their stepping down from the Game of Thrones universe is not that much of a surprise considering the amount of flack they received over the direction of the final season.
The Last Dragon
Another vital consideration regarding a spinoff plot is Daenerys’s last dragon: Drogon. After Dany is killed, Drogon melts the Iron Throne, picks up her body, and flies away. Are we to consider this to be the last time we see Drogon (or Dany)? I certainly hope not. Perhaps Jon’s true identity as a Targaryen will finally find more of a spotlight in the spinoff, which could ideally incorporate the last living dragon.
Along these lines, one popular fan theory suggests that Drogon carried Dany off to a Red Priestess of Volantis to resuscitate her. Melisandre brought Jon Snow back from the dead. Is it so outlandish to think that the same could happen to Dany?
These are the kinds of questions fans are hoping will shape the creation of more Game of Thrones television content, which has the potential to redeem an epic story that ended so unsatisfactorily.
It’s safe to say that we truly “know nothing” about HBO’s newest continuation of the Game of Thrones universe. However, the breaking news of Kit Harington’s idea for a reprisal of his beloved character has provided a glimmer of hope for all the fans who’ve spent the last three years cursing Season 8.
No doubt, the spinoff is a very ambitious project. It opens the door for much-desired character redemption and other character returns. Though, admittedly, it could also just dig a deeper hole of discontent with fans. Only time will tell!
For loyal fans of the book series (like me), perhaps we readers must hold out our hope for George R.R. Martin to finally complete the story on his own terms.
In the meantime, check out this article for more wholly justified Season 8 slander here at Bookstr.