Game of Thrones loves to play with fan expectations.
It's part of what makes the show fun. If viewers don't know what to expect, the shocks and thrills are all the more exciting.
However, even if most fans expected last night's bombshell, few could have predicted it to come so soon.
Major Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season Six Below.
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Jon Snow is alive. That shouldn't come as a shocker to many. Showrunners and actor Kit Harington himself insisted that Jon was dead, and they technically weren't wrong. He was, in fact, dead. However, most fans assumed he wouldn't be dead for long. Somehow, some way, Jon would return to the land of the living.
Most fans theorized it would be Melisandre to bring back the bastard of Winterfell. After all, red priests are known to have the power to bring back the dead. Melisandre is a red priestess, and a powerful one, from what we've seen on the show. It seemed the most likely scenario that she would perform a ritual on Jon, but also the most obvious one.
In a moment rare for Game of Thrones, fans were exactly right. For once, the show fell exactly into fan expectations. There was no shocking twist. No curveball. The show tried to make it a little more dramatic, of course. There was talk of burning Jon's body, for one, which no doubt scared more than a few fans. However, when it came down to it, the whole resurrection ritual was rather simple. Melisandre cut some of Jon's hair and burned it a nearby fire. Then, she said some magic words.
For a moment, it looked like the spell wasn't going to work. Jon's friends and allies walked out of the room, believing Melisandre failed. For a moment, just a moment, it looked like that might have been the case. Fans would have been wrong.
That wasn't the case. Fans guessed that Melisandre would restore Jon to life, and fans were 100 percent correct. The episode's final image is of Jon gasping for air. What comes next is still a mystery, but the fact that Jon is suddenly back with such little effort and fanfare was surprising in its own right.
Equally surprising is how early on in the season the moment comes. We are only two episodes into season six, and already, Jon is back in the fight. Few could have expected season five's cliffhanger to be resolved so quickly and with so little fanfare. That's the true shock of the episode; not that Jon is back, but that he's back so soon.
It's ... odd. Game of Thrones, and the books it is based on, are known for subverting fan expectations. Heroes die. Villains live. Things are never as simple as they appear to be, and fans almost never get what they want. Jon's so simple resurrection almost feels like fan service. There were no twists to be had, and no obstacles for Melisandre and Davos to overcome in order to help Jon. Melisandre, despite not even believing in her ability to do so, brings Jon back to life.
Perhaps that's all part of it. For so long, Game of Thrones has conditioned us to expect the worst. The result is that Jon's resurrection feels too good to be true. It feels out of place. For once, one of the show's heroes is getting a (sort of) happy ending, and fans like myself don't know how to deal with it.
Certainly, Jon's rebirth at the hands of Melisandre makes sense. It has long been the most likely scenario. However, because George R.R. Martin has yet to officially write how Jon's return plays out, fans are left wondering if the show version of events is what Martin intended all along. Will Jon's rebirth in The Winds of Winter be so easy? Will it happen at all? Or will it play out in an entirely different fashion?
Fans have no way of knowing until the next book arrives, which might be never at this point. It's an issue the show will continually grapple with as the episodes roll by, as fans who have read the books are constantly left guessing whether or not the onscreen events are what will happen in Martin's books or a bastardized version.
The result of the whole scenario is that what should be one of the show's biggest moments comes off as feeling fake. It seems too easy, and without Martin's books to back it up, feels as if it might have been crafted to service fans more than the story.