George R.R. Martin's Views on Resurrection in Game of Thrones

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Warning: this article contains spoilers from Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 2, 'Home".

The ending of last night's episode of Game of Thrones made a lot of fans happy as they watched Jon Snow's revival. But don't celebrate just yet, because if George R.R. Martin's 2011 Sound of Young America interview with John Hodgman is any clue, then we won't be seeing the Jon Snow that fans love.

In the interview, Martin reffered to a comic book story where Wonder Man nobly decided to die rather than betray the Avengers, only for him to be resurrected years later.

"I do think that if you're bringing a character back, that a character has gone through death, that's a transformative experience. Even back in those days of Wonder Man and all that, I loved the fact that he died, and although I liked the character in later years, I wasn't so thrilled when he came back because that sort of undid the power of it,"

In the world of comic books, most of the time there is not a clear cost for superhero resurrection. Most superheroes return in their prime health, with a new costume, but comics isn't the only place this happens. To illustrate the point further, Martin pointed at Gandalf's resurrection in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings:

"Much as I admire Tolkien, I once again always felt like Gandalf should have stayed dead. That was such an incredible sequence in Fellowship of the Ring when he faces the Balrog on the Khazad-dûm and he falls into the gulf, and his last words are, ‘Fly, you fools.' What power that had, how that grabbed me. And then he comes back as Gandalf the White, and if anything he's sort of improved. I never liked Gandalf the White as much as Gandalf the Grey, and I never liked him coming back. I think it would have been an even stronger story if Tolkien had left him dead," Martin said

Martin's approach to resurrection seems to be a direct response to Gandalf's resurrection. In Game of Thrones, those who come back to life are never the same.

"My characters who come back from death are worse for wear. In some ways, they're not even the same characters anymore. The body may be moving, but some aspect of the spirit is changed or transformed, and they've lost something," Martin said.

Martin talked about his own example on how characters change after being resurrected:

"One of the characters who has come back repeatedly from death is Beric Dondarrion, The Lightning Lord. Each time he's revived he loses a little more of himself. He was sent on a mission before his first death. He was sent on a mission to do something, and it's like, that's what he's clinging to. He's forgetting other things, he's forgetting who he is, or where he lived. He's forgotten the woman who he was once supposed to marry. Bits of his humanity are lost every time he comes back from death; he remembers that mission. His flesh is falling away from him, but this one thing, this purpose that he had is part of what's animating him and bringing him back to death. I think you see echoes of that with some of the other characters who have come back from death," Martin said.


If you've read the books, this brings Lady Stoneheart to mind. This part hasn't happened on the show yet, but there are some details that hint at her possible appearance.

Based on Martin's views on using resurrection, we can assume that Jon Snow won't be the same person. So how do you think Snow will change after his resurrection?

Read: Kit Harrington Finally Breaks His Silence About Keeping Jon Snow's Fate A Secret