Be warned of spoilers from Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead throughout.
Game of Thrones fans were quick to refute the death of Jon Snow. While the popular character was shown in the Season 5 finale stabbed by his fellow Night’s Watch brothers until he was a bloody mess on the snowy ground, the arrival of resurrecting Red Priestess Melisandre at Castle Black didn’t seem like a coincidence. Book readers further dove into the source material for more potential evidence to dispute the event. To add even more fuel to the fire, HBO released the first teaser key art for the upcoming season 6 and it features none other than a blood-smeared image of Jon Snow.
Is he alive? Is he dead? Is he a White Walker zombie? We don’t know because his eyes are shadowed, but it seems to say without saying it that all our paranoia was spot on. However, AMC decided to poke some fun at the poster and throw some shade at HBO.
And you guys thought WE were torturing our fans… https://t.co/TJbjPHgVix
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) November 23, 2015
In reality, The Walking Dead didn’t handle their own situation much better. Much like with Jon Snow, #GlennGate commenced after Steven Yeun’s character was seemingly swallowed up by a wave of walkers a couple weeks ago. We’ve seen with major deaths that the actors will almost always appear on The Talking Dead directly after the aired episode to discuss the loss and to recollect on their time on the show. Yeun, however, did not appear, nor was Glenn included among the deceased on the “In Memoriam” tribute of Chris Hardwick’s talk show. The fans took it from there to piece all the clues together in various lists and features.
Upon the reveal that Glenn survived, critics called out the show’s producers on trolling charges, citing statements and interviews, such as the one where executive producer David Alpert proclaimed that “the Glenn that we knew…I think is dead.” The cast and crew of Game of Thrones, fueled by the media, did the same — and continue to do the same — with Jon Snow. The most notorious example is the weighing in from the cast members. Though it’s hard to put the blame on the actors, who often times don’t really know what’s going on outside of their own character arcs, the situation spawned a borderline betting ring in which everyone from Maisie Williams to Rose Leslie (who’s not even on Game of Thrones anymore) offered their best guesses.
What does this all amount to? The loss of suspense. For Glenn, it became difficult to empathize with Maggie’s trauma of not knowing the whereabouts of her unborn baby’s father, and everything was so loosey-goosey that it became difficult to engross oneself in what was happening on screen because we kept thinking, “Well, it doesn’t really matter because Glenn’s totally alive.” Though Game of Thrones is currently on break until season 6 premieres in April, the same is occurring but in a different way; instead of worrying about the increased stakes brought on by such a major character death and how those remaining will survive in this increasingly harsh world, we’re left wondering “when” — not even necessarily “how,” because it seems we already know the answer to that question — Jon Snow will return.