At the risk of repeating ourselves, this is a post about the final episode of the fifth season of Game of Thrones, and a lot of spoilers follow. You have been warned.
Still with us? In last night's finale, what readers of A Dance With Dragons have known for years finally took place on screen: the murder of fan favourite Jon Snow, played by even more of a fan favourite Kit Harington.
We've gone over some possible theories as to why this possibly isn't the end of Jon Snow as we know him, but in this post we'll look at what people associated with the show have been saying about the shocking ending, the latest in a long line of major character deaths on the HBO show.
Cliffhanger endings obviously present very different problems for producers than they do for authors. George RR Martin can change his mind as many times as he wants before publishing The Winds of Winter, the next book due out possibly next year, but it's more difficult for a TV show to mask the fact that an actor is attached to a project.
One thing is certain though, everyone associated with Game of Thrones the show is adamant that Jon Snow is dead.
Harington told Entertainment Weekly about his discussion with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss:
I had a sit-down with Dan and David, we did the Tony Soprano walk [letting an actor know they're being whacked]. And they said, 'Look, you're gone, it's done.'
Quite honestly, I have never been told the future of things in this show, but this is the one time I have. They sat me down and said, 'This is how it is.' If anything in the future is not like that, then I don't know about it – it's only in David and Dan and George's heads. But I've been told I'm dead. I'm dead. I'm not coming back next season. So that's all I can tell you, really.
Harington even recalled his "last day on set":
I got a big wrap and, like any of the actors who die on Thrones, I just wanted to f--k off out of there - I got a tear in my eye. I was more moved and emotional than I thought I'd be.
While this seems to point very, very heavily to Jon Snow being completely dead, there is still hope. It's not out of the question for Harington to be toying with the interviewer, in order to not spoil the next book. The storyline of Bran Stark (a major character) was completely omitted from the fifth season, but actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright is expected to return in the sixth. So Jon Snow could be back, just not in the next season. Also, Jon Snow might well be dead, but whoever or whatever he reincarnates as, either in legendary hero or dire-wolf form, might not be. So there.
In a separate interview with People, David Nutter, who along as series five finale Mother's Mercy also directed the Red Wedding episode, offered this on the Lord Commander's fate:
I can definitely tell you that after all those stab wounds, he's a dead man.
When the multiple theories about why that could not be the case were put to him, he added:
Anything I say would be the wrong answer!
Verdict: Again, Jon Snow might be a dead man, but what he becomes might not be. "Kill the boy and let the man be born," Maester Aemon told Jon Snow previously.
A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and from which the last season was mostly based, was published in 2011.
In an interview given to Entertainment Weekly that year, when he was asked why he killed Jon Snow, he replied:
Oh, you think he's dead, do you?
When he was asked to clarify, he added:
Well. I'm not going to address whether he's dead or not. But as to why – didn't you think the text established why they would want to assassinate him?
There is frankly almost nothing to be gained from analysing what George RR Martin says, as he'll probably just lie and kill your favourite Stark character anyway. But at least he didn't seem to be confirming that Jon was gone.
Overall: Who knows.
But you have to question the wisdom of a hit book series and TV show in killing off arguably its main character for no apparent reason.
More: [Seven of the most spoilerific Game Of Thrones theories imaginable]5