Before we go any further, let's just get this out of the way.
Are the spoiler-phobes gone? Good. Now let's get down to business.
The event we've all been waiting for onGame of Thronesfinally happened: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was resurrected by Melisandre (Carice van Houten) at the tail-end of season six's second episode. But after the excitement at seeing our favorite bastard return to life, we were left wondering what now?
For the past ten months, everyone has been so focused on how Jon would be brought back, there was very little thought given to what would it mean once he was. Here we break down the biggest lingering questions about Jon's revival, and how we think they'll play out moving forward.
Is he still Jon Snow? Although we know Jon is alive, we don't know whether he's the same person he was before his death. Obviously, being fatally betrayed by your own men will change a person's outlook on the world, but what if Jon's transformation runs deeper?
In Season 3, Melisandre met Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), a knight of the Brotherhood Without Banners who was resurrected by the Red Priest Thoros (Paul Kaye) of Myr six times. But each time Beric was revived, he lost a part of himself in the process.
"Every time I come back, I'm a bit less," he said. "Pieces of you get chipped away."
George R.R. Martin emphasized the spiritual transformation resurrection has on his characters, using Beric as a specific example, in a 2011 interview.
When Martin says "other characters," he's likely referring to Lady Stoneheart, the ruthless vigilante Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) became in the books when she was resurrected days after her death. But Martin's words could just as easily apply to the Mountain and Jon Snow. In Sunday's episode, the Mountain showed a robotic dedication to his duties as Cersei's (Lena Headey) Kingsguard -- so what is Jon Snow's mission?
Is Jon Snow Azor Ahai? One possible option is that Jon is Melisandre's Prince Who Was Promised. The Red Woman had lost all faith in her powers -- before bringing Jon Snow back -- since her prophecies of Stannis (Stephen Dillane) were so wrong. However, it's highly probable that Melisandre's visions were true, but she had just been misinterpreting them, as evidenced in this highly revealing quote from A Dance with Dragons: "I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R'hllor shows me only Snow."
If Jon is Azor Ahai, then we could see him have a renewed dedication to defending the Wall from the encroaching White Walkers. This would also give him reason to team up with Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and the Children of the Forrest to create a magical Stark super-team to take down the Night's King... And who wouldn't want to see that?
Will the Battle of the Bastards happen? With Sansa (Sophie Turner) heading North, she'll likely want to recruit Jon on her vengeance mission against the Boltons. That means Jon's driving purpose could become a bit more personal that simply trying to save all mankind from extinction. Or at the very least he might delay that bigger mission in favor of some good old fashion revenge.
With Roose (Michael McElhatton) dead, that would leave Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) as the one to face-off with Jon on the battlefield. Ramsay and Jon are mirror images of each other. Both are dark, curly-haired bastards from the North who rose to leadership positions and earned their father's respect. However, Ramsay is as evil as Jon is good (as if we didn't already know that before Ramsay mercilessly fed his stepmom and half-brother to his hounds). Watching the pair battle it out for Winterfell would be a great microcosm of the show's dualistic themes. Ice and fire. Humans and White Walkers. Good and evil. And who knows? Maybe Jon will manage to capture Ramsay and give Sansa the honor of putting him down herself.
Who will be the next Lord Commander? When Jon swore his loyalty to the Watch he spoke these words: "Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death."
And since - as producers loved to say during the hiatus - "dead is dead," Jon is now free of his commitment to the Night's Watch, able to pursue whatever mission he so chooses. So who would the new Lord Commander be? We doubt Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) is winning any elections from the dungeons, but perhaps Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton) will step up to take the role.
Will Jon stay alive? Just because Jon Snow is back doesn't mean he'll stay that way. Anything is possible in Game of Thrones and it wouldn't be too surprising if down the line Jon sacrifices himself for the good of the realm -- especially if Jon feels as though he's not really living anyways. Simply because Jon is back from the dead doesn't mean his body will heal, and a wound-riddled body combined with a loss of memory could make Jon's new life a life he doesn't truly find worth living.
What do you think is next for Jon Snow?
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.