One of the most intriguing events of the Game of Thrones TV Series is the death and resurrection of it’s one of the fan favorite character Jon Snow. Though the event had an important impact on the storyline it has never been made clear why actually Jon Snow was resurrected. As it is open to interpretation, several explanations can be drawn about this event. We being the profound diggers of GOT obviously have the only plausible explanation of Jon Snow’s resurrection. Is he revived because he is the last Targaryen? Or is it because he is Azor Ahai (the prince that was promised) as the ‘popular fan theory suggests’? Let’s dig deeper and find the answer.
It is beyond any doubt that gods and supernatural beings play a great part in the story. After the revelation of Jon Snow’s actual lineage, it may seem that he is resurrected because he is the last Targaryen who has the actual claim on the Iron Throne. But as believable as it can seem at first, this cannot be the reason behind Jon’s return. First of all, gods do not just revive someone because he was the last of his lineage no matter how important the line is. A number of families and houses have perished and not all of them was unimportant (A show of hands for the members of House Reyne, please?). Besides if the gods really wanted a Targaryen on the throne it’s not like they are out of options. There’s Danny, duh?
We think that the main reason behind Jon Snow’s resurrection lies in the words of another Targaryen; Maester Aemon. Let’s have a look at this conversation between him and Jon Snow.
Maester Aemon: Tell me did you ever wonder why the men of the Night’s Watch take no wives and father no children?
Maester Aemon: So they will not love. Love is the death of duty. If the day should ever come when your Lord father was forced to choose between honour on one hand and those he loves on the other, what would he do?
Jon: He would do whatever was right. No matter what.
Maester Aemon: And Lord Stark is one man in ten thousand. Most of us are not so strong. What is honour compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your hand? Or a brother smile?
Jon: Sam told you?
Maester Aemon: We’re all human. Oh we all do our duty when there’s no cost to it. Honour comes easy then. Yet sooner or later in every man’s life there comes a day when it is not easy, a day when he must choose!
Confused? Let’s get you on track. We think that in this conversation Aemon Targaryen describes an important philosophy which actually is one of the most driving themes of GOT- ‘Love is the death of duty.’ If one is to carry out one’s purpose and be responsible to one’s duty s/he has to sacrifice his/her love.
Throughout the series, the characters are developed and shaped by the choices they make, and Jon Snow was revived and given a bigger purpose to serve because he chose his duty over love. To explain how he complied with it let’s contrast Jon Snow with his half-brother Robb Stark as leaders. Both of them were declared king in the north and both of them rallied and led the Northmen to a cause. Both of them faced the same fate, death, but one of them was revived and one of them was not. Why? Because they made different choices in case of prioritizing love or duty.
Robb Stark fell in love with Talisa. Once he made a promise to Lord Walder Frey that he will marry one of Lord Frey’s daughter. But when the time came Robb chose to follow his heart over his words. He married lady Talissa and eventually faced a dire consequence. Robb along with his mother and wife were killed by Lord Frey. Jon also fell in love with Ygritte. He almost got carried away like his brother but in the moment of choosing, he chose to uphold his duties even if it cost him his love.
It’s not just about keeping the words or upholding vows; rather upholding the vow on this particular conflict over love and duty. Remember the words of Maester Aemon: “Yet sooner or later in every man’s life there comes a day when it’s not easy. A day when he must choose.” Choose either love or duty and “… learn to live with it.” Robb and Jon both made their choices which led them to their demise. But Jon was chosen to be revived because he learned to sacrifice his love to carry out the duties bestowed upon him.
‘Love is the death of duty and one shall sacrifice his love to fulfill his duty.’ – In this article, our claim doesn’t entirely sit upon the paralleslism between Jon & Robb or maester Aemon’s words. We claimed so because the conflict between love & duty and the consequence of the choice is a theme that has been repeatedly surfaced in GoT through characters like Jaime, Robert and Ned. Jaime’s character develops entirely on this theme (read about it); Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark also serves the theme in a tricky way.