He’s alive, he’s awake, and he’s… kinda mopey? Jon Snow is with us again, and to be honest it was all a little anticlimactic. It seemed the appropriate tone for the usually somber Snow, but you couldn’t help but want a little something more from a newly undead hero. But he dispensed the proper justice and apparently now his watch has ended. He did die, after all. I’d say that kind of breaks the oath. Does this moody, uneventful rebirth still indicate the dramatic shift in our universe? Yes and no.
Our best understanding of what’s shifting this week actually comes from Arya. Yes, her story seems at surface to be only an aside to the major narrative of the season. And it basically is. But thematically she is critical. Everyone in our story is being stripped of who they were. Arya is just the physical embodiment of this. She is now literally “no one” but now so is Jon Snow, and Daenerys, as the former Khal wives starkly reminded her this week, and Cersei, and Sansa, and Tyrion. Roles are being reversed or upended, titles are mostly meaningless, and control is now more of an illusion than ever.
Cersei and Tyrion are doing their best (or worst) at trying to maintain some form of control. It’s clear at this point Cersei knows nothing else than the aspirations of power she’s always fought so hard for. Tyrion, needing something to keep busy, is working for a balance between cultures. Amazing the differences that continue to show between these two siblings. You’d think maybe they’d have different parents or something. And that maybe one of their parents has a lineage that means something much greater. Maybe. Possibly. Hint.
Most of these now-no one characters are doing their best to make something of their situation. The good ones (namely our five road marker characters) are reaching for something greater than a throne. The human parallel is easy. No matter what titles we carry or lineage we’re a part of, we are people- confusing, messy, imperfect, but real. As Christians we believe that the grace of God clears away this mess and allows us to work for good despite our bad. Just like these characters on the board we’re following. They will still create great change. Up until this season, GoT has taken a mostly pessimistic view towards humanity. They live, they do horrible things, they die. But as the tides start to turn this season, we’re starting to see a little more hope in Westeros and abroad. A little more parallel to grace and goodness.
We started at “when you play the game of thrones you win or you die” and now it’s more of “when you don’t play the game of thrones, well, it’s really not that big of a deal, actually.” No doubt the game is still afoot. But there’s a greater meaning to it all coming on the wind. Or perhaps, has already arrived on the wind. Arya as our road-marker has already made her ascent to what she will be from here going forward. What power she possesses and what she will do with it remains to be seen. But “no one” will not do nothing. It is the same with Jon Snow, who doesn’t even realize what power and knowledge he now holds.
Long has he been said to “know nothing.” And now, he truly does. When Melisandre asks him what he saw on the other side of this life, that is exactly what he replies with, “nothing.” His statement is loaded with meaning. He may know more than what he says, he may not. But it is indicative that what Jon Snow once was he is no longer. His ascent from the grave and desertion of the Watch is our first cold, snowy step away from the blackness of Westeros and the game of thrones, and the first towards the coming spring. It is an oath broken, a back broken. A crack in the foundation of the world. It is the beginning of the end of winter.