We have several writers here who are much more versed in Westeros than I. They’ve read the books; they don’t need a chart to keep up with all the characters; the old white, bearded guys don’t look the same to them; and they have theories and deep complicated thoughts on character arcs, and motivations, and themes of Game of Thrones.
I’m not one of those people. I like Game of Thrones a great deal, but I watch it purely on a surface level. I’m more into dramas like Better Call Saul and Mad Men and Mr. Robot, but I find Game of Thrones deeply entertaining both to watch and to discuss.
What I’m saying is, I’m no expert on Game of Thrones, but in my non-expert opinion, the Jon Snow resurrection in Sunday’s episode was dumb. I don’t expect mental gymnastics out of Game of Thrones, but that was Ryan Murphy lazy. One of the most anticipated — if not the most anticipated — moment in six seasons of Game of Thrones was reduced to a haircut and an incantation. I’ve seen more impressive spells from Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus.
That’s it? A little Valyrian-speak, the wave of a hand and: boom! A guy stabbed multiple times, who has been dead for two days, pops open his eyes. Now what? He rolls off the table, throws on a shirt, grabs a cup of coffee and asks Ser Davos to fill him in on what he missed while he was dead?
At least Miracle Max used a bellows to fill Westley’s lungs with air to ask him what he wanted to come back for. Jon Snow doesn’t even have true love to live for! Best I can tell, the only reason Jon Snow has to live is to fulfill a fan theory about the ending of Game of Thrones — R+L = J — and to keep a certain locks-obsessed demographic happy.
Was there something left on the cutting room floor? Did Jon Snow’s consciousness struggle with returning and wind up in a karaoke bar singing “Homeward Bound”? Did he look into the light?
No. Some lady who once shot a shadow baby out of her vagina, waved her hands, spoke some devil language, and burnt the man’s hair. Do you have any idea how bad burnt hair smells? And no one in that room wrinkled their nose or made a fuss. That’s the most insane thing about that scene.
Look: Resurrections are tough to tackle in drama. Anytime you deal with the supernatural or issues of faith and spirituality, writers are going to run into the Lindelof problem. They’re going to be asked the impossible: To solve the mysteries of life. It can’t be done.
On the other hand, bringing a guy back from the dead ought to come with a higher burden. There should be a trek. Or a quest. Or a scavenger hunt for horcruxes or rings. There should at least be a potion that requires a toenail from a dragon! At the bare minimum, there should be a wacky road trip.
In any case, there should be more than:
Davos: Hey, Lady Satan. Can you bring back our boy from the dead?
Melisandre: Nope. I’ve seen it done, but I can’t do it.
Davos: But try! Just try, OK?
Melisandre: Fine. I’ll do it for you, Davos, because you hated me from the moment we met.
Davos: Cool, thanks.
Melisandre: I’m going to need a pair of scissors and Google translate. I’m just going to rub my hands over this dead guy’s body, and say Skoriot ñuhyz zaldrīzesse ilzi a bunch of times while you look on grimly.
Davos: Did it work?
Melisandre … Sorry.
Davos: No biggie, you gave it a shot. Shut the door on your way out.
Direwolf: *sniffs* Is that Whiskerfish I smell? Nope, that’s just the burnt hair of Jon Snow and the return of his soul.
If it were this easy to bring people back from the dead, Melisandre could just open up a corner shop, Resurrect-N-Things, where the people of Westeros could bring their dead loved ones in to be brought back from the dead and buy them Welcome Home greetings cards (“Make this life a special one. You only live twice!)”. Death is a major fucking deal. It is permanent. Second lives oughtn’t be handed out like candy. They should be earned, and in order to defy the laws of nature and science, there really ought to be more involved than a Valyrian abracadabra and a beard trim.