Kit Harington is about to make his return to Westeros, and the spin-off series about Jon Snow will begin right where Game of Thrones ended. Here are the confirmed details and the latest promising rumors.
It's a little weird, but it's true. Jon Snow is on his way back to Westeros, with his own series, although when we found out about it, we were a little surprised. His interpreter, Kit Harington, at the end of the great TV saga seemed tired of fighting zombies in the ice, just as he seemed to want to return rather to the damp, dank nights in Belfast (albeit among strangers shouting "you know nothing!" at him in the street).
It is rather absurd to think that in 2019 the great unifying event of our time was a somewhat disappointing ending (that of Game of Thrones). Three years and a pandemic later, HBO has evidently decided that enough time has passed to dive back into Westeros (and get excited about its stories) and in addition to the prequel about the Targaryens House of The Dragon is bringing Jon Snow back to life (again!!) in a spin-off series of its own.
Now a blog post by Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin has brought the mammoth out of the ice by confirming that not only is Harington attached to the project, he is even the driving force behind it. "Yes, it was Kit who brought us the idea," Martin wrote, adding, "His team came to see me in Santa Fe and worked with me and my team of brilliant and talented writers/consultants to fine-tune the show." A revelation later actually scaled back earlier this week by Emilia Clarke, the former Daenerys, who told the BBC that the project "It was created by Kit […]. So what will be seen, if it comes to fruition, will be certified by Kit Harington."
So it is time to find out what fate has befallen, in the liberated North of the Night King, the failed king who did not sit on the throne of swords. The last time we had him he was going into exile to the "true North" with his Wildling brothers, his eyes to the mountains of snow and ice. His story seemed one of the most complete in the central cast. It was easy to imagine him hunting squirrels and methodically brushing off his snow boots forever, free of the political quarrels of King's Landing.
Kit Harington's Secret Prince was undoubtedly a fan favorite, which explains why he would be HBO's first bet in terms of a spin-off from Game of Thrones. According to reports in the Hollywood Reporter last June, the network eva initiated the development of a solo project for Jon Snow, with a question mark over his interpreter's return (Harington has not confirmed for now). The actor had seemed relieved to have left Jon Snow behind and has since starred in both high-budget Marvel films (2021's Eternals) and on stage in a National Theatre production of Henry V. But time is a great healer, and with an inevitable Disney+ style expansion of the GoT universe, it makes sense that he would be tempted to reprise a role that has seen him earn two Emmy nominations.
So: Kit's show is indeed on the way, but what else do we know at the moment?
The series could pick up where Game of Thrones left off
After Martin's blog post, one waited a while before cornering Kit Harington for any clue or information about the series. Finally the opportunity presented itself at a recent Game of Thrones fan convention held in Los Angeles.
During the panel (as reported by Entertainment Weekly), Harrington, without speaking directly about the prequel series, made some remarks about the state of mind he believes Jon Snow is in where we left him at the end of the fantasy saga as we know it. "I think if you asked him, he would tell you that he feels he got off lightly," the actor began. "When, toward the end of GoT, we find him in a cell, he's ready to be beheaded and he's fine with that. For him, the games are over. The fact that he finally goes back to the Wall is both the greatest gift and also the greatest curse."
When we last saw Snow he was trotting toward exile in the "true North" with his brute brothers of fortune, his eyes turned to the mountains of snow and ice. It seemed like one of the most balanced endings among those that happened to the main cast, easy to imagine him hunting squirrels and brushing off his snow boots forever, free of the political squabbles of King's Landing.
"Jon is returning to the North with a lot of history on him, returning there to live his life thinking about how he killed Dani, thinking about Ygritte, who died in his arms, thinking about how he had to hang little Olly, who had betrayed him and stabbed him in the heart," Kit Harington continued. "Jon has to live with all these traumas, and it's interesting."
True, but let's face it, it doesn't take a big twist to bring Snow back south, perhaps following in his father Ned's footsteps to try to get his brother Bran Stark (now King) out of some trouble.
The series could be titled simply SNOW
Martin's original post on his blog is titled "SNOW … and Other Stuff," and within the blog the writer confirmed that the series would be in the works with this title. (It's hard, at this point, not to imagine Jon himself proposing it to a room of slightly terrified TV executives.)
"We were thinking of something really catchy Jon, like The Return of the Prince."
"What do you say Jon?"
It seems unlikely that the project will include David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Martin's post reads, "I can't tell you the names of the screenwriters/showrunners as this information has not yet been cleared for release… but Kit already has them and they are awesome."
It is hard to believe that Martin describes Benioff and Weiss, the writers and directors of the original series, as "Kit's team." It seems more likely that SNOW is in the hands of a new team. It is impossible to say whether this is good or bad at this stage, but it can be understood that Benioff and Weiss may prefer other projects after the whiplash that the final episode of the fantasy saga had in 2016.
Brienne of Tarth could be in the mix
The first co-star to give her blessing to SNOW, after Emilia Clarke, was Gwendoline Christie, beloved by fans as the knight Brienne of Tarth.
In a statement to Collider this week, the actress explained that she loves, "The rumors around the Jon Snow spin-off," adding that "it's really amazing to hear this wave of interest, to see that people are still so invested, that the love [for GoT] is still so real. I think a lot of people want to see his story continue."
Should these words be considered an informal audition? Perhaps not, but a key part of the hype around SNOW revolves around the guessing game with respect to who Kit will be able to resurrect from the original cast.
SNOW is not the only spin-off being worked on
Making a recap, it is known from official sources that there are four live-action series in development for HBO. Three of them have been known about some time ago. Indeed, Ten Thousand Ships, about Nymeria, directed by Amanda Segel; Sea Sake, aka Nine Voyages, with Bruno Heller; and finally, Dunk & Egg's show, The Hedge Knight or Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, written by Steve Conrad, are on track. Steven Conrad, whom Martin mentions at the end, is working on a screenplay about events that took place 90 years before the Chronicles of Ice and Fire. He has never been involved in a project on GoT before, but his writing credits include Unfinished Business, The Pursuit of Happyness and The Weather Man on film, as well as Prime Video's Patriot on the TV series side.
If we're being brutally honest, as much fun as it will be to see Jon wielding a sword again, we were hoping to find out sooner where the heck Arya Stark was headed when she boarded that boat for as-yet unexplored corners of Westeros, but perhaps there will come a time when that will be told as well. In other words: Game of Thrones is back, and all is forgiven.
Meanwhile, Kit Harington…
When, months passed, rumors about the making of House of The Dragon 2 continue to be more than rumors about the other GoT spin-offs and sequels, Kit Harington, amusingly and to the delight of fans, returns to talk, in his own way, about what Jon Snow is all about.
In an interview in which he reveals on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that his wife, Rose Leslie, is pregnant and he is about to become a father for the second time, the actor, while not giving away (I can't say anything), comments with a keen sense of humor on the effects of the long wait for the new project that is supposed to bring him back to Westeros to be ignited. "Every once in a while I walk down the street and … some people don't recognize me!" said Harington to Fallon. "My ego kind of gets hurt. I'm one step away from thinking about putting on something furry." And again, "I'm keeping track of how many less pictures the fans ask me to take, I know that how much it drops below a certain quota, then, I'll do the sequel," he closed, jokingly.