Game of Thrones Season 6 poster header

Game of Thrones thrives on big, buzzy plot twists, but some of them are better executed than others. The Red Wedding, for example, was the very best kind of surprise: shocking and devastating at the time, but inevitable in retrospect. Ditto poor Ned’s fate in season one. Jon Snow’s big season 5 cliffhanger, on the other hand? Despite the best efforts of the cast and crew, Kit Harington‘s return might be the worst-kept secret in television.

So Harington isn’t trying to keep it a secret anymore. The actor’s finally gone on the record to reveal he’ll be back for season 5… though he does not seem to have given up lying about why. Read his comments after the jump. (Spoilers ahead for season 5, plus speculation for season 6.)

Time Out London grilled Harington for details on Game of Thrones season 6. At first, the actor tried to play coy. “Look, I’m not in the show any more. I’m definitely not in the new series,” he said. But when pressed, Harington confessed, “I filmed some scenes of me being dead,” adding jokingly that “it’s some of my best work.” That’s about as far as Harington would go however, as he claimed to know nothing about the new season. Well, almost nothing: “I know how long I’m a corpse for, but I can’t tell you that!”

The news won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s even casually kept up with news about the series. Jon Snow’s apparently dead body has been a key image in the season 6 promotional campaign, suggesting there’s more to that story than the season 5 finale would have us believe. More damningly, Harington has been photographed on and around the Belfast set of Game of Thrones on numerous occasions. Which is probably why he’s given up lying about it.

It’s certainly possible that “dead is dead,” as the Game of Thrones cast and crew (including Harington) have insisted, and that we really are only seeing Jon Snow return as a dead body. Both Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) and Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) have returned just to play dead. There is reason to believe (via Vanity Fair) that Jon Snow will be a little more active than they were, but even if that’s the case, it can be explained away — Harington might be getting dream sequence, as Jason Momoa did after Khal Drogo’s death, or a vision or flashback of some sort.

But it’s also worth remembering that while, yes, “dead is dead,” “dead” doesn’t mean the same thing in Westeros that it does here. Dead people can be resurrected, as Beric Dondarrion was by the Red Priest Thoros of Myr (and keep in mind a certain Red Priestess happens to be hanging around the Wall at this very moment). They’ve also been known to come back as wights. Maybe Harington is being completely honest, and Jon Snow really is dead for good. But I wouldn’t bet the Lannister gold mines on it.

Game of Thrones season 6, which we know know for 100% certain will feature Jon Snow in some form or other, premieres April 24, 2016.

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