Resurrection and Identity in Game of Thrones I – The Man of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones made its mark upon the public consciousness with its mix of fantasy and intrigue but also with its premium-channel willingess to “go there” with sex and violence. Thematically, this has been shown in numerous instances of the Death of the Hero. Not only were Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark shown to be flawed and destroyed by their enemies, but also their avengers – Stannis & Renly Baratheon, Robb & Catelyn Stark, etc., came to untimely ends before our eyes. Death is a god in the eyes of more than one set of characters in Westeros, and its reach, the shows seems to tell us, is unlimited.

Except not really. There are certain characters who still possess what is known as plot armor: they are too essential to the storyline, or readers have invested too much in them, to be discarded. Tyrion Lannister, Danaerys Targaryen, and others are all but assured of at least making it to the climax of the story. They may die in that, but their deaths are to be used on behalf of the climax, and not just as a consequence of their own flaws.

Consequently, this season of Game of Thrones has had a marked interested in the theme of Ressurrection. Characters are being brought back, symbolically and literally, from death and given a new lease on life. Concomitant with resurrections are a shift in identity. The dead/dying characters are not just reborn, but recast as someone new. In this space, I will discuss some of the characters who have or are experiencing rebirth this season. Today, we will deal with the obvious: Jon Snow.

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