When Jon Snow (Kit Harington) told his sister Sansa that “battles have been won against greater odds” in Season 6 Episode 9, he was not kidding. Throughout Game of Thrones’ past six seasons Jon has survived countless instances of combat, and against intimidating opponents.
So how has he managed to overcome such immense odds, and on so many different occasions? Is there something supernatural at work? Does Jon have superhuman abilities, or is it a mixture of both? To cut to the chase, is Jon Snow invincible?
This theory is not about whether Jon can be killed. In light of the Game of Thrones Season 5 finale that is clearly possible. Whether Jon is immortal since he has been brought back to life is another issue altogether. The question at the core of this theory is whether Jon, when given a fair chance, can be defeated in combat.
While Jon was murdered by the Night’s Watch, consider the circumstances. He was cornered without being given the opportunity to defend himself. He was stabbed in a sneak attack. He was never given a chance to fight back. When it has come to fighting on a battlefield or fairly facing close quarters combat, Jon has consistently succeeded despite daunting opposition. At the core of this theory is Jon’s seemingly endless endurance.
Does Jon Snow have powers?
Jon’s indefatigable strength is indicative of something not necessarily supernatural, but superhuman. What could explain this gift?
Many have theorized that Jon’s near misses and show of extraordinary resolve in the “Battle of the Bastards” might have been the result of a supernatural intervention at the behest of the Lord of Light. However, Jon has had exhausting battles before and managed to defeat his opponents, anyway.
As you can read about in Entertainment Weekly‘s episode recap, when the Wildings come over The Wall in Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 9 “The Watchers on the Wall,” he faces off against a massive Wildling adversary. At one point, the Wildling warrior knocks Jon’s sword out of his hands and seconds later begins pummeling him, even bashing his head against a solid object.
Jon is visibly injured and his bell clearly rung, yet he remains conscious. Despite being choked, Jon eventually finds a hammer and strikes the Wildling over the head, killing him. Jon’s resilience is clearly unusual in the world he lives in. So what could account for Jon Snow’s preternatural gifts?
The Targaryen effect
Jon Snow’s aunt, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is immune to fire, hence her nickname as “The Unburnt.” In Game of Thrones canon Daenerys is the only Targaryen known to present with supernatural or unexplained powers.
However, Jon has illustrated countless times the ability to survive, overwhelming circumstances. While it is not as flashy as walking through fire unscathed, Jon’s ability to survive what he has is impressively, beyond the ordinary.
Jon’s battle record before his death
Jon was doing super things before he was brought back from the dead. Jon’s behavior in the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones Season 6 is not much different than it has been in previous battles. In Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8 “Hardhome,” he faces off against a White Walker warrior. In the melee he suffers what should be mortal injuries. Instead, Jon keeps going and eventually kills the White Walker with Longclaw, due to the sword being made out of Valyrian steel, one of the White Walkers’ Kryptonite.
In Game of Thrones Season 6, Jon and viewers learned very little about what his revival means for him physically. When he came back from the dead, he was not instantaneously healed. He was portrayed convalescing for several episodes. Given that Jon’s scars from his life before he was brought back to life have remained, it is doubtful he was healed of every injury he had ever incurred to that point.
Beric Dondarrion magic
The Game of Thrones character Beric Dondarrion has been brought back from the dead many times via the Red Priest, Thoros of Myr. Remember, it was Melisandre’s knowledge of Beric Dondarrion being brought back repeatedly that gave her the insight to do the same thing for Jon. As of Season 6, there is no evidence that Beric received any super powers as a result of his repeated resurrections. Rather, he told Arya (Maisie Williams) that he loses an emotional piece of himself each time he is brought back.
Lord of Light magic
To believe the Lord of Light is responsible for intervening and saving Jon Snow during the “Battle of the Bastards,” does not explain how Jon survived all of his other near-misses. Unless you accept the Lord of Light interceded before Jon was brought back to life, protecting him during the events of “Watchers on the Wall” and “Hardhome.” That being said, battles are not the only thing Jon has survived against odds to the contrary.
In Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 2 “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” Catelyn Stark tells her daughter-in-law (Robb Stark’s wife Talisa) about Jon nearly dying from an illness when was a baby. Catelyn laments a deal she struck with the gods to accept her husband’s “son” so Jon would survive. She subsequently went back on it after Jon made a miraculous recovery.
Was it Catelyn’s broken deal with the gods that saved Jon Snow? Since Catelyn broke her promise and Jon still lived, that would indicate her deal had no influence on Jon’s recovery. It could have been the invincibility Jon has come to display in adulthood that played the major role in saving him back then.
Given his track record, it appears that Jon can withstand severe physical trauma, enduring it long enough to claim victory. Whatever its source, it does appear to be a special ability and he will need that gift more than ever in Game of Thrones‘ next season. As Jon Snow enters Game of Thrones Season 7 he is facing higher stakes than ever before. He is the King in the North, the leader of House Stark, and potentially, the true heir to the Iron Throne. Find out if he remains invincible when Game of Thrones returns this summer on HBO.
[Featured Image by Helen Sloan/HBO]