Finn Jones Talks Loras and How He Thinks Game of Thrones Should End

Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell in The Winds of Winter Game of Thrones

One of last season’s most dearly departed, Finn Jones who played Loras Tyrell since season 1 of Game of Thrones, has a great new interview with Vulture this week. The actor talks about his new gig, filming Iron Fist, but still has time for a few questions about his work on GoT. As always, Jones is delightfully forthcoming and creative in his responses.

The actor discusses his final season on the show, and Loras’ trial, revealing that when Loras’ forehead is being carved with the seven-pointed star, episode director Miguel Sapochnik‘s wife and 2-year-old daughter were on the set watching!

He also addresses something I’ve been idly wondering about since last season- whatever happened to Olyvar (Will Tudor), who seemed to disappear without a scratch once he’d made his public accusation against Loras. When it comes to Loras’ former lover, Finn says,  “I’m not even sure Olyvar’s alive at this point. I doubt he is.” He goes on to defend his own character’s actions during the trial, when he confessed his “sins” before the Sparrows in order to be freed, and asked to join their numbers.

Jones says to Vulture, “A lot of people said, ‘Oh, Loras is weak. Why didn’t he stand up for himself? He’s supposed to be a warrior!’ All this shit. The show didn’t show much of Loras’s torture, so it might be hard to find empathy with his situation, but when you get into the mindset of what it must be like to be down in those dungeons, he would have been abused. Pretty badly abused. I think a Theon-level of abuse when on down there. His spirit, his body, and his mind were broken to such a drastic extreme that he was willing to just do anything to make it stop. I believe what happened is they gave Loras a speech to read and said, “Look, you just turn up on the day, say this, and then you’ll be free.” So the way I played it, the speech that you hear me do, those weren’t my own words. I was pretty much forced against my will to deliver that speech.”

Something that sets Finn Jones apart from the rest of the cast is that he’s always had a LOT of opinions about Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire. I don’t blame most of the stars of the show for not reading the books or paying much attention to the endgame beyond their own character- it’s not required for doing their job as an actor. But it’s always been a pleasure to watch Jones nerd out over Westeros and he really goes off in this interview with his view of how the war for the throne and the battle between ice and fire should play out.

He explains, “I think what needs to happen is ice and fire are going to go to war, a huge war between those two factions, and I think in that war, they will destroy themselves. There will be complete chaos, complete destruction. It’ll just be a war-torn map. And I think out of that winter carnage, spring will follow, and what we’ll see is power being given back to the individual realms. I think the Iron Throne will be dissolved, both physically and ideologically. A Small Council will be set up — not to take power, but to give power back. Hopefully, a more democratic and more progressive era will arise on Westeros.”

There’s more to his vision for the endgame, and he elaborates on how it ties into the current political climate of the world. Read that and much more at the source!

54 responses

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    1. Jones is absolutely correct about “Warriors should be difficult to break with torture” idea. Warriors were trained to fight, and to do things associated with fighting. They rarely if ever were trained to withstand torture. During medieval times, Church torturers had no more difficulty torturing false confessions out of warriors than out of other people. Fight while still in pain? Sure: as most warriors today will still tell you, you don’t notice the pain as much until after the fight. (Then it hurts like all hell.) But endure pain without being able to fight back? That in itself would be extra torture for a warrior!

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    2. I think one of the problems I had with season 6 is that we’re supposed to assume certain things happened off screen and that hurts a lot of character arcs and development, especially Jon, Sansa, Loras, Rickon and Tommen’s. Several fans seem to find it difficult to look beyond the surface level.

      I don’t think we’ll be seeing Olyvar anymore either.

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    3. Regarding Jones’ idea of republicanization and democratization of Westeros: this is a popular one, but I just do not see it really being developed in either the books or the show. The most “republican” character is Daeny: and what she really represents is someone who favors constitutional monarchy. Now, constitutional monarchy is a huge step towards republicanism and/or democracy. After all, the Magna Carta is considered a major event in the evolution of democracy because it gave anybody other than a monarch some say in what happens.

      Both Book!Daeny & Show!Daeny have expressed this in varying ways. Both Book!Jon & Show!Jon express some limited admiration for the Wildlings, who have a crude sort of republicanism. Both Book!Tyrion & Show!Tyrion and Book!Arya & Show!Arya shows definite contempt for the associated structures of aristocratic rule, but neither go the full monty regarding the throne itself.

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    4. Flayed Potatoes,

      Loras was in the hands of religious fanatics. Of course he was being tortured. The show has shown torture in cases where we could not automatically assume it (specifically, Theon by Ramsay).

      But the bigger difference is that Theon also is a minor protagonist, whereas Loras is just a supporting character. (Ditto that for Rickon and Tommen.) If a protagonist is getting tortured, then we need to see points where the torture does or fails to breaks him/her. That is something creating story. But showing this stuff for non-protagonists muddles the story (unless a protagonist is involved in some other character-changing way).

      As for Sansa & Jon, yes, they are protagonists, but their issues were entirely in their heads that they would not openly discuss with other people. The “behind the scenes” stuff would have been the two of them pacing about fretting. The show did a good job of showing that they were struggling with the some weighty issue, and it should have been obvious as to what those were (“Why am I not still dead” and “Whoops: should I have taken Littlefinger’s offer?”) Jon even had two brief “talk it out” scenes with Melisandre that actually came off OK: the “there was nothing” and “don’t bring me back.”

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    5. Wimsey,

      Instead of Jon and Sansa talking about their experiences, we get a scene about pies. Does Sansa even care that her brother was killed and resurrected? Honestly, it doesn’t make her look good. This is the first time Sansa has been in contact with magic, so her reacting to this would be important. Does she know or care about WW coming to destroy everyone? I’d say it’s important. We got no scenes of Rickon and Ramsay, which made some feel less sympathetic about what happened to Rickon and about Jon trying to save him. A brief 1-2 minute scene does wonders even when the characters aren’t necessarily protagonists. But whatever, to each his own.

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    6. Wimsey,

      Yeah, I don’t think that’ll happen either. Westeros won’t be seeing democracy any time soon. It’s best hope for a more peaceful and structured form of government is Daenerys !
      But she’ll probably die so they’re pretty much f*cked. Hopefully Tyrion and Varys make it. They’re my second best option.

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    7. Wimsey,

      I mean the North did pretty much elect someone who would normally be looked down upon in Westeros’s feudal system as King. I’d say that’s at least one small step in the right direction. Maybe they can carry on the tradition and not just with Starks.

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    8. I don’t think there will be a democracy per say, I can see Westeros reverting back to the pre-Targ days where there were seperate kingdoms. Show-Dany already promised the Ironborn freedom to rule themselves as long as they stop their pirate ways & the North is already its own kingdom.

      I think Dany will set a central-government but the realms will have more freedom to do their own thing as long as they stay within the law.

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    9. Wimsey,

      Wimsey, I absolutely disagree with you. I don’t know whether medieval knight were trained to withstand torture, but I could give you a long list of medieval lords, commanders, and rulers who were flayed alive, crashed on wheals, torn apart by horses, had their guts pulled out of their bellies etc., and quite a lot of those managed to die with honor.
      Besides, that tortures are not some long-forgotten medieval phenomenon. There are plenty of countries in which they happened quite recently; there are plenty of countries in which they are happening right now. And there are people who manage to withstand torturing somehow. So, sorry, but what Jones said about his Loras made me despise this character even more (in fact, I had a hope that Loras really understood his sins, just like Theon, but if that wasn’t the case, no problem: he was a summer knight after all). BTW, it never looked like Loras underwent a real physical torture: the High Sparrow relied on more elaborate methods, which take more time, but he was always ready to spare time for things he deemed to be worth.

      And as for those progress & democracy spring dreams, I know it’s a common belief of our Western culture that progress & democracy go hand in hand. Unfortunately, the reality is much more complicated and progress was mostly brought in by an enlightened absolutism in one or another form, whereas democracy often worked against it. So, I am kind of happy that there is no set up for “democratic developments” in the show or the books.

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    10. Ser Onion Knight,

      The realms always has plenty of freedom to do whatever they wished with their interior affairs: that’s the essence of the feudal system after all. So, I don’t see how Dany or anyone else could give them even more freedom, or how more freedom could solve any problems. There has not been any set up that any of the Seven Kingdoms had problems with the central government because that central government tried to undermine their autonomy in any way (attempts to stop pillaging and reeving of the Ironborn don’t count).

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    11. One of Roose Bolton’s 20 Good Leaches,

      Portugal did exactly the same in 1385, but there was no rise of democracy in Portugal after that (luckily). And in general, democracy was (and is) a very tricky system. I may be very efficient in the face of danger, if a nation really shares and realizes its common interest, but it may turn into a complete failure, if there is no fundamental consensus on the common national interest as such (and the Seven Kingdoms would be the later case).

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    12. I like what Finn has to say about the end, and the power of a tv show of this magnitude:

      The world is a really fucking weird place right now, and we need someone telling a hopeful, positive, progressive story about politics and power. Why not let it be Game of Thrones, one of the most watched shows, if not the most watched show, in the world? Have a real powerful statement that the power should not be in a throne, or in one centralized pinnacle of power. The power should be in individual democracies, in individual communities. It shouldn’t be an oligarchy, or some small group of elite. Power should be with the people and not with some politician or some heir to the throne or some madman.

      http://www.vulture.com/2016/12/finn-jones-game-of-thrones.html

      I too think that the ‘message’ should be a hopeful one. The last book is, after all, set to be titled A Dream of Spring. Though I don’t think it will be a democracy or anything similar, but a dream of the individual characters for a better future, one that takes the ‘bitter’ out of their past experiences and frames it in a way that they realize that without the trauma and tragedy that went before they would not be where they are or who they are. That they were made better for it, i.e. the “bittersweet” ending that GRRM has consistently said he was shooting for.

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    13. As much as I’ve enjoyed D&D, they truly screwed up with a few characters. Loras, Ellaria, and the SS. They were all so cool from the book, and the show ruined them.

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    14. It is a nice sentiment by Finn Jones, but one I doubt happens in the source material. I don’t think GRRM has a planned democracy. I have no idea how the show will end, they claim the same, but who knows. We in fact may never know, if GRRM doesn’t finish the series. But maybe they do something different in the adaptation and do something like Finn Jones is advocating for.

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    15. How Game of Thrones should end? Jon and Dany on the Iron Throne, bunch of babies running around, them rulling on newly made Iron Throne with Tyrion deside them and dragons flying above. Oh wait, Game of Thrones is not a fairytale story nor we’ll get to see a happy ending. Jokes aside. He’s got a pretty good idea all around. Pretty sure the Iron Throne will stand and someone will sit on it.

      Flayed Potatoes,

      Instead of scene with Osha and Ramsay. Some scene with Rickon would’ve been nice because not a lot of people were engaged in this aspect of the story. Rickon is a Stark but barely featured, last time it was season 3. Sansa was developed and in fact progressed as a chracter at Jon’s expense.

      Good point with magic but in general they downplayed resurrection as the whole thing. It was vaguely mentioned in one scene between Jon and Mel and that’s it. Resurrection itself was a bit of a dissapointment to Kit many fans from what I’ve gathrered.

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    16. Inga,

      Curiosity is getting the best of me….. “So, sorry, but what Jones said about his Loras made me despise this character even more (in fact, I had a hope that Loras really understood his sins, just like Theon, but if that wasn’t the case, no problem: he was a summer knight after all).

      What do you believe are his sins? Succumbing to torture?

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    17. Irina Stark,

      Eh there are other characters out there who care about Westeros. Some of you guys idealize Dany way too much and forget her solution to fight in Slaver’s Bay was to basically commit genocide and had to be talked out of it by Tyrion. She’s far from the perfect white knight some fans make her out to be just like the rest of the characters on the show. It’s not the end of the world if she dies at the end (which I doubt will happen anyway).

      Geralt of Rivia,

      Kit himself was disappointed by how the resurrection was handled so…

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    18. ramses,

      Lust for power primarily. He talked Renley into claiming the Iron Throne etc. But yes, succumbing to torture can also be seen as a sin. After all, Loras betrayed his sister Margeary who tried to fight for him, etc. So, no compassion really. Bad food, cool cell and a bit of beating is not that much of a torture.

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    19. Clob,

      Profligacy is a sin too. I won’t go into Loras’ orientation, but let’s be frank: Renley was not his only love, and Olyvar was just a male prostitute he used, and based on what his granny said to Tywin there had been lots and lots of others. So, yes Loras was profligate just as his sweet sister, and perhaps there was some justice in their death.

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    20. Inga,

      How do you know that those things you listed were the only weapons used to torture him? You don’t, you are only assuming. If I remember correctly in the books, Cersei the Queen Regent, was starved, beaten and sleep deprived. And The Faith did so much worse to her “accomplice” so it wouldn’t be far fetched to imagine that Loras was truly tortured while a prisoner of the HS, after all I don’t recall seeing naked Loras, so all the damage done to him may have been hidden by clothes. I’m not saying they went Ramsey on him but I wouldn’t be dismissive of his experience either.

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    21. Inga,

      Most of the stuff you’ve mentioned isn’t torture, it’s punishment. There’s a difference.

      And I have serious issues seeing which “sins” Loras committed that you thought he was supposed to understand – and why you hated him for it.

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    22. Flayed Potatoes,

      I know, Kit expected changes in Jon’s character and instead of it we got basically same Jon. George is not fan of it as Weiss and Benioff said. I expect George to push Jon more into grey area and not be this good guy. Because it just looke, they need him to get away from Night’s Watch but in truth resurrection should’ve had consequences for his character. Not entirely changed person but a bit grey character or darker.

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    23. Geralt of Rivia,

      There were good things about Jon’s return: How many “heroes” return from the dead, depressed as all hell, announce that there is “nothing” after it, proceed to hang a bunch of assassins, including a child? It was hardly glorious.

      Having said that, I’d have preferred a blue-eyed, scarier Jon. This Jon seems depressed, possibly in the middle of an angsty episode, but not particularly dangerous.

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    24. Danny,

      Well, my assumption is mostly based on what High Sparrow said about his experiences as a cobbler, especially about how much time a proper work takes. You see, it’s a tricky thing with torture or rather techniques of breaking human spirit. For instance, deprivation of sleep is one of the most efficient, but it really takes time (3-4 moths at least). On the other hand, starvation is not that efficient: it makes people passive and indifferent almost to anything even pain. Same applies to cold. And things like beating are the easiest thing to withstand. At least that’s what my grandpa told me based on his personal experiences at the NKVD prison. So, you see it’s hard for me to feel much compassion for Loras. The only thing I pity him for that he had no good motive to resist, and probably that’s was the main reason why he broke. He had no god in his heart to give him strength.

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    25. Inga:
      Clob,

      Profligacy is a sin too. I won’t go into Loras’ orientation, but let’s be frank: Renley was not his only love, and Olyvar was just a male prostitute he used, and based on what his granny said to Tywin there had been lots and lots of others. So, yes Loras was profligate just as his sweet sister, and perhaps there was some justice in their death.

      Wow. Just wow.

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    26. Mizzie,

      As for the torture and punishment, you are partly right: most of the recorded cases of these really gruesome tortures were punishments. But on the other hand, those tortures pursued the same purpose as all other tortures: to break a person, to make him/her forsake some beliefs, to confess some sins, etc. And not less gruesome torturing techniques were used on captives, when certain information had to be acquired (and still are, which is worth to be remembered every time we see some torturing in GoT).

      As for Loras, I have already written. IMO Loras’ main sin was his lust for power (and he admitted that in the deleted scene of S2). And that sin was heavier due to the fact that Loras never really desired power: he got engaged into the game of thrones just for fun which can also be seen as a form of profligacy and/or depravity. So, yes, in my eyes he was guilty for every sin he confessed. But that doesn’t mean I hate him: his pointless life and death simply leaves me indifferent and impatient to go through with it… which is also kind of punishment for Loras as a character…
      But we all have different moral convictions and cultural/historical background, so it’s natural Loras looks more appealing to you or anyone else.

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    27. ramses,

      I love Loras, but he has a few sins to answer for. Without him, Renly might not have rebelled against Stannis. How many people died because of that? Then there’s his killing the knights after Renly’s death. I think the show kept that. I get that he was out of his mind at that point, but still.

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    28. maria,

      Jon came back basically the same person. He had his a little bit of identity crisis but then poof as he was. More moody, angsty but he was supposed to be changed in the core. Resurrections were to be priceful acts. Ruthless, cunning etc sort of revealing you know a Targ side of ruthlessness. How does he even know there is nothing? He was dead, lost his consciousness.

      When he hanged traitors, he killed people before. I wouldn’t want Jon to be blue-eyed corpse or zombie, not that but changed not so subtle as it was.

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    29. This is to anybody at all. What were the charges brought against Loras by the faith militant? I’m not re watching the episodes right now, I need to sleep soon. As far as I remember his “crime” was having sex with another consenting male adult.

      maria,

      I certainly don’t remember HS supporting Stannis’ claim to the throne.

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    30. mau,

      Well, I was wondering that too and all I found about it was the following link. Don’t know if he was unhappy but the hints from Benioff seem to indicate whatever happens to Jon Snow in the books will be incredibly different and not even close to the same, which is kind of intriguing given their previous answers that the ending from the two will be the same. How much the same, I now wonder…

      http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/689847/Game-Of-Thrones-bosses-George-R-R-Martin-didn-t-agree-decision-resurrect-Jon-Snow

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    31. Inga,
      I’m just wondering why you’re so hung up on Loras sleeping with more than one person and Loras striving for power, when that is something that can be very easily applied to a ton of characters in this story, first and foremost Tyrion. Or do you perhaps see men who sleep with other men differently? Because it’s certainly coming across like you do.

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    32. ramses,

      I wasn’t thinking about what the HS might consider a “sin.” ita, HS would approve of Loras and Renly moving against Stannis. On the other hand, had Loras not encouraged Renly to rebel against Stannis, and had Olenna and Loras kept the Tyrells out of that war, Stannis would probably have won; Robb, Cat would probably be alive, etc. On the other hand, lots of other people would be dead, so it’s a wash.

      Geralt of Rivia: Jon came back basically the same person…

      I wouldn’t want Jon to be blue-eyed corpse or zombie, not that but changed not so subtle as it was.

      Ita that it’s a mistake to expect too much of a change. It has to be one of degree. Jon’s a pessimistic figure, even before his death. In season 5, he tells Sam that their only hope of fighting the Walkers is the Wall. There are not enough Valyrian steel swords, there’s not enough dragonglass in the world. That means he’s not going to try to put an arsenal together against the Walkers; they rely on the Wall. In that he’s a lot like Bowen Marsh of the books.

      He rises from the dead, even more hopeless and pessimistic than before. I think he’s at once suicidal and desperate to achieve something. That’s why he doesn’t delay to get more men, why he flushes his strategy to save his brother, etc. For me the key moment was his fighting to get out of that pit full of bodies. He could have easily given up right then.

      I’m making wild guesses, obviously. Had the show allowed Jon more self expression last season, there would be something more concrete.

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    33. Flayed Potatoes:
      Irina Stark,

      Eh there are other characters out there who care about Westeros. Some of you guys idealize Dany way too much and forget her solution to fight in Slaver’s Bay was to basically commit genocide and had to be talked out of it by Tyrion. She’s far from the perfect white knight some fans make her out to be just like the rest of the characters on the show. It’s not the end of the world if she dies at the end (which I doubt will happen anyway).

      Can I get a like button?

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    34. Mizzie,

      I thought how I could answer you all night and day long, but I just have a feeling that whatever I say, you will label me as homophobic. So, go on and be done with that.
      And if you think that I admire Tyrion’s whoring adventures, you haven’t been paying attention.

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    35. Flayed Potatoes: Does Sansa even care that her brother was killed and resurrected?

      We have no idea how much Sansa actually knows. She was not there, after all: she might think that he was simply very badly hurt and healed. Jon himself does not seem to want to talk about it: it is quite clear that the fact that death is just a void haunts him, and it is also quite clear that he was seriously shaken and disturbed by the fact that doing what he, Jon, recognized as the best course of action for everyone resulted in members of the NW assassinating him.

      It is also a case where not many people actually saw what happened. Only a few loyalists stood by Jon’s body. The Nationalists who attacked him and who were spared might simply be telling themselves that Jon was not quite dead and that the Witch spared him.

      But, ultimately, the only important thing for the story is how it changed Jon. Jon had a lot less verve and determination last year. There was a quiet swagger to the character in the prior two years: but Jon was a man with a definite lack of confidence last year. Of course, the reason is made quite plain: he now knows that there is nothing after life, and he both fears dying AND he fears being brought back from the dead. That’s not a good combination when you are at war.

      (Notably, Jon seemed to recover a bit towards the end of the year, either because of what transpired over the months between his revival and the Battle of the Bastards, or perhaps even solely because of the events of the Battle. His determination to save Rickon and then to capture Ramsay seemed to be a cathartic set of events that got Jon back to being Jon again; however, we will see next year how long that really holds.)

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    36. Geralt of Rivia: I wouldn’t want Jon to be blue-eyed corpse or zombie, not that but changed not so subtle as it was.

      The change in Jon’s character was hardly very subtle. It was very similar to portrayals of the “before” and “after” of characters that are supposed to be WWI survivors, or survivors of other great traumas. This is, after all, a character drama: so that’s the sort of thing we should expect.

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    37. maria: He rises from the dead, even more hopeless and pessimistic than before. I think he’s at once suicidal and desperate to achieve something. That’s why he doesn’t delay to get more men, why he flushes his strategy to save his brother, etc. For me the key moment was his fighting to get out of that pit full of bodies. He could have easily given up right then.

      Yes, learning that there is nothing after life, and at the same time dreading the idea that someone might pull you back from the void would be extremely unnerving: and S6!Jon was a man with greatly reduced nerve. (Jon has more nerve than most groups of 12 people, so his “reduced” is still probably more “ballsy” [to use a horribly sexist term] than most people: but it still was a far cry from Jon.)

      And I agree that the Battle was a turning point. However, I think that we began to see it with Jon’s parlay with Ramsay: a bit of the old Jon swagger came back. And when he saw his long lost little brother (OK, younger: I think that Rickon was bigger than Jon in the end!), he went back to being Jon, if only for a while. He clearly was neither afraid of dying or being brought back then: Jon was back to his “Saving People” mode. (Someday, someone should do a compare & contrast of both Jon & Daeny and Harry Potter for who has the biggest “saving people thing”) But that was all reflex and no thinking: I mean, nobody in their right mind would do what he did, but one truth of war is that nobody is in their right mind while the battle is happening or about to happen: it’s just instinct, nerve, guts, etc. So, when he quit brooding, he was back to being Jon again. The question is: will S7!Jon be back to full brood, or did the Battle somehow “heal” him somewhat?

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    38. I could see a council of leaders setting up around the painted table from Dragonstone and I think the Iron Throne will be destroyed or melted down to kill the NK.

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    39. Wimsey,

      And I agree that the Battle was a turning point. However, I think that we began to see it with Jon’s parlay with Ramsay: a bit of the old Jon swagger came back. And when he saw his long lost little brother (OK, younger: I think that Rickon was bigger than Jon in the end!), he went back to being Jon, if only for a while. He clearly was neither afraid of dying or being brought back then: Jon was back to his “Saving People” mode. (Someday, someone should do a compare & contrast of both Jon & Daeny and Harry Potter for who has the biggest “saving people thing”) But that was all reflex and no thinking:

      I’m not sure if Jon ever had “swagger.” He had sexy moping skills and cute hair and pretty puppy eyes.

      Re the Battle as Jon returning to “saving people mode”: I’m not sure.

      Multiple people on Jon’s side note that Ramsay outnumbers them. Jon’s only chance is strategy: He must force Ramsay to charge him. The plan is spelled out in detail more than once, and either Davos or Tormund reminds the soldiers right before the battle that they must stick to plan, force Ramsay to charge.

      …and Jon charges Ramsay, forcing his men to charge after him, allowing Ramsay to encircle them and start killing at will.

      I don’t think “reflex” is an excuse, as Jon isn’t some grunt who rushes off unexpectedly. He is the general who is responsible for all of his men, who knows the consequences of what he’s doing. Taking 3,000 men to their deaths is not what saviors do. It’s what suicidal generals do when they’ve stopped caring if they or their men live or die, if they win or lose. I think the big switch happens when Jon is buried alive. He has the option to simply die and disappear under a pile of bodies. He chooses to live.

      Anyway, I think the show is trying to “show, not tell” that being resurrected changed Jon. The change is a matter of degree: He goes from hopeless with Sam to near-suicidal in the beginning of the battle. I just wish there had been more words. Script is a handy thing.

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