Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are both shows with well-earned reputations as ruthless character killers, axing fan favorites and villains alike often without warning. Lately, though, TV’s two most brutal shows have something else in common: They’ve both gleefully teased fans with whether a particular is alive or dead.
SPOILERS for both shows follow, obviously.
In the final moments of the Game of Thrones season finale earlier this year, we all watched as several Brothers of the Night’s Watch stabbed their own Lord Commander, Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Though this also happens in the books, many fans still have Jon pegged as one of the characters who will survive the entire series, and neither the show nor George R.R. Martin’s novels has given us a definitive answer to the “alive or dead” question. We see him bleed out. We don’t see him buried.
Speculation over Jon’s fate was already rampant among Thrones fans, but HBO decided to turn up the tension this week with the release of the first official teaser poster for the show’s upcoming sixth season.
Yes, that’s Jon, bloody but apparently upright with his head bowed. When the image was released, it promopted plenty of “JON’S ALIVE” fan glee — but is he really? We know that various types of resurrection exist on the show, not all of them good, so he could be “alive,” but he might not be Jon. We have to wait until April to get the whole picture.
Because HBO is still making us wait, the official Twitter account for The Walking Dead decided to go ahead and have a little fun at Thrones’ expense.
And you guys thought WE were torturing our fans… https://t.co/TJbjPHgVix— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) November 23, 2015
The joke, for those of you who don’t know (why you’re still reading this if you’re one of those people, I have no idea), is that The Walking Dead also recently “killed” a character in a cliffhanger, only to resolve things just weeks later. On the October 25 episode “Thank You,” fan favorite character Glenn (Steven Yeun) was apparently killed when he was pinned down by a comrade’s body amid a sea of Walkers. Fans were heartbroken, though it was quickly pointed out by many that there were ways for Glenn to escape. The episode immediately following “Thank You,” which fans hoped would answer the question, instead focused on a flashback. It wasn’t until last Sunday’s episode, “Head’s Up,” that we found Glenn did in fact escape. Needless to say, a lot of fans are thrilled, but the move has also been met with criticism. This is a show well-known for its merciless treatment of characters, and then a huge chunk of the season so far was devoted instead to a strung-out plot twist. So, is The Walking Dead really on firm ground when it mocks Game of Thrones? We’ll have to see how the latter show deals with its own alive-or-dead character in the spring.