5 Times Jon Snow Should Have Died (& Why He Didn’t)


Jon Snow might have been one of Game of Thrones‘ luckiest characters, as well as one of its unluckiest. Throughout his childhood, Jon endures scorn for being a bastard. His tenure with the Night’s Watch is no better. He lives a harsh life in the bitter cold at the Wall, risking his life to fight wildlings and White Walkers, and even facing betrayal from his own sworn brothers.

RELATED: Game Of Thrones: Jon Snow’s 5 Best Speeches (& 5 Worst)

And yet, Jon survives continuous brushes with death in a way that would make Robb Stark envious. Melisandre saves him from the grave in season 6 after he is murdered, when she resurrects him with the fiery magic of R’hllor. There are several moments in the series that saw Jon face certain defeat. Thankfully, the King in the North had allies to help save the day.

10 Should Have Died: Battle Of The Bastards

Soon after his resurrection, Jon Snow stares down certain peril once again during the bloody battle against the Boltons. Jon’s chances of victory initially seem slim. The former Lord Commander has wildlings for allies, but his army is outnumbered by Ramsay Bolton’s.

To make matters worse, Jon rushes into the battle in an ill-fated attempt to save Rickon from Ramsay. The battle commences, and it isn’t long before the Stark forces find themselves surrounded by enemies and facing defeat.

9 Why He Survived: Saved By Sansa & The Knights Of The Vale

Luckily for Jon, Sansa arrives to save the day, with Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale at her command. The Vale knights turn the tide for House Stark. The Boltons’ barricade is broken, and the mounted knights lay waste to the usurpers of Winterfell.

Sansa’s arrival is another stroke of luck that aids Jon’s survival. With the eastern kingdom as his allies, Jon is proclaimed as the new King in the North.

8 Should Have Died: Beyond The Wall

Jon Snow Beyond The Wall

The wight hunt wasn’t one of Tyrion Lannister’s best plans. In season 7, Jon leads a retinue of men beyond the Wall to capture a wight. The Northern king is motivated by a potential truce with Cersei, though it soon becomes clear that Jon’s quest is more of a suicide mission.

Jon and co. are swarmed by wights in the icy wasteland. The secret Targaryen heir would undoubtedly have perished were it not for Daenerys and her dragons — along with the return of another estranged family member…

7 Why He Survived: Saved By Benjen Stark

Jon Snow Benjen Stark Beyond The Wall

Daenerys manages to save Jon’s companions, including Ser Jorah, Tormund, and Beric. The Mother of Dragons has to make a hasty exit when the Night King kills Viserion, however. Jon is left behind to face the Army of the Dead alone.

RELATED: Game Of Thrones: 5 Ways Jon Snow Was A Worthy King (& 5 Ways He Wasn’t)

Fortunately, Benjen Stark makes a heroic return, saving his nephew from a grim fate. Jon rides back to Eastwatch, momentarily escaping the Night King’s wrath.

6 Should Have Died: The Long Night

Game of Thrones Battle of Winterfell Jon Snow Kit Harington

Jon escapes from the White Walkers in season 7, but the Night King and his army follow him south of the Wall with the newly undead Viserion. The living gathers at Winterfell for a final fight against the dead, led by Jon, Daenerys, and their allies.

Once more, the former Northern king is almost killed by wights. After falling from their dragons, Jon pursues the Night King for an epic sword clash — only to become surrounded by the resurrected corpses of the slain Unsullied.

5 Why He Survived: Saved By Daenerys

Daenerys and Drogon The Long Night

For the second time, Daenerys appears to save Jon from certain death. A fiery blast from Drogon incinerates the advancing zombies. Dany’s help saves Jon’s life and allows him to run to Bran in the godswood.

The Mother of Dragon saves Jon’s life at the cost of her own. Not only does she fall from Drogon after the dragon is swarmed by wights, but Jon ultimately kills her with a dagger to the heart during an embrace in the series finale.

4 Should Have Died: Confessing To Mance Raydar’s Murder At Hardhome

Jon Snow Hardhome Game Of Thrones

For a strong and skilled leader, Jon often struggled to communicate with his varying allies. In season 5’s “Hardhome,” members of the Night’s Watch travel beyond the Wall with Tormund, preparing to discuss a treaty after centuries of war.

RELATED: Game Of Thrones: 5 Ways Jon Snow’s Honor Was Admirable (& 5 It Was Annoying)

Jon inexplicably confesses to Mance Raydar’s murder while speaking with the leaders of the Free Folk. Enraged, the wildlings turn hostile and demand vengeance for the King Beyond-The-Wall.

3 Why He Survived: Saved By Tormund

Thankfully, Tormund is there to provide some much-needed context. The formidable wildling warrior informs his peers of the truth: Jon’s arrow was a mercy kill that saved Mance from suffering on a fiery pyre at Stannis Baratheon’s command.

Tormund vouches for Jon and endears the wildings to his cause. Without his intervention, the Lord Commander would have been killed by the Free Folk before the Night King’s devastating attack.

2 Should Have Died: Confronting Mance Raydar

Jon Snow Mance Raydar Game Of Thrones

Jon begins to demonstrate a new recklessness following the death of Ygritte. After the Battle of Castle Black, Jon disregards his safety to cross the Wall and treat with Mance Raydar. The two discuss their fallen friends while Jon waits for an opportunity to kill the wildling king.

Jon manages to lull Mance into a state of security, but not for long. The King Beyond-The-Wall soon realizes Jon’s true intent and prepares to take recompense against his former ally.

1 Why He Survived: Saved By Stannis

Ser Davos and Stannis

Jon would have met with a terrible fate were it not for Stannis and his forces. The Baratheon king arrives alongside Davos Seaworth, with his army behind him. The wildlings outnumber them, but against the strength of mounted knights, their chances of victory come at too high a cost. Mance surrenders to save his people. Thanks to Stannis, Jon survives to see another season.

The Lord Commander dodges death multiple times throughout the series, proving himself as one of the strongest — and luckiest — characters in Game Of Thrones.

NEXT: Game Of Thrones: 5 Times Daenerys Should Have Died Before The Finale (& 5 Reasons Why She Didn’t)

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Updated: November 20, 2020 — 4:00 am

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