“Game of Thrones” Season 3 ended on a low point with the series’ most likely hero, Robb Stark, being brutally murdered by some of his presumed allies. With that storyline cut short, star Kit Harington tells Zap2it that Season 4 feels like a bit of a reset for the show as viewers refocus on the characters who are still alive.
“This season is quite interesting because you start fresh in a weird sort of way,” he says. “The Red Wedding kind of wipes the slate clean in a strange kind of way. You get rid of all the Starks, and then you start fresh. That was quite nice that we were just starting [to build] a new story in a strange way.”
So what is his character Jon Snow’s story this season? After two years away from the Wall, he returned at the end of Season 3, wounded from Ygritte after deserting the Wildlings. Harington says the Jon Snow who has returned to Castle Black is very different than the one who left it.
“What’s going to be quite interesting this year is seeing how brutal Jon becomes,” he says. “It’s a slow progress this season, but losing his love, losing his whole family in the Red Wedding, spending two years as a spy undercover, and then coming back to Castle Black hardens someone. To put it into a sort of modern context, when a young man goes off to war in our day and age, they’ve got that thousand-mile stare, and I think that’s what Jon comes back with a bit.
“I think his time with the Wildlings has really affected him, and it’s a profound effect,” Harington continues. “But also he comes back with a mission where he knows the Wildlings are going to attack and he’s got to start leading, because no one else will. And to lead he has to start speaking, and he’s never said more than three lines. You see him make speeches this season. It’s quite mad. It was quite weird talking as him. He usually absorbs things; he never actually talks. That’s the major difference, and that’s what changed in him since he came back from the Wildlings.”
Many fans — including cast members like Isaac Hempstead-Wright — view Jon Snow as one of the most likely people to right the wrongs in Westeros. Whether that means Jon ends up on the Iron Throne or being the Hand to Daenerys’ Queen or something along those lines, he is viewed as one of the main contenders for being one of the last heroes left alive in “Game of Thrones.” But Harington says he doesn’t look at Jon that way.
“I never see Jon as fixing everything in Westeros. I never see that as his mission,” Harington says, though he acknowledges later book storylines do deal with that. “For me, story-by-story, he’s most concerned about the White Walkers and the Wildlings. I don’t feel that pressure from the audience or fans, because I know what his mission’s going to be and I know what he’s going to do. I kind of see him as another cog, and hopefully an important cog in this story, but not really trying to be heroic. He’s never trying to be heroic; he’s trying to be practical.”
Jon views himself as having a simpler purpose in Westeros. “I think, on the surface — and maybe even to his mind — his sole purpose is to protect the Wall, be a part of the Night’s Watch, command the Night’s Watch and protect the realm against the White Walkers,” Harington explains. “Actually what’s going on inside him is a far deeper purpose about proving who he is to everybody. He’s got a very dangerous level of ambition that he doesn’t really know about, and also there’s vengeance there somewhere. To avenge his family is prevalent in his mind somewhere, but that’s going really sort of deep into who he is.”
“Game of Thrones” Season 4 premieres April 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.