Helen Sloan/HBO
Helen Sloan/HBO

7 Things We Learned About Jon Snow’s Fate From Game of Thrones Director Jeremy Podeswa

Helen Sloan/HBO
Helen Sloan/HBO

First things first: If you haven’t yet watched “Home,” Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, stop reading this right now, because we don’t want to spoil it for you.

For the past 11 months, fans of the HBO series have put forth all sorts of theories—some of them wishful, some of them solemn, and some of them just plain off-the-wall—about whether or not Kit Harington and, more importantly, Jon Snow, would be returning to the series for its sixth season (after he was brutally stabbed to death in the season five finale). And this past weekend, they finally got their answer: Jon Snow has been resurrected! Thanks to the witchy ways of Melisandre (though something tells us that’s one favor she’ll want to see repaid).

While much of the chatter in the past two days since the episode aired has been of the “OMG” and “WTF” variety, the episode’s director, Jeremy Podeswa (who was also at the helm of this season’s premiere episode, “The Red Woman”), sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to finally break the silence and dish on all the behind-the-scenes maneuverings that brought us to that final, climactic moment where Jon found his way back to the living. Here are seven things we learned from Podeswa’s interview.

1. THE SECRECY SURROUNDING THE EPISODE WAS “UNPRECENTED.”

For the better part of a year, fans have spent hours speculating about what might become of the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. And given that insider info is at a premium these days (yes, dollars are exchanged for good TV intel), keeping the plot twist secret was vital to its success.

“It was kind of unprecedented,” Podeswa said of the lengths taken to ensure there were no leaks. “Really, we were all very aware that this would be the major spoiler of all time if it ever got out. Everybody was very concerned about retaining the mystery for the audience and giving people the opportunity to discover it for themselves, rather than having it leaked. I think that's ultimately what people want. As much as people were asking me and everybody else on the show constantly if Jon Snow is alive or dead, I think really in their heart of hearts they didn't actually want to know.”

2. BUILDING TENSION WAS THE DIRECTOR’S HARDEST JOB.

When asked about the toughest part of staging Snow’s resurrection scene, Podeswa said that it was really about “establishing the right amount of tension through the scene, so you really didn't know up until the last second which way it was going to go. That was the biggest thing, creating a sense of mystery and magic around the whole thing. We really wanted that scene to be very beautiful, but also fraught with tension.”

3. THE FILMMAKERS LOOKED TO REMBRANDT FOR INSPIRATION IN DESIGNING THE SCENE.

Podeswa and his team looked to the work of Rembrandt—specifically, his 1632 oil painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp—as a reference to guide the visuals of the scene. “It had a very rich, textual, moody atmospheric quality. I think we were all in that space for a long time for this scene—while we were shooting all the scenes involving Jon Snow's body, really, but particularly the one where he's resurrected. Even though you're filming something and it's all scripted, there's still a sense of ritual about it because you're filming a ritual. It has all these little details that you want to capture, and a very specific mood and tone. It felt like we were in the process of a little ritual while filming it, actually. And it feels like that when you're watching the scene, in a way.”

4. PLAYING DEAD ISN’T ALWAYS AN ENJOYABLE TASK FOR AN ACTOR.

HBO

“I think he played dead really well,” Podeswa said with a laugh of Harington’s purposefully lifeless performance. “The great thing about Kit is he's an incredibly good sport. Whatever is required, he's there, one hundred percent … It's obviously not the most exciting thing for an actor to play [dead], of course, but he knew it was part of the whole arc of what he was going to be doing this season, and he was completely game.”

5. PODESWA IS GLAD THE BIG REVEAL HAPPENED IN EPISODE TWO.

While the director can’t speak to whether resurrecting Jon was always planned to happen in the second episode, he—for one—is glad it did. Particularly from a storytelling standpoint. “I'm not sure if there was speculation on doing it earlier or later. For me, it felt like a great time for it to happen. There's so much in the first episode of the show, so to put [Jon's rebirth] on top of it would have been a lot. I think it extends the tension a little bit longer, too.”

6. MELISANDRE CUTTING JON’S HAIR WAS NOT A CHEEKY NOD TO THE FANS.

Many TV conspiracy theorists believed that the key to cracking Jon Snow’s fate was to obsess over Harington's hair in the off-season. So when Melisandre cut Jon’s hair in the resurrection scene as part of the ritual, some fans wondered whether it was a cheeky way of saying "you know nothing" to members of the Harington Hair Patrol. Podeswa doesn’t think so. “From a ritualistic aspect, all of these things are very important. I won't speak to any sort of magic ritual, but it seems to me that hair and other aspects of the body are all very organic to any kind of magic ritual, especially when trying to revive somebody—that seems like it would be a natural thing to do, whether it's Jon Snow or not.”

7. RESURRECTING A CHARACTER, AS OPPOSED TO KILLING HIM, DOESN'T MEAN THE SHOW IS GETTING SOFT.

If there’s one thing that Game of Thrones viewers know, it’s that no one—not even their favorite characters—is ever safe. Which, for some, is what made Jon’s resurrection almost more surprising than his murder. “I think that the tone is so well-established at this point already that anything can happen at any time to anyone,” Podeswa countered when asked whether Jon’s resurrection was indicative of a larger overall shift in the show’s direction. “I think this is a very particular thing involving a major, major character, but I think the show is already established. There's a world of options.” (For those who want more proof that the show isn't getting soft, just re-watch all of Ramsay Bolton's scenes.)

[h/t The Hollywood Reporter]

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Central Press/Getty Images
Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
Central Press/Getty Images
Central Press/Getty Images

Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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iStock
11 of the Most Extreme Junk Foods Ever Created
iStock
iStock

It should come as no surprise that National Junk Food Day is traditionally celebrated on July 21—smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer, when the streets run thick with ice cream trucks and county fairs boast the kind of fried treats that can only be described as “awesome” (both in the modern sense and the more dated, whoa, we are in awe of that usage). But National Junk Food Day shouldn’t be celebrated with commonplace junk food; oh, no, it deserves something far bigger and better. So save your potato chips and chocolate bars for another day, and get ready to try some truly wild treats.

1. THE KFC DOUBLE DOWN


KFC

Perhaps the most unexpectedly clever way to create a new extreme junk food item is to turn a non-junky foodstuff into something that just oozes calories and decadence. Fried chicken giant KFC knew that—and played it up to major effect—when they introduced the KFC Double Down to America back in 2010. The sandwich foregoes the most traditional aspect of any sandwich (the bread!) and substitutes two fried chicken filets. In between the two pieces of chicken? Bacon, two different kinds of cheese, and the Colonel’s “secret sauce.” There’s no room for a bun here, folks.

2. PIZZA HUT'S HOT DOG STUFFED CRUST PIZZA

We may associate items like fast food pizza and hot dog-stuffed anything with all-American palates, but cheesy juggernaut Pizza Hut saw things a bit differently. In 2012, the chain introduced a pizza with a hot dog-stuffed crust to our neighbors across the pond, treating their UK customers to the kind of taste sensation some people might have had literal nightmares about. Is it a pizza? Is it a hot dog? Somehow, it’s both—and yet something much more.

3. FRIENDLY'S GRILLED CHEESE BURGERMELT


Friendly's

Once again, a wily restaurant chain took a normal food item—in this case, a hamburger—and amped up its junk factor by doing away with something as commonplace as buns, in favor of an entirely different (and, yes, very junky) item. In 2010, Friendly’s rolled out its very own spin on the Double Down, slamming a regular old burger between not one, but two grilled cheese sandwiches. Who needs buns when you can have four pieces of bread, gooey cheese, and unfathomable amounts of butter?

4. GUY FIERI'S CHEESECAKE CHALLENGE

Whiz-bang chef Guy Fieri has long drawn ire for his more wild culinary creations, but what sets his cuisine apart from that of other junk food aficionados is his steadfast dedication to the key elements of any extreme item: size and odd combinations. Fieri’s “Guy's Cheesecake Challenge” is currently on the menu of his Vegas Kitchen and Bar, but it’s easy enough to replicate at home: Just halve a cheesecake, throw it on a plate, and douse liberally with hot fudge, pretzels, and potato chips. (What, no bacon?)

5. DENNY'S FRIED CHEESE MELT


Denny's

In August 2010, Denny’s introduced the Fried Cheese Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with fried mozzarella sticks. Yes, it was served with both French fries and a side of marinara sauce, because it’s important to eat vegetables with every meal.

6. DUNKIN' DONUTS'S GLAZED DONUT BREAKFAST SANDWICH


Dunkin' Donuts

If you’ve ever hit up your local Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and found yourself stumped when it came time to decide if you wanted a donut or a breakfast sandwich to get your morning motor revving, Dunkin' Donuts came up with a brilliant culinary brainstorm in 2013: the fast food favorite unveiled a breakfast sandwich that used glazed donuts as “bread,” wrapped around bacon and peppered egg.

7. JACK IN THE BOX MUNCHIE MEAL

What Jack’s Munchie Meals lack in creativity, they more than make up for in pure, unadulterated size and content. Each Munchie Meal—there are four total—features a massive sandwich (from the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger to the Spicy Nacho Chicken Sandwich, and all sorts of wild fried things in between) accompanied with two beef tacos, “Halfsies” (a combo of fries and curly fries), and a 20-ounce fountain drink. These intense snack boxes are still available at most Jack in the Box locations, but you’ll have to wait until after 9 p.m. to procure your very own.

8. PIZZA HUT CHEESY BITES REMIX PIZZA

Apparently, there’s nothing that Pizza Hut loves more than using its crust as a delivery system for other junk food items. The hut that pizza built may have crammed hot dogs and hamburgers on to their pie sides, but there was something special about the Cheesy Bites Remix pizza. It featured fried cheese pockets stuffed with three different varieties of extra junk, from spicy seasoning to cream cheese and sesame to mozzarella and parmesan.

9. DEEP FRIED BUTTER

County and state fairs have long been hotbeds (sizzling, oily hotbeds) of wild, deep-frying invention. Dunking things in batter and then tossing them into a vat of oil is a nifty way to turn almost anything into a delicious crisp pocket of junky decadence, perfect for utensil-free eating—but that doesn’t mean that everything needs to get the deep-fried treatment. While deep-fried Oreos may be a stroke of brilliance, deep fried butter is just plain madness. Here’s a quick test: If you wouldn’t eat something if it weren’t deep-fried, don’t eat it if it is deep-fried. When was the last time you ate an entire stick of butter? See? Point proven.

10. THE BACON BUN BURGER

Not content to have a bacon sandwich between two chicken filets? Is a grilled cheese bun replacement not for you? Then try making your very own hamburger buns out of bacon. Carbs are bad for you, right?

11. FRIED ICE CREAM SANDWICH

The Florida State Fair is the proud home of the first fried ice cream sandwich, a junky treat that bears a name that doesn’t even begin to explain what it holds between its buns. It’s not a fried ice cream sandwich so much as a bacon cheeseburger (technically a sandwich) topped with a ball of fried ice cream. It might be a good meal for multi-taskers—no need to worry about dessert—but it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing good for anything else.

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