Is Jon Snow Alive?
"Game of Thrones" Season 6 returns Sunday, which means fans will soon have an answer regarding Jon Snow's fate. HBO

The biggest question in TV since “Who shot J.R.?” will soon get an answer. The fate of Jon Snow hangs over "Game of Thrones" Season 6 as fans speculate about his death in the Season 5 finale. The cast and crew have said he's dead, but there are plenty of ways for Jon Snow to make a triumphant return.

Jon Snow Is Dead Forever

This is the least likely scenario. There’s too much circumstantial evidence, from set photos to hair length, which indicates Snow is alive. Maybe he becomes Jon Stark after he is revived by Melisandre, but actor Kit Harington is very much employed by HBO for “Game of Thrones” Season 6.

Fan rioting aside, Snow can’t be dead for structural reasons. Tyrion is busy dealing with the fallout in Meereen after Danerys took a flight on the back of Drogon only to be captured by a large contingent of rather gruff Dothraki. Bran just began his training with the three-eyed raven. Sansa has escaped, but is on the run with Reek/Theon. Arya is blind. Rickon is still missing. There are no characters that are as close to a conclusion in their story arc as Snow. Trusting show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who have said there may be just 13 episodes left, Jon Snow needs to be alive because it helps other storylines get closer to the finish line.

Jon Snow = Ghost

Not in the Casper sense or as an angry poltergeist slamming doors around Castle Black, but Jon Snow could come back in the form of his direwolf, Ghost.

In "A Dance of Dragons," Jon Snow was killed in much the same manner, but managed to say the name of his direwolf before his death. Considering House Stark and Jon Snow have shown an ability to warg, or transfer their consciousness to animals and humans, many assumed he managed to survive within Ghost.

Although the idea of a sentient Ghost running around the North trying to get someone to recognize him seems appealing, it's highly unlikely to happen in "Game of Thrones" Season 6. "Game of Thrones" carries a big budget that would skyrocket if the production had to add a CGI wolf to the series. The show, despite magic, dragons and other fantasy elements, remains relatively grounded. That careful balance would be stretched thin by a reincarnated Jon Snow in wolf form. In the "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels, Jon Snow and Arya Stark have dreams within their respective direwolves, but that ability has not been shown on "Game of Thrones." Ghost will appear in Season 6, but he won't be Jon Snow.

Jon Snow Is Alive

Everything is in place for Jon Snow to return to the land of the living, according to Elio Garcia, webmaster of "The most obvious one is that Melisandre, the eponymous 'Red Woman' of the first episode's title, will use sorcery to restore Jon Snow to life," Garcia told International Business Times. "After all, in the third season she learned that Thoros of Myr had brought Beric Dondarrion back to life on several different occasions."

There's another scenario that could work involving Bran Stark. "It seems slimmer on the show — whereas we think it is a good possibility in the novels — is that somehow Bran and the three-eyed raven will use magic to accomplish the same end," said Garcia.

The formerly dead member of the Night's Watch would be free of his oath to protect the Wall, which lets "Game of Thrones" reunite him with his sister, Sansa Stark. Jon Snow could stay on the Wall to battle against the White Walkers or he could head south to defend Winterfell. In "A Dance of Dragons," Snow decides to break his vow and fight the Boltons after receiving a letter from Ramsay Bolton stating he has defeated Stannis Baratheon's army and captured the King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder.

Because the production of "Game of Thrones" does not happen in a bubble, there are leaks that shed some light on Jon Snow's fate. A few set photos have linked Jon Snow to the big battle featured in the "Game of Thrones" Season 6 trailers. How he gets there — or why he decides to depart from the Wall — is still unclear. Considering the "Game of Thrones" Season 6 episode titles "Home" and "Oathbreaker," it's likely viewers will get an answer within three episodes.