TIME

Spoilers for Game of Thrones episode Mother’s Mercy follow:

It really shouldn’t be a surprise at this point when Game of Thrones offs a major character. Offing major characters is Game of Thrones‘ thing. But the show has never done one quite like this. Historically, these sorts of deaths haven’t been the last thing viewers see before waiting 40 weeks for their next fix. For obvious reasons, however, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss want the image of poor Jon Snow laying dead in a pool of his own blood seared into fans’ minds until the series returns next April.

Many of the reasons Snow’s death is sad are obvious. Yes, he was a genuine, honest-to-god protagonist in a show that has always been short on them. Yes, he was a good man on a show where good men have a lifespan shorter than a Baratheon bannerman. And yes…

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