SAN DIEGO -- President Barack Obama is just like you and me: He too walked away from the season five finale of HBO's "Game of Thrones" wondering whether a certain main character had really gotten the ax.
(Spoilers ahead: Read no further if you're not caught up on "Game of Thrones" or, like a certain CNET writer, wish not to wallow in any more agony.)
At San Diego Comic-Con's "Game of Thrones" panel Friday, show director David Nutter recounted his meeting with the US president around three weeks earlier. Obama, a fan of the hit fantasy series, put his hand on Nutter's shoulder and asked him, "You didn't kill Jon Snow, did you?'"
It's the question that's haunted "Game of Thrones" fans since the June 14 episode showcased beloved character Jon Snow's betrayal by his fellow brothers in the Night's Watch, who stabbed Snow and left him to bleed out on the ice-cold ground.
Unfortunately, Nutter kept stride with the series' showrunners and Jon Snow himself, the actor Kit Harrington, who have all said in one way or another that the character really is gone for good.
"Mr. President, Jon Snow is deader than dead," Nutter says he told Obama.
"Game of Thrones" has become a TV industry giant capable of holding its own against the biggest Hollywood film franchises and proving to be an unparalleled force of nature in pop culture. The show gained steam early on thanks to its gratuitous violence, nudity and a consistent crushing of viewers' spirits. It was an especially big hit within the tech community where a love of fantasy and science fiction was already strong -- and now finds its fans to be among the White House. HBO used the show to anchor the debut of its video-streaming service HBO Now, yet it still remains the most pirated program on the planet.
At Comic-Con -- the annual convention that has evolved from comics and geek culture to include all manner of television, film and general pop culture mania -- "Game of Thrones" is one of the rare instances where a television show pulls as much, if not more, weight than comic-book films and even franchises like Star Wars.
To raise the crowd's spirits, Nutter did shed light on some of Obama's more uncharacteristic entertainment consumption traits, like which "Game of Thrones" episode was the president's favorite. That happens to be season three horror show "The Rains of Castamere," otherwise known as "The Red Wedding," in which a brutal triple murder snatches three of the show's most-liked names in appalling fashion. Nutter also bore the burden of directing that episode.
"You keep killing off my favorite characters," Obama complained.