March 19, 2019 11:40 AM EDT

In the business of secret-keeping, the world’s most adept may include the entire cast and crew of Game of Thrones. The show’s twists and turns are so classified that even former U.S. President Barack Obama wasn’t permitted to know the truth about Jon Snow’s death.

In an interview with Variety, Kit Harington, the actor behind the iconic Lord Commander, explained the pressure he felt when his character was killed off in the show’s fifth season. “When you become the cliffhanger of a TV show, and a TV show probably at the height of its power, the focus on you is f—ing terrifying,” he said.

Public interest in Jon Snow’s death was piqued to the point of no return. Variety reports that Obama himself couldn’t help but ask: Would Jon Snow come back to life? The President asked the question to then-CEO of of HBO, Richard Plepler, during a state dinner. But just like the rest of the nation’s viewers, the President would have to wait until the next season to find out. “Mr. President, even your security clearance isn’t high enough to give you the answer to that,” Plepler said.

Obama’s love for Game of Thrones is well-documented. In 2016, he filmed a video for Buzzfeed that encouraged Americans to register to vote. One activity more difficult than registering, the President said, was naming every single Game of Thrones character that had died — and despite his avid viewership of the show, he couldn’t name them all.

Write to Rachel E. Greenspan at

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