[This article contains SPOILERS for Game of Thrones season 6 episode 9, ‘Battle of the Bastards.’]
The penultimate episode of any season of Game of Thrones is bound to be an exciting one. For example, the ninth episodes of past seasons have included season 3's "The Rains of Castamere" with its Red Wedding and season 4's "The Watchers on the Wall" with its wildling assault on Castle Black. Season 6 was no exception, with this past Sunday's "Battle of the Bastards" including an epic clash between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton.
As is usual for any episode, "Battle of the Bastards" featured a wide cast of characters, both in the titular battle and elsewhere. One notable exception, though, was Jon Snow's direwolf, Ghost. Ghost has been Snow's fierce defender since the show's first season, but was entirely missing from the most recent episode at a critical moment. It may seem like an oversight, but according to the episode's director Miguel Sapochnik, there was a good reason for it.
Speaking to Business Insider, Sapochnik explained that the original plan was for Ghost to play a big role in the episode, but that was ultimately cut due to time and budgetary constraints. There was a lot of CG in "Battle of the Bastards," but apparently Ghost was just one CG character too many:
"[Ghost] was in there in spades originally, but it's also an incredibly time consuming and expensive character to bring to life. Ultimately we had to choose between Wun-Wun and the direwolf, so the dog bit the dust."
Wun-Wun, for those not on a first-name basis with him, is the giant who assisted Snow in his battle to take back Winterfell. Like Ghost, his presence in the show demands heavy use of CG. Whereas for Ghost the CG is primarily due to safety concerns for both animal and humans, with Wun-Wun it's because it takes a lot of work to make someone look that tall:
"Anything with the giant is a challenge, because he's not there, and you have to shoot multiple layers for each shot, and get extras to react to something that doesn't exist, and then shoot the actual giant played by Ian Whyte months later on a green screen stage."
Of course, the producers of Game of Thrones won't have to spend the time and effort to bring Wun-Wun to the screen after "Battle of the Bastards," as the giant heroically gave his life to give Snow a chance to beat Ramsay senseless. Ghost's absence from the episode, though, means he continues to escape the gruesome fates that have befallen his direwolf siblings. The question still remains of what exactly Ghost was doing while the battle was going down, but it's doubtful that answering that question will be a top priority for the next episode.
The Game of Thrones season 6 finale, ‘The Winds of Winter,’ airs Sunday, June 26, 2016 on HBO.
Source: Business Insider