Director David Nutter has come to the defense of the latest episode of Game of Thrones, and the way in which Jon Snow bid a final farewell to his loyal direwolf Ghost. Episode four of Game of Thrones' eighth season, titled "The Last of the Starks", saw Jon departing his home of Winterfell and sending Ghost off to the true north. Some were unsatisfied with the way the scene played out, as it seemed Ghost was once again being pushed out of focus.
"The Last of the Starks" continued the trend of moving Ghost into the background, in what's implied to be the direwolf's final scene. While the episode contained a number of shocking deaths and set up certain plot developments, it also saw Jon say goodbye to his closest friends: Tormund Giantsbane and Samwell Tarly. His final goodbye, however, was to Ghost. After surviving the Battle of Winterfell, Jon decided the direwolf needed to live out the rest of his years in the wild where he belonged. Fans took issue with how the scene played out as, despite raising Ghost almost from birth and fighting alongside him in his most important battles, Jon sent him off without so much as petting him or saying goodbye. In fact, the two weren't even onscreen together when Jon left Ghost behind, and fans aren't happy.
In response to the backlash toward the scene, the episode's director, David Nutter, has come out with a statement that reveals there was a practical reason for Ghost being pushed to the side. Speaking with The Huffington Post, Nutter said, "Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible." He felt that, ultimately, keeping Ghost and Jon separate worked better for the scene. He went on to say that the limitations led to a scene that "played out much more powerfully," with Jon and Ghost simply turning away from each other in contrast to the longer goodbyes Jon had with Tormund and Sam. Kristofer Hivju and John Bradley, the actors behind Tormund and Sam, respectively, backed up Nutter's sentiments and argued that the solemn goodbye was perfectly in character for Jon.
Game of Thrones' VFX supervisor Joe Bauer had previously addressed the hardships of bringing the supernaturally large wolves to life. According to Bauer, the VFX team films real wolves, scales them up, and edits them into their scenes. The process is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, particularly because the wolves may behave differently than expected. That was the reason Ghost wasn't in season 7, and why his appearances have been so sporadic throughout the show. Bauer claimed that Ghost would have "a fair amount of screen time" in season 8, but that doesn't seem likely now.
"The Last of the Starks" may end up best remembered as the episode that featured a Starbucks cup in a shot, but it will also go down as one of the episodes that signals the beginning of the true final act of Game of Thrones. Fans will undoubtedly feel let down that Ghost may not be part of that final act, but at least it looks like he'll be one of the few to make it out alive.
Source: The Huffington Post