Warning! SPOILERS ahead for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3 and episode 4 trailer.
Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3 "The Long Night" assembles almost every character for the Battle of Winterfell - even Jon's direwolf, Ghost is ready to fight. But what happens to Ghost after he charges in to battle?
Game of Thrones season 8 features the longest battle ever filmed for television, and what audiences are treated to in "The Long Night" does not disappoint. (Assuming viewers didn't find the episode too dark to see.) As one of the longest episodes of the series, episode 3 spends its entire hour and 20 minute runtime on the Battle of Winterfell. It begins with an opening charge by the Dothraki, their arahks burning with fire thanks to Melisandre. Both Jorah and Ghost join the Dothraki in their charge, but the attack completely fails. Game of Thrones then makes a point of showing that Jorah is one of the few who survive that charge, but where is Ghost?
After making that valiant charge against the Night King's army, Ghost never reappears during Game of Thrones season 8, "The Long Night." The easiest conclusion to draw is that Ghost doesn't survive that initial engagement. In fact, most who make that charge don't survive seeing as it's only a handful of Dothraki who return along with Jorah. However, in the preview for next week's Game of Thrones episode, Ghost can be seen among the crowd outside of Winterfell when the dead from the battle are being ceremonially burned. It's certainly a blink and you'll miss it moment (coming at roughly the :18 second mark), but it's enough to confirm that Ghost survives the Battle of Winterfell.
Ahead of Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3, fans were right to be worried about Ghost's chances. After all, the direwolves have not fared too well on the HBO series. Of the six direwolf pups discovered in that very first episode of the Game of Thrones, four of them are dead. Sansa's wolf, Lady is killed in only the second episode as punishment for Arya attacking Joffrey. Grey Wind dies at the Red Wedding along with Robb and Catelyn. Shaggydog, Rickon's wolf is killed off screen in season 6 when the Umbers capture the youngest Stark and bring him to Ramsey. And Summer dies when the dead attack the Three-Eyed Raven's cave, holding off the wights so Meera and Bran can escape. The only two surviving direwolves are Ghost and Arya's wolf, Nymeria - who after being driven off by Arya in season 1, now heads up her own pack of wolves in the Riverlands.
Having Ghost's survival confirmed is no doubt good news, but it may not mean he'll feature all that much in the remaining episodes. Ever since the dragons became larger and more vital to the story, the direwolves began appearing less and less. The reason for this is more practical than anything else - both the dragons and the direwolves are costly and time consuming visual effects, and when pushed to choose, Game of Thrones more often than not chooses the dragons (or giants or ice bear or whatever effect is need that episode).
Then again, the action in the remaining episodes is happening in the south, so there's an opportunity for something like Nymeria and her wolf pack to come into play again. Could Game of Thrones season 8 see a reunion between Nymeria and Ghost just like it did with Arya and Jon? It's certainly possible, but with only three episodes remaining, it may just be that the direwolves are not as important to the story as they once were. Still, Ghost lives to see another day, now if only Jon would act like he even cares about his direwolf anymore.
Game of Thrones season 8 continues Sunday, May 5 at 9:00pm on HBO.