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Spoilers on the most recent episode of Game of Thrones ahead.
Last week's episode of Game of Thrones, titled "Battle of the Bastards", was possibly one of the best episodes of all time. The episode first brought us some grade A dragon action, before focusing on the titular battle between the Stark forces and the Boltons. The battle itself was pure chaos and was extremely suspenseful, but there was one question that remained throughout all of the action: where the hell was Jon's direwolf Ghost? It seems logical that he would need all the hands (or paws) he could get in the battle. Well, now we have an answer.
The episode's director Miguel Sapochnik recently opened up to Business Insider as to why Ghost was left out of the battle. And it turns out, it's more fiscal than fictional:
[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.
As disappointing as it is, this makes a lot of sense. There was already so much crazy happening in the battle that finding moments to add Ghost into the chaos would probably take a great deal of time. We were shown the battle mostly through Jon's eyes, following each close call and near-death experience he had. If he were to have Ghost at his side the whole time it would have added another challenge for the animators and editors. And with the episode already so expensive, cutting Ghost out of the battle was one small way to save some money.
Additionally, having Ghost in the fray would probably have been very distracting for the audience. Game of Thrones viewers feel very strongly about direwolves, and we've already lost two this season. If Ghost's safety was questionable, the audience might not be having their head and eyes focusing on the important moments happening in the episode.
It seems that Ghost's absence wasn't only a financial decision. Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos in Game of Thrones, gave a more story-driven reason as to why Ghost doesn't take a bite out of some Boltons in an interview with Tech Insider
Yeah that would have been cool, [but] obviously a big battle like that is no place for a direwolf. They're not gonna last very long - I mean look at what happened to Wun Wun, the last of the giants.
This also makes sense. With so many arrows flying, horses trampling, and swords clashing, it seems like Ghost probably would have bitten the dust if he was fighting. Since he and Nymeria are the only surviving direwolves, the folks at Game of Thrones better keep Jon's wolf safe and sound. And I'm not sure how the pooch would have not been trampled when the bodies started piling high toward the end of the battle.
Do you think Ghost should have been in "Battle of the Bastards"? Sound off in the comments below.