Game of Thrones fans were none too pleased when the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell finally went down on Sunday’s “The Long Night,” because … no one could see a damn thing that was happening on screen. Viewers flooded to social media to complain about the episode being too dark — so dark in fact, that it was difficult to make out key points in the action, leaving many to wonder about the fates of certain characters.
Well, now the episode’s cinematographer Fabian Wagner has weighed in, and he’s blaming HBO for the blunder — mostly! Wagner, who has also worked on action-heavy episodes such as “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards,” told TMZ that the pixelation and darkness was due to the HBO’s compression of the episode, which results in poor visual quality:
Fabian says, “We tried to give the viewers and fans a cool episode to watch,” and he believes they did, adding … “I know it wasn’t too dark because I shot it.”
That said, Wagner points out that the goal of the director and showrunners were that the episode be dark (just not like, that dark), and that the battle scenes were intended to be “intense, claustrophobic and disorienting” — as they would have been for the characters themselves:
As Wagner puts it … “[GoT] has always been very dark and a very cinematic show” and should be watched in a dark environment. Ideally, this means viewing it like you would a movie — in a dark theater.
Since that’s not realistic for ‘Thrones,’ Fabian suggests making your viewing room at home as dark as possible, avoid watching on your phone or in places that are lit up … and adjust your TV settings.
Oh, believe us, we tried. At any rate, while the “great” battle may have been too dark, it would seem that the “last” battle will go down at the significantly sunnier King’s Landing, and hopefully won’t face the same issues. Here’s an episode preview.