The most recent episode of Game of Thrones featured pretty much every character in the north fighting in a brutal battle for control of Winterfell, but many viewers noticed that a key player was mysteriously absent. Now, director Miguel Sapochnik has spoken out about the reason why.
In an interview with Business Insider, Sapochnik explained why they had to make the tough decision to cut Jon Snow’s loyal direwolf companion Ghost from the episode. “[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 (the giant) and the direwolf, so the dog bit the dust.
Unsurprisingly, even with Ghost’s absense, “Battle of the Bastards” was still an incredibly expensive episode to make, requiring 25 days to shoot, as opposed to the typical one to two week schedule most Game of Thrones episodes take. In a different interview with IGN, Sapochnik talked about how the sequence was originally twice as large as it ended up being on TV, with sequences like Ramsay’s army’s wall of shields originally being designed as a wall of men on horses. Naturally, it became clear pretty quickly that this was too impractical.
At least by being left behind, Ghost was spared from the kind of fate suffered by Wun-Wun and countless others who participated in the episode’s bloody battle. We don’t think we’d be able to handle another direwolf death at this point.