If you were struggling to wrap your head around exactly what happened during the Battle of Winterfell on Sunday night’s Game of Thrones episode—”The Long Night”—you weren’t alone. Following the episode, viewers took to Twitter like a hoard of white walkers to complain that the climactic fight scene was shot too dark, forcing them to squint their way through the action.
Me trying to see who is dying with this dark ass screen #BattleOfWinterfell pic.twitter.com/dItq6FbhcO
Standing in front of my tv tryin’ to see who fightin#GameOfThrones #GoT #BattleOfWinterfell pic.twitter.com/0EEGP7P0D5
me tryna make sense of what’s going on with all these dark scenes #GOT pic.twitter.com/l7Nbg5MPaB
Game of Thrones cinematographer Fabian Wagner, however, is having none of it. Wagner, who also shot pivotal, action-oriented episodes such as the “Battle of the Bastards,” defended the choice to keep viewers very literally in the dark. In a recent interview with TMZ, Wagner said that GoT “has always been a very dark and cinematic show” meant to be watched at night—preferably in a dark room. And if you’ve got a problem with that, well, you probably need to just turn the lights down, adjust your TV settings, or quit trying to watch it on your phone.
“We tried to give viewers and fans a cool episode to watch,” he said, adding that, “I know it wasn’t too dark because I shot it.” Well. Okay, then.
He also said the footage was intended to feel a bit claustrophobic, the way a battle would feel if you were truly in the thick of it. Finally, Wagner pinned some of the blame on the compression of popular streaming services such as HBO GO, which sometimes reduce the quality of the video to improve buffering speeds. So if you’re streaming the next episode, you might just want to say a prayer to the Lord of Light before the next battle.
Episode four of Game of Thrones will air in the US on HBO this Sunday at 9 p.m.
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