During the climactic ‘battle of the bastards,’ Game of Thrones fans were left wondering where one of Jon Snow’s staunchest allies was.
Snow’s loyal dire-wolf Ghost was mysteriously missing from the battle, which saw Stark loyalists led by Jon Snow clash with Ramsay Bolton’s forces just outside the walls of Winterfell.
According to Business Insider though, there’s a boring real world explanation why the colossal wolf didn’t make an appearance on the battlefield – he was a victim of the CGI budget.
The episode’s director Miguel Sapochnik has said Ghost was originally going to play a big role in the fight but he had to be cut for budgetary reasons and time.
[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 dire-wolf, so the dog bit the dust.
It takes a lot of hard work to make Ghost seem real and the showrunners decided it made more sense to put Wun-Wun the giant on the battlefield with the money and time available.
Anything with the giant is a challenge, because he’s not there, and you have to shoot multiple layers for each shot, and get extras to react to something that doesn’t exist, and then shoot the actual giant played by Ian Whyte months later on a green screen stage.
While fans may have missed Jon’s loyal companion, we guarantee that Jon would’ve been pleased to have Wun-Wun on the battlefield as he tore through the Bolton lines like an axe through Ned Stark’s neck.
Although I do wonder if the lack of a CGI budget explains why Ramsay’s dogs looked a little bit on the cheap side at the end of the episode…