Warning: Contains Spoilers
The anticipation was huge, and justified. It was one of the biggest moments in television history and one of the most hyped things pretty much ever.
And while the most recent Game of Thrones episode, The Long Night, and the epic Battle of Winterfell it contained, definitely didn’t disappoint in terms of action, plot, drama and surprise, the aesthetic of the episode didn’t so much raise a few eyebrows as it did leave everyone squinting at the screen.
That’s because, unless you were in a blacked-out room (or even a cinema, which would’ve been awesome), the episode was just so darn dark.
Check out the dark teaser here:
Many people took to social media to question the darkness (don’t we all), wondering if it was the episode itself or their TV’s fault.
— audrey (@fcaudrey99) April 29, 2019
With everyone’s brightness turned all the way up though, it was still a very dimly lit episode.
The show’s director of photography, Robert McLachlan, told Insider the darkness was intentional, saying it was to purposefully make it look as authentic as possible.
The cinematographer said:
If you watch season one again, there’s a lot of unmotivated backlight. Even day exteriors, you can tell that they’ve been lit.
The cinematographers who’ve been doing it since then, I think we’re all very much on the same page where we’re trying to be as naturalistic as possible.
[We wanted] to make these sets and locations feel as if they’re absolutely not lit by us, but only by Mother Nature or some candles, so that it feels more naturalistic, albeit enhanced in some cases.
Now, director Fabian Wagner has spoken out about the dim scenes too, telling TMZ he blames streaming services for the poor quality.
— Matt (@MG_gumbercules) April 29, 2019
Wagner reckons TVs and mobile devices most people watched the episode on created the dark illusion, due to HBO’s compression of the episode, which is exacerbated when you’re watching on a streaming service with poor signal, small screens, or in brightly lit rooms.
We tried to give the viewers and fans a cool episode to watch. I know it wasn’t too dark because I shot it.
Game Of Thrones has always been very dark and a very cinematic show.
The director explained they had wanted to make the show as authentic as possible, meaning only candle light and fire would’ve lit the battle had it been in real life, as well as wanting the episode to feel claustrophobic and disorientating.
He recommended fans should watch it in a dark room (like a cinema!), for the best possible experience. But, as we don’t all have home cinemas yet, adjust your TV settings.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.