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“House of the Dragon” Review: Outstanding Prequel to “Game of Thrones” Shares the Same Ingredients
I didn’t necessarily want to return to Westeros. Season eight of Game of Thrones ( GoT ) left a bitter aftertaste. Even if I was deeply addicted to its political intrigue, I wasn’t always a fan of HBO’s hit drama show — naked women were used almost as wallpaper, there was a lack of parity when it came to male nudity, and, frequently, sexual assault shaped major plot points. Plus, I simply profoundly disliked the way the show ended , especially when it came to the evolution of one of the show’s best characters until that point: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
I approached House of the Dragon — the 10-episode prequel series debuting on HBO this Sunday, August 21 — with some skepticism. Having watched the six episodes available for review, I can say my reservations were unwarranted. The show was co-created by A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R. R. Martin and Ryan J. Condal. Condal and frequent GoT director Miguel Sapochnik serve as showrunners. House of the Dragon is based on Martin’s Fire & Blood book.
There’s something comforting and easy about heading back to a universe we know well by now. Even if House of the Dragon is set 172 years before Daenerys’ birth, not much has changed in Westeros. The Targaryens are in power though, and their dragons make them almost invincible. The only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon is itself — or so we’re told.
King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) succeeds the previous Targaryen on the Iron Throne. But he has yet to father a viable male heir. Even though his teenage daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) can fly a dragon, achieve the surrender of a warrior adversary or savagely kill a wild boar, she’s still seen as just “a girl”.
“Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne,” Rhaenyra’s cousin Rhaenys (Eve Best) tells the young and ambitious princess. Rhaenys knows what she’s talking about. She was the oldest descendant of the previous Targaryen king and was passed over in favor of the oldest male descendant, Rhaenyra’s dad Viserys.
Of course, there are many suitors eager for the Throne — or aiming to control whoever reigns — but the main challenger to Rhaenyra’s claim is her uncle, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith). And once you get past the platinum blond wig, you can just enjoy Matt Smith relishing all of Daemon’s swagger and strangeness.
“You’re weak Viserys. And in that council of leeches, they all know it,” Daemon tells his brother. He means the small council and he isn’t wrong. Viserys does seem on the brink of death at every turn and his Hand and closest confidant, Otto Hightower, who’s played with calculated precision by Rhys Ifans, will stop at nothing to “guide” Viserys towards what he feels is reasonable. Otto will even go as far as employing his young daughter Alicent (Emily Carey) in the task.
It’s easy to return to Westeros this second time around — now that we already know what a Hand does or why Grand Maesters are essential, yet not quite advanced — even though we find it inhabited by a set of completely different characters. They still have so much in common with the characters in Game of Thrones .
Like its predecessor, House of the Dragon is a portrait of the thirst for power and the price one pays for it. “Being King is not easy. The Iron Throne is the most dangerous place on the ground,” Viserys warns his daughter Rhaenyra. “I’m forever doomed to anger one person while pleasing another,” he adds frustratedly at another point. And there are many references to the ceaseless sacrifices that should be made while being a monarch.
Rhaenyra’s mother, Aemma (Sian Brooke), explains to her daughter that the discomfort of pregnancy and labor is how women serve the realm. Even if Rhaenyra would prefer battle. The show makes a conscious point of showing how brutal the service of procreation can be in Westeros and how women were made to produce one heir after another to ensure the line of succession. There are three labor scenes in House of the Dragon , all with different outcomes. All of them are shown to be painful and risky. One of them is photographed through a top-down shot of the bed where Aemma lies in agony, the crisp white linen of the bed contrasting with her bright blood. It’s one of the most brutal scenes I’ve witnessed in a Game of Thrones property and it’s not like House of the Dragon shies away from violence when it comes to bloodied battlefields.
In its depiction of the duties attached to the Iron Throne, the show reminded me of The Crown . And it did so once again when, in episode six and after a 10-year ellipsis, House of the Dragon recasts the roles of Rhaenyra and Alicent and employs actors Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke to play them respectively. And although Cooke seems a fitting replacement for a Cersei Lannister kind of character and D’Arcy just excels as a more mature and scheming Rhaenyra, I felt the absence of the younger actresses. Especially Milly Alcock as the younger Rhaenyra, who already had me rooting for her to become queen. She’s, of course, the Daenerys of this story.
I liked how the show handled certain themes. House of the Dragon is a more current and aware show than early GoT was when it comes to female characters and even some intimate scenes. There’s a particular love-making sequence that surprised me in its tenderness. We witness the laborious work involved in taking off zipperless garments and shoes.
This is still a Game of Thrones title though, there’s also plenty of background sex and nudity, often of the gratuitous kind. And a relationship between two closely related people with quite the age difference veered on creepy, if totally on brand.
There’s also the inclusion of a new Westerosi family with old roots in Valyria, the Velaryon, who are led by Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint). Through them, the show introduces diversity early on. The Velaryons are Black and share the same silvered-tone hair as the Targaryens.
I’m eager to spend more time with Rhaenyra, Alicent, Daemon and the many new characters the writers devised for us in this return to well-known places. I welcomed the reappearance of King’s Landing, the Red Keep and Dragonstone. I liked being casually reminded about the Lannisters, the Baratheons, the Martells — to trust them is to be disappointed, we’re told. Yet I don’t remember it that way.
Watching House of the Dragon , I could easily spot where the money in producing the show has been spent — besides the lavish costumes and sets. There sure is a special allocation in the budget for silver wigs, fake blood and digital dragons.
Although I didn’t feel the urge to go back to Westeros at first, I enjoyed the dragon-filled way House of the Dragon transports us there. Even the show’s opening credits, while much shorter than the iconic Game of Thrones ones, adapt that show’s main theme and set the mood for more tales about power-thirsty would-be monarchs and their deceitful would-be acolytes.
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Game of Thrones finally acknowledged Ghost as the very good dog he is
After fan outrage over their recent parting, Jon Snow and Ghost got a touching reunion in Game of Thrones’ series finale.
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Game of Thrones ’ series finale, “ The Iron Throne ,” didn’t exactly deliver the ending that many fans expected. But there was at least one character who got justice after being treated horribly in an earlier episode: Jon Snow’s beloved direwolf, Ghost.
Ghost became the subject of social media outrage after the final season’s fourth episode, “The Last of the Starks,” saw his owner, Jon Snow, give the animal to Tormund and send him north to Castle Black — all without so much as a goodbye pat on the head.
In an effort to explain why Game of Thrones chose not to show an emotional farewell between Jon and his beloved pet, the episode’s director, David Nutter, said that the goodbye scene played out the way it did because the show’s production team was restricted by the fact that Ghost is, in part, a CGI creation. But this explanation, predictably, only made fans angrier, with many of them responding with numerous examples of all the ways the show could have made Jon petting Ghost work.
For all these fans, the series finale delivered a lovely note of triumph. The final episode saw Jon ironically being exiled back to the (now nonexistent) Night’s Watch in order to satisfy the Unsullied’s demand for punishment after he killed Daenerys . So Jon wound up right back where he started . And who was there to welcome him but his faithful longtime companion?
The moment was exactly as sweet as fans had hoped:
Game of Thrones fans on social media were overjoyed.
I mean, Jon finally petting Ghost was all we really wanted. #GoT — Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 20, 2019
“WHOOSAGOOD- it’s you. You’re a good boy.” #ghost #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/Vv0sdOOnwL — Melissa Anelli (@melissaanelli) May 20, 2019
JON: *pets Ghost* Me: #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/aL4CV4e31b — Chris Masse (@cjmasse) May 20, 2019
Some, including Tasha Robinson of Vox sister site The Verge, noted that given how long ago the season finished production, the Game of Thrones production team had surely been eye-rolling all the hoopla over the fourth episode. After all, they would have known Jon and Ghost would be reunited shortly:
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss must have been laughing to themselves so hard when we freaked out a couple weeks ago about Jon Snow not petting Ghost goodbye when leaving the north. There has to have been some "Oh, just wait for it, you whiners" in there somewhere. #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/On6O3AatbJ — Tasha Robinson (@TashaRobinson) May 20, 2019
Hilariously, though, others speculated that the scene had been hastily added after the fact, in direct response to the fan outrage.
The Game of Thrones graphic designer who was given 1 week to CGI Jon Snow petting his dog to make Twitter happy. #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/CAsrcqqhVd — MMA Greg (@MMAGreg1) May 20, 2019
It’s highly doubtful that the scene was added in response to the uproar, but either way, it made many fans happy. And while many other aspects of “The Iron Throne” left fans scratching their heads , in reuniting Jon with his faithful companion, Game of Thrones reminded us that it did have at least two characters’ interests at heart.
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Ghost is one of six direwolf pups that are found by the children of House Stark . He is adopted and raised by Jon Snow . Ghost is an albino with white fur and red eyes. Though he was the runt of the litter when he was born, he quickly grew to be as big as the rest of his siblings. Of their litter, only Ghost and Nymeria remain alive.
- 1.1 Game of Thrones : Season 1
- 1.2 Game of Thrones : Season 2
- 1.3 Game of Thrones : Season 3
- 1.4 Game of Thrones : Season 4
- 1.5 Game of Thrones : Season 5
- 1.6 Game of Thrones : Season 6
- 1.7 Game of Thrones : Season 7
- 1.8 Game of Thrones : Season 8
- 3 In the books
- 5 Appearances
- 7 External links
Biography [ ]
Game of thrones : season 1 [ ].
Jon Snow finds Ghost as a pup.
When a litter of five direwolf puppies are found by the Starks , Jon convinces his father Eddard Stark to spare the pups. He urges his father to allow his siblings to adopt them, stating that there are five pups for the five trueborn Stark children and the direwolf is the sigil of the Stark house. Shortly after, Jon finds a sixth direwolf pup - an albino wolf. Theon Greyjoy mockingly calls the pup "the runt of the litter" and says this pup belongs to Jon. Jon and the other Stark children adopt the direwolf pups. Jon names his direwolf Ghost. 
Jon takes Ghost with him to Castle Black when he joins the Night's Watch . Ghost helps him to threaten Rast in the middle of the night, to prevent him from bullying Sam . Jon warns Rast that “no one touches Sam” while Ghost stands over Rast, snarling. 
While Jon and Sam say their oath of fealty to the Night's Watch in front of a heart tree north of the Wall , just inside the eaves of the Haunted Forest , Ghost finds the corpses of two rangers , Othor and Jafer Flowers , and brings one of their severed hands back to Jon and a horrified Sam. 
Ghost snarls at Rast.
When Jon is confined to quarters for threatening Ser Alliser Thorne , Ghost begins to whine at the door in the middle of the night. Jon understands something is wrong and follows the wolf to the Lord Commander's quarters. Suddenly the door shuts and Ghost is locked outside the room. Jon encounters the undead Othor, risen as a wight , and saves the life of the Lord Commander . 
When Jon nearly deserts to join Robb in his war against the Lannisters , Ghost leaves with him. However, they both return to Castle Black. 
Game of Thrones : Season 2 [ ]
Ghost at the Fist of the First Men with the Night's Watch.
Ghost follows his master and the rest of the Night's Watch as they venture deep into wildling territory in their great ranging . While the Night's Watchmen stay at Craster's Keep to rest and inform themselves about Mance Rayder, one of Craster's daughters, Gilly , is frightened by Ghost when he approaches her, attracted by a dead rabbit she's holding. Sam, who had already taken notice of her, comes to her aid, and attempts to shoo Ghost away. Although he flicks Sam a baleful look, he obeys and slinks off. 
Ghost accompanies Jon north.
Along with the black brothers, Ghost climbs the Fist of the First Men .  Later, when Jon asks to join Qhorin 's raiders, Ghost follows, but as they travel, the direwolf separates from the group and ultimately disappears, despite Jon's calls for Ghost to stay with them. 
Game of Thrones : Season 3 [ ]
Ghost saves Sam's life.
Following the fight at the Fist , Ghost saves Sam from a wight, giving Jeor Mormont the chance to destroy the wight with fire. 
Ghost later accompanies the Night's Watch survivors to Craster's Keep but refuses to enter this time. Instead, he ventures back into the Haunted Forest. 
When Sam stumbles across Bran , Jojen Reed , Meera Reed , and Hodor , Sam recognizes Bran due to the presence of Bran's direwolf Summer , having spent enough time with Ghost to be able to recognize a direwolf. 
Game of Thrones : Season 4 [ ]
Ghost reunites with his master Jon after being freed by Bran.
Ghost has been captured and caged by the Mutineers . One night, Karl Tanner orders Rast to feed Ghost, which he refers to as "the beast". Rast taunts Ghost by pouring water in front of the cage. Later, Ghost is briefly reunited with Summer for the first time since leaving Winterfell, when his cries summon the other direwolf to his cage, but Summer falls into a trap.  After escaping Craster's Keep , Bran and his companions release Ghost and Summer. Ghost remains nearby and kills Rast when he flees the massacre of his fellow mutineers. Afterward, Ghost reunites with Jon after being apart for more than a year. 
Ghost kills a Thenn warrior.
They arrive together at Castle Black, yet Alliser Thorne orders Jon to lock him away.  During the battle for the Wall , Jon has Sam release Ghost so that he can help kill the wildlings raiding the castle. Immediately, Ghost lunges at a Thenn warrior and tears out his throat. He ultimately survives the battle. 
Game of Thrones : Season 5 [ ]
Ghost nibbles on a bone.
Ghost remains in Castle Black, having grown considerably. While Jon trains Olly , Ghost chews on a large bone. 
Ghost protects Sam and Gilly from Night's Watch bullies.
After Jon departs for Hardhome and Maester Aemon passes away, Thorne cryptically warns Sam that he is losing all of his friends, presumably prompting him to free Ghost until Jon returns. 
Two former criminals in the Night's Watch attempt to rape Gilly and Sam comes to her defense; they beat him, but Ghost arrives to defend him, snarling at them; unwilling to take their chances against the angry direwolf, they flee. 
Game of Thrones : Season 6 [ ]
After Jon is assassinated by several of his black brothers, Ghost howls in mourning from his pen nearby. His cries summon Davos , Eddison Tollett , and a handful of other black brothers who quickly move Jon's body. At Davos's suggestion, Edd frees Ghost so that he can help them protect Jon's body. On their way back to Jon's quarters, Edd and Ghost are accosted by Thorne and the mutineers. Ghost snarls at Thorne, aware of his role in Jon's murder. Unnerved, Thorne suggests that they release Ghost beyond the Wall, but Edd refuses and leads Ghost to Jon's chamber, where he sniffs Jon's body mournfully. When the mutineers offer the loyalists peace terms through the locked door, Ghost growls. 
Ghost sleeps near Jon's body.
At nightfall, the mutineers attempt to break their way into Jon's chambers to kill Davos and the loyalists. Ghost stands beside the loyalists, ready to fight to the death. Edd and the wildlings arrive in time to save Ghost and the loyalists and place the mutineers in custody. Later, Ghost remains close to Jon when Melisandre seemingly fails to resurrect him, and sleeps beside Jon's body. Once everyone has left, Ghost is roused from sleep by something and is the first to witness Jon come back to life.  Ghost then watches Jon intently as he gets up. 
Ghost leaves Castle Black with Jon as he travels with Davos Seaworth, Melisandre, Tormund, Sansa , Brienne and Pod as they prepare to rally the North against Ramsay Bolton .  Following Jon and Sansa's victory after the Battle of the Bastards , Ghost returns to Winterfell with his master. 
Game of Thrones : Season 7 [ ]
Ghost remains at Winterfell with Sansa when Jon leaves to meet Daenerys at Dragonstone . 
Game of Thrones : Season 8 [ ]
Ghost charges alongside the Dothraki.
Shortly before the Battle of Winterfell , Ghost stands on the battlements with Jon, Edd, and Sam.  He is later seen alongside the strike team on the battlefield beside Jorah Mormont , as they charge the first wave of wights but is not seen for the rest of the battle. Ghost survives the battle, which ends when Arya Stark kills the Night King , defeating the army of the dead. 
Ghost is present among the surviving allies in the aftermath of the battle and witnesses the bonfire funeral of the fallen men and women. He is shown to have lost most of his right ear as well as sustaining cuts in the battle. 
Ghost watches as Jon departs Winterfell.
Later, as Jon is preparing to march south with the Northern forces and Daenerys's army to defeat Cersei and take the Iron Throne for Daenerys , he suggests to Tormund (who is making his way back to Castle Black with the remaining free folk) that he take Ghost with him. Jon believes Ghost belongs in the true north. Ghost exchanges one last glance with Jon before watching his old master depart. 
Ghost reunites with Jon at Castle Black.
Ghost is reunited with Jon, when the latter is exiled to the Night's Watch for Daenerys's assassination after she razes a surrendered King's Landing . Jon and Ghost accompany Tormund and the wildlings on the return to the lands beyond the Wall . 
In the books [ ]
Jon Snow by Roman "Amok" Papsuev.©
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ghost is the quietest and stealthiest of the six direwolf pups. While the other wolves are darker-colored, Ghost is an albino and silent. Jon Snow's younger brother Bran Stark notices that Ghost has already opened his eyes while the other pups' eyes remain closed. Ghost's like-but-unlike nature appeals to Jon as a kindred spirit and he shares Jon's thoughtful, observant, and quiet nature. Also shared is that Jon and Ghost are both part of their respective families, but a bit apart from their siblings at the same time as Jon is an illegitimate child while Ghost is a silent, albino wolf.  Ghost's appearance is said to resemble that of the faces found on heart trees in the North .
Jon finds Ghost separated from his siblings. Ghost also matured faster than the others: he was the first to open his eyes and walk on his own, and was attempting to find shelter away from their mother's corpse. Like in the TV series, Jon also convinces his father to spare the pups for his trueborn siblings and later finds the sixth pup shortly afterward. However, unlike in the TV series, Theon suggests they leave the pup to die, which Jon emphatically refuses and Jon himself claims Ghost as his own.
In the books, it is emphasized that Ghost is unnaturally silent: Jon tells Tyrion that he named him "Ghost" partially because of his albino coloring, but also because of how little noise he makes. In the books, Ghost is completely mute, utterly silent making no sound of any kind. This wasn't found to translate well to the screen, so Ghost makes noises like growling at Rast in his bunk or whining at Gilly holding rabbits.
Ghost accompanies Jon when he goes to Castle Black with his uncle Benjen Stark and helps Jon defend Sam from being harmed in training. When Jon joins Qhorin's scouting group, Ghost comes along. When Jon is forced to kill Qhorin as part of Qhorin's plan for Jon to infiltrate Mance Rayder 's host, Ghost helps Jon defeat Qhorin. Before going with the wildlings to scale the Wall, Jon orders Ghost to leave and attempt to return to Castle Black. Ghost departs into the forest, and Jon hopes he understood his command. Many weeks later, several days after the battle for the Wall is over, Ghost returns to the Wall, where Jon and Ghost are overjoyed to be reunited.
In the TV series, Ghost initially shadows Qhorin's scouting group, but he does not appear again after Jon is captured. Apparently, on his own initiative, Ghost made his way back to the Fist of the First Men, the Watch's main base camp, but it had come under attack by the White Walkers. Ghost is later seen with the survivors when he helps Jeor Mormont kill a wight that was attacking Sam. Ghost apparently then tried to return to Castle Black alongside them, but when they reach Craster's Keep, Ghost senses the coming danger, and retreats back into the Haunted Forest. In the TV show, the mutineers at Craster's Keep capture him, but when Jon leads a scouting force back to Craster's Keep to finish off the traitors, Ghost is reunited with Jon and brought back to Castle Black. Afterward, he is let loose during the wildling attack on the fortress to aid the Watch's defense, and is seen to be by Jon's side at Castle Black in Season 5 - putting him back in sync with his book location.
In the books, Melisandre warns Jon of " daggers in the dark " and advises him to keep Ghost near him all the time. However, Jon does not listen to Melisandre, since one of her visions about "a girl in grey on a dying horse" (whom Melisandre believed to be Arya , but turned to be Alys Karstark ) proves to be wrong; this turns to be a fatal mistake for Jon.
In his last breath, Jon whispers "Ghost" - similar to Robb , whose last words were " Grey Wind ". It is unknown if there is a connection between these instances. There is a fan speculation that Robb and Jon, in their last breath, managed to warg into their respective direwolves. It did not do any good for Robb, since Grey Wind was killed shortly after him; it is not the case with Jon, whose direwolf was not around when he was stabbed - he might have survived.
Gallery [ ]
Appearances [ ]
References [ ]
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 1: " Winter Is Coming "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 4: " Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 7: " You Win or You Die "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 8: " The Pointy End "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 1 , Episode 10: " Fire and Blood "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 2 , Episode 2: " The Night Lands "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 2 , Episode 5: " The Ghost of Harrenhal "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 2 , Episode 6: " The Old Gods and the New "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 3 , Episode 1: " Valar Dohaeris "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 3 , Episode 3: " Walk of Punishment "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 3 , Episode 10: " Mhysa "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 4 , Episode 4: " Oathkeeper "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 4 , Episode 5: " First of His Name "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 4 , Episode 7: " Mockingbird "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 4 , Episode 9: " The Watchers on the Wall "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 5 , Episode 1: " The Wars To Come "
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Game of Thrones : Season 5 , Episode 7: " The Gift "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 1: " The Red Woman "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 2: " Home "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 3: " Oathbreaker "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 5: " The Door "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 6 , Episode 10: " The Winds of Winter "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 7 , Episode 2: " Stormborn "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 8 , Episode 2: " A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 8 , Episode 3: " The Long Night "
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 Game of Thrones : Season 8 , Episode 4: " The Last of the Starks "
- ↑ Game of Thrones : Season 8 , Episode 6: " The Iron Throne "
- ↑ Shaw, Robert (2003). "Interview With a Dragon". Fountainhead Quarterly.
- ↑ In " You Win or You Die ," Jorah Mormont receives a pardon stating that the current year is 298.
- ↑ In " Winter Is Coming ," which takes place in 298 AC, Sansa Stark tells Cersei Lannister that she is 13 years old and Bran Stark tells Jaime Lannister that he is 10 years old. Arya Stark was born between Sansa and Bran, making her either 11 or 12 in Season 1. The rest of the Stark children have been aged up by 2 years from their book ages, so it can be assumed that she is 11 in Season 1. Arya is 18 in Season 8 according to HBO , which means at least 7 years occur in the span of the series; therefore, each season of Game of Thrones must roughly correspond to a year in-universe, placing the events of Season 8 in 305 AC.
External links [ ]
- 2 Daenerys Targaryen
- 3 Rhaegar Targaryen
Game Of Thrones Episode 4: Here's What Happened To Ghost, Jon Snow's Direwolf (Season 8)
By Phil Hornshaw on May 5, 2019 at 10:09PM PDT
If you're all caught up, check out why this huge battle's deaths were disappointing , what Melisandre said to Arya back in Season 3 , and just what the battle tactics this episode actually were. You might also be wondering what happened to Jon's dragon and what happened to Ghost , not to mention what new theories we have based on Episode 3 . And for a deep dive into each episode of Season 8, check out GameSpot of Thrones with Westeros superfans Lucy, Ryan, Tamoor, and Dave each week as we count down the final three episodes of Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones completed what is arguably its biggest and most expansive plotline in "The Long Night," the third episode of the show's six-episode Season 8. Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, with just about every living major character left in Westeros, met the Night King , the White Walkers, and the army of the dead in a final showdown. We even saw Ghost, Jon Snow's often-missing direwolf, join the fighting. It wasn't clear what the heck happened to Ghost when he raced off with the Dothraki screamers to fight the army of the dead, but we discovered he made it through the battle in the post-episode teaser for Episode 4, "The Last of the Starks."
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Now we know what happened to Ghost during the battle: He apparently mixed it up with some wights but ultimately survived. When he shows up in Episode 4, Ghost is a little worse for wear, having lost an ear in the fighting. But don't expect to see any more of the direwolf, because during the episode, Jon revealed that we're saying farewell to his very large doggo friend.
Now that the war with the dead is won, Jon is heading south with Daenerys to fulfill his commitment to her--she agreed to fight his war against the White Walkers, and he agreed to help her get the Iron Throne. The plan is for Jon to head down the King's Road with the bulk of Dany's remaining armies of Unsullied, Dothraki, and Northmen, heading for King's Landing to block Cersei's supply lines and turn the people of the city against her. Ideally, it'll mean the war will end with the people overthrowing Cersei, while Daenerys won't have to attack the city and kill thousands of innocents to take the Iron Throne.
Before heading off, though, Jon says some farewells to his surviving friends. When he talks to Tormund, we find out that the Wildlings have decided to head back north of the Wall to their home. The south, Tormund tells him, is no place for the Freefolk. Jon responds that it's no place for a direwolf either, and asks Tormund to take Ghost with him when he heads back to Castle Black after the winter storms subside.
It sounds like that's the last we'll see of Ghost (and Tormund, for that matter). The direwolf isn't heading down to King's Landing with his master, and that pretty much means direwolves are out of the show. The only other surviving wolf is Nymeria, which belonged to Arya Stark. We briefly saw Nymeria when Arya was traveling to Winterfell in Season 7, when the direwolf and a pack of smaller wolves came across Arya in the woods. The two had a moment together when Arya asked Nymeria to come with her back to her home, but the wolf chose to stay wild instead.
As far as direwolf longevity, though, it's probably good that Ghost isn't going with Jon, since Stark direwolves don't fare so well in the South. Lady, Sansa Stark's wolf, was killed in retaliation after Arya Stark's wolf Nymeria bit Prince Joffrey in Season 1, and Robb Stark's wolf Grey Wind died at the Twins during the Red Wedding. Then again, they don't do great in the North, either--Bran Stark's wolf Summer died north of the Wall defending him during "Hold the Door," when he first encountered the Night King at the Three-Eyed Raven's cave. And Shaggy Dog, Rickon Stark's direwolf, was killed by the Umbers when they captured the youngest stark for Ramsay Bolton.
The dismissal of the last major direwolf is a bummer, though. In the early seasons of the show and in George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels on which they're based, the direwolves and their connection to the Stark children always seemed like a very big deal, and a relationship that was leading somewhere. In fact, there were some fan theories that suggested both Ghost and Nymeria would have a part to play in the battle against the Night King and in saving their respective Starks. That the direwolves and their relationships with the Stark family has seemingly amounted to so little is one of the bigger disappointments with the show's adaptation of the novels.
With no direwolves left, it seems Game of Thrones is mostly doing away with its cool animal friends and their relationships with major characters. At least we don't have to watch another beloved canine get murdered at the orders of Cersei Lannister, though.
Check out our reviews for Episode Episode 3 and Episode 4 for our impressions as we move on toward the last two episodes of the series. You might be interested in some complaints about who died in the Battle of Winterfell , as well.
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Phil Hornshaw is a former senior writer at GameSpot and worked as a journalist for newspapers and websites for more than a decade, covering video games, technology, and entertainment for nearly that long. A freelancer before he joined the GameSpot team as an editor out of Los Angeles, his work appeared at Playboy, IGN, Kotaku, Complex, Polygon, TheWrap, Digital Trends, The Escapist, GameFront, and The Huffington Post. Outside the realm of games, he's the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero's Guide to Glory. If he's not writing about video games, he's probably doing a deep dive into game lore.
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Game of Thrones season 8: Where is Ghost? Fans relieved after Jon Snow's direwolf spotted in episode 4 trailer
*spoiler warning for season 8, episode 3 of game of thrones*, article bookmarked.
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Game of Thrones fans were prepared to say a tearful, bloody goodbye to many beloved characters during the battle at Winterfell , but there was one they were not willing to let go.
Ghost , Jon Snow's faithful direwolf, is seen right near the opening scenes as he runs fearlessly with the Dothraki hordes towards the charging wights.
Right up to the very last moments of episode 3, season 8, fans failed to spot a glimpse of Ghost alive, and many presumed the worst.
*Click through the gallery to see our ranking of every Game of Thrones episode*
Game of Thrones - every episode ranked
However, the eagle-eyed among them are breathing a sigh of relief after the trailer for episode four aired. In a scene that lasts for less than half a second during the trailer, you can see him standing amongst the soldiers at Winterfell the day after the battle.
Ghost is alive!
- The trailer for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 4 is here
- Fans complain Game of Thrones episode was 'too dark' during battle
- Game of Thrones revealed outcome of the big battle back in season 3
The trailer for Game of Thrones‘ next episode teases not only the outcome of the big Winterfell fight, but the climactic showdown at King’s Landing.
With one fight out of the way – and three episodes left to go of the HBO series – the characters look set to prepare for what Daenerys is calling “the last war”.
This means that, after two weeks of absence, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is back with Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) by her side – and those who survived the Night King battle will be heading to King’s Landing to remove her from the Iron Throne.
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- Game of Thrones keeps tugging at our heartstrings with random Ghost sightings
Justice for Ghost
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Update (April 29): In the Battle of Winterfell , from Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 “The Long Night,” Ghost the direwolf joined the fight against the army of the dead.
Jon Snow’s pet canine shows up at Jorah Mormont’s side at the head of the Dothraki cavalry, and the fierce Northern beast charges into battle alongside them, sprinting toward the wights hidden in the darkness outside Winterfell. While the vast majority of the swordsmen don’t make it back from the fight, a few of them retreat toward the castle along with Jorah ... but Ghost is nowhere to be found.
As ever — see our original story about Ghost’s uncommented-upon cameo in season 8 episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” below — Game of Thrones ’ writers just want to leave all the Ghost fans hanging.
Thankfully, it appears that Ghost lives!
That’s a shot from HBO’s teaser for season 8 episode 4 . Notice anything about the crowd gathered in front of Winterfell?
Well, we’ll be damned. Perhaps there will be time in episode 4 for a teary reunion between Jon Snow and his beloved but repeatedly forgotten direwolf, both of whom appear to have survived the Battle of Winterfell (relatively) unscathed.
Original story: Ghost, Jon Snow’s loyal direwolf, hasn’t been seen on Game of Thrones since the show’s sixth season. We last saw this very good boy keeping watch over Jon Snow’s corpse as everyone waited to see how long it would take for him to be brought back from death, and the fans have been waiting patiently for Ghost’s return ever since.
And tonight’s episode of the show gave those fans what they wanted. Kind of.
Ghost was certainly there, but no one else seemed to think it was a very big deal. In fact, no one even acknowledged that Ghost was right there, waiting for someone to say hello, or pet him, or something .
The reaction on Twitter has been a mixture of joy ...
*Me seeing ghost* #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/8yCyCPjQji — Ya Boy Huey (@AKiddNamedHuey) April 22, 2019
how you gonna just casually insert ghost into the corner of a scene like that? #GameofThrones — Stefanie (@stefanie1027) April 22, 2019
But overall everyone seems a bit confused about how such a big thing could be treated in such a blasé manner by the show’s writers and editors.
Can we, uh, get any of the starks interacting with ghost please? #gameofthrones — kylosaurus ren (@leiasolos) April 22, 2019
Nobody : Ghost : #GameOfThrones pic.twitter.com/MKAQgCzcrf — G Cleve (@ianthonyjr) April 22, 2019
#GameOfThrones sooooo ghost just pops up outta nowhere???? pic.twitter.com/24eQQLIF79 — Truda’s Lover ❤️ (@Jcaetion) April 22, 2019
jon and ghost reunion #gameofthrones pic.twitter.com/vZEbQon5TT — GOT SPOILERS (@emiliacIarked) April 22, 2019
We FINALLY see Ghost after 2 seasons and he's just standing in the background like a statue THE DISRESPECT #GameOfThrones #GameofThronesSeason8 pic.twitter.com/ZH49wI91hl — ℝίτα❄||GoT Spoilers (@JonxDanyy) April 22, 2019
this is the first time we’ve seen ghost in years and there’s no cute reunion im livid — osha (@oshawildling) April 22, 2019
WHAT THE FUCK so ghost is just there, no explanation of when he got back and a reunion. Fuck this show tbh #GoT — WHERE IS GHOST??? (@khadijasummers) April 22, 2019
I mean, it’s not ideal, but at least our beautiful boy is back.
*When Ghost finally appears* Me: #GameOfThrones #GOT pic.twitter.com/uau6OX0hGG — David Wikle (@FattyLumpkins83) April 22, 2019
My actual face when I just saw Ghost for the first time pic.twitter.com/cv57La1nUG — Alycia (@alycia_murphy) April 22, 2019
Me when Ghost appeared #GameOfThornes pic.twitter.com/OZhZ4eTYuJ — Patricia (@FieryMuse) April 22, 2019
In This Stream
Game of thrones season 8, episode 3: what to know about ‘the long night’.
- Why you may never see Game of Thrones as it was meant to be seen
- Everyone who died in Game of Thrones’ Battle of Winterfell
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Winter is Coming
Ghost’s stand-in on Game of Thrones looks pretty gnarly
There are few things in life that unnerve me more than really bad taxidermy. Well, that and little girl ghosts…and clowns, but that’s it, that’s what gets to me. So imagine my horror when during Game of Thrones: The Last Watch — the two-hour behind-the-scenes documentary about Game of Thrones season 8 — a monstrous hellhound straight out of my nightmares appeared on screen in the form of a stuffed animal stand-in for the bestest boi in Westeros, Ghost.
Feast your eyes below:
Ghost before hair & makeup #GameOfThrones #TheLastWatch pic.twitter.com/Qsgry5MIiX — naushaba (@naushaba__) May 27, 2019
Eerie, isn’t it? Fake Ghost doesn’t even have a lower jaw. And just what is he doing, anyway? Is he mounting that bag?
Anyway, it’s remarkable how…whatever that is…is transformed into the cuddly best boy we see on screen. Although there’s less space between Fake Ghost and Real Ghost than there is between Fake Drogon and Real Drogon:
Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo Game Of Thrones Iron Throne Bobblehead
Anyway, like @Phusaza , we would be happy to give freaky taxidermy Ghost a forever home. Or maybe it could be shipped to Kit Harington’s house where it can sit beside the Jon Snow statue for all time? Harington can charge two bits a gander and we would pay it.
A truly dire wolf. I want this shitty Ghost stand-in so much. I will set him up in my dining room and decorate him seasonally. #TheLastWatch pic.twitter.com/GmMIyw0Zsq — Emily, The Bartz (@Phusaza) May 27, 2019
Yeah, it’ll be a while before that’s not weird.
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h/t Harper’s Bazaar
- Published on 06/03/2019 at 2:40 PM CDT
- Last updated on 09/09/2021 at 3:17 PM CDT
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This Is What Ghost's Stand-In on Game of Thrones Looked Like and I Need a Minute
How could they do this to our good boy?
WARNING: Possible Game of Thrones Season 8 spoilers ahead.
The documentary Game of Thrones: The Last Watch , which aired last Sunday, unveiled a number of behind-the-scenes secrets from the hit show's final season, some of which we were expecting, and others which downright surprised us.
What. In. Seven. Hells.
As a friendly reminder, this is what Ghost looks like post-CGI.
And this is what his stuffed stand-in looks like.
BuzzFeed pointed out the seconds-long scene after the documentary aired. Viewers had a lot of feelings about the cameo, both speaking out in shock and declaring that he deserved a better stand-in.
Fans have been especially protective of Ghost as the show made its final bow this year. In the first few episodes of the season, viewers were unsettled by the direwolf's absence. After the Battle of Winterfell, they worried for his survival. And when Jon Snow sends Ghost north with Tormund, fans were livid that he didn't even pet his dog goodbye . (Thankfully, they reunite in the finale).
"Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible," director David Nutter said of Jon and Ghost's controversial goodbye. The complexities of the CGI process may also be the reason why Ghost had such few cameos in Season 8 to begin with. (It seems most of the special effects focus went to the dragon scenes.)
Given Ghost's lacking screen time, fans wanted whats best for the beloved direwolf, from the well-deserved pats to his stand-in.
Game of Thrones: The Last Watch is now available to stream on HBO Go and HBO Now.
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Ghost is doing too good a job of living up to his name..
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Game of thrones: what happened to ghost in the battle of winterfell.
Game of Thrones season 8 assembles many characters for the Battle of Winterfell - even Ghost. But what happens to Jon's direwolf during the battle?
Warning! SPOILERS ahead for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3 and episode 4 trailer.
Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3 "The Long Night" assembles almost every character for the Battle of Winterfell - even Jon's direwolf, Ghost is ready to fight. But what happens to Ghost after he charges in to battle?
Game of Thrones season 8 features the longest battle ever filmed for television, and what audiences are treated to in "The Long Night" does not disappoint. (Assuming viewers didn't find the episode too dark to see.) As one of the longest episodes of the series, episode 3 spends its entire hour and 20 minute runtime on the Battle of Winterfell. It begins with an opening charge by the Dothraki, their arahks burning with fire thanks to Melisandre . Both Jorah and Ghost join the Dothraki in their charge, but the attack completely fails. Game of Thrones then makes a point of showing that Jorah is one of the few who survive that charge, but where is Ghost?
Related: Game of Thrones: What Happened To Jon's Dragon
After making that valiant charge against the Night King's army, Ghost never reappears during Game of Thrones season 8, "The Long Night." The easiest conclusion to draw is that Ghost doesn't survive that initial engagement. In fact, most who make that charge don't survive seeing as it's only a handful of Dothraki who return along with Jorah. However, in the preview for next week's Game of Thrones episode , Ghost can be seen among the crowd outside of Winterfell when the dead from the battle are being ceremonially burned. It's certainly a blink and you'll miss it moment (coming at roughly the :18 second mark), but it's enough to confirm that Ghost survives the Battle of Winterfell .
Ahead of Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3, fans were right to be worried about Ghost's chances. After all, the direwolves have not fared too well on the HBO series. Of the six direwolf pups discovered in that very first episode of the Game of Thrones , four of them are dead. Sansa's wolf, Lady is killed in only the second episode as punishment for Arya attacking Joffrey. Grey Wind dies at the Red Wedding along with Robb and Catelyn. Shaggydog, Rickon's wolf is killed off screen in season 6 when the Umbers capture the youngest Stark and bring him to Ramsey. And Summer dies when the dead attack the Three-Eyed Raven's cave, holding off the wights so Meera and Bran can escape. The only two surviving direwolves are Ghost and Arya's wolf, Nymeria - who after being driven off by Arya in season 1, now heads up her own pack of wolves in the Riverlands.
Having Ghost's survival confirmed is no doubt good news, but it may not mean he'll feature all that much in the remaining episodes. Ever since the dragons became larger and more vital to the story, the direwolves began appearing less and less. The reason for this is more practical than anything else - both the dragons and the direwolves are costly and time consuming visual effects, and when pushed to choose, Game of Thrones more often than not chooses the dragons (or giants or ice bear or whatever effect is need that episode).
Then again, the action in the remaining episodes is happening in the south, so there's an opportunity for something like Nymeria and her wolf pack to come into play again. Could Game of Thrones season 8 see a reunion between Nymeria and Ghost just like it did with Arya and Jon? It's certainly possible, but with only three episodes remaining, it may just be that the direwolves are not as important to the story as they once were. Still, Ghost lives to see another day, now if only Jon would act like he even cares about his direwolf anymore.
Next: What's Next For Game Of Thrones? Cersei Must Be The Real Villain
Game of Thrones season 8 continues Sunday, May 5 at 9:00pm on HBO.