Why Jon Snow didn't pet Ghost goodbye in Sunday's 'Game of Thrones'

Why Jon Snow didn't pet Ghost goodbye in Sunday's 'Game of Thrones'

Last week's episode of Game of Thrones left fans reeling for a number of reasons. To begin with, there was Dany's insistence that she is the "rightful" heir to the Iron Throne, despite knowing that Jon has a better claim.

Then there was the culmination of Tormund's attempts to win Brienne over, which unfortunately resulted in her rejecting him only to jump into bed with the one-handed Jamie Lannister.

And then there was the heartbreaking moment Missandei uttered her final words: 

But arguably the most "reel-worthy" moment of them all was when Jon didn't even pet his faithful dire wolf, Ghost, goodbye, despite the fact that he lost an ear protecting his humans during the Battle of Winterfell.

Now, director David Nutter has explained why Ghost didn't get the good boy pet he deserved:

"Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible," he said. "And I think that it played out much more powerfully that way."

This is the moment Jon didn't give Ghost a proper goodbye:

Prior to this season airing, visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer told the Huffington Post that direwolves were tricky to film because if real animals were used, it could only be guaranteed that they would behave in certain ways.

"Keeping Ghost off to the side, I thought that played out better," Nutter explained before adding that Jon's lack of goodbye with Ghost meant that he had a chance to spend more time with Sam and Gilly.

"Then he just walks off by himself, he turns to Ghost and has this moment with Ghost that I thought was very, very powerful."

Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones. Credit: HBO

John Bradley West, the actor who plays Samwell Tarly, said:

"I think that Jon knows what he's leaving behind. Jon Snow is a noble man, and he knows all about sacrifice... He knows what he has to keep safe, and he knows he has a responsibility to Ghost and a responsibility to Sam, Gilly and Baby Sam because he knows where they'll be safe.

"He was very aware of the sacrifice of leaving those figures behind, and they know - hopefully, Ghost knows what he means to Jon - and Jon knows what Ghost means to him."

If you haven't seen it yet, this is the preview trailer for this week's episode of Game of Thrones: 

Whereas Kristofer Hivju, the actor who plays Tormund Giantsbane, said:

"I think Jon is right that the south isn't the place for a direwolf. In Episode 2 or 3 they killed one of them [Lady, Sansa's direwolf] - it's a wild animal, it's like a wolf plus two! I think it's best for Ghost to go north."

Although, on the subject of a proposed fan spin-off based on Tormund and Ghost, Hivju said he'd be all for it... if they're still around at the end of the season.

"Well, there's still two more episodes to go. We don't know if they survive."