Game of Thrones’ ‘The Long Night’ was an event years in the making. Fans of both the television show and books have known this would be the ultimate standoff of the series. The team behind the episode knew this as well, having worked to make it a longer and bigger production than even the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
Whether it succeeded in actually overshadowing the legendary battle of the Lord of The Rings is still up for debate, although popular opinion says no. And perhaps part of that verdict is due to audiences being preoccupied with the lighting.
Most immediate reactions to the episode were about its darkness — many thought that meant beloved characters would die or the Night King would triumph. But no, they meant that the episode was literally too dark for them to see anything. I cannot tell you how many posts and tweets I saw mentioning they had no idea what was happening even with the brightness of their devices at full level and their rooms in pitch blackness.
Still, cinematographer Fabian Wagner defends the creative choices made for the episode and backs up that it was all done for a reason. Wagner was the Director of Photography for big-battle episodes like Hardhome and Battle of the Bastards as well. In an interview with TMZ, he says that “we tried to give the viewers and fans a cool episode to watch.”
He first explains that “[GoT] has always been very dark and a very cinematic show.” As such, its episodes (especially The Long Night) should be viewed in as close an environment to a dark theatre as possible. This means audiences ought to avoid watching on mobile devices which compress the quality or in spaces which are lit up.
Ultimately, the episode turned out exactly as they envisioned it: “intense, claustrophobic and disorienting.” The team behind The Long Night tried to mimic reality as much as possible, which meant minimal lighting and a whole load of confusion in-battle. His last defense was to say: “I know it wasn’t too dark because I shot it.”
What did you think of the Battle of Winterfell?