‘Game of Thrones’ cinematographer: ‘GoT’ isn’t too dark, people need to tune their TVs


I have a big flatscreen TV in my living room. I’ve had it for years. Whenever we’re in a Game of Thrones cycle, I do the same thing every Sunday night – I turn off all the lights in my house and I close the drapes so there won’t be any ambient light coming in from outside. I watch the show in complete darkness, because it’s more enjoyable that way and more immersive, and I know the show is dark. Even doing all that, I still couldn’t see a lot of what happened on Episode 8.3, “The Long Night.” I get it, it’s at night. I get it, the Night King made a snow hurricane. I get it, it’s “realistic” for medieval light sources. But HBO spent millions of dollars on this episode and they asked the cast to spend every night for two months making this episode, and most people couldn’t f–king see anything. That’s a Game of Thrones problem, not a fan problem. But the GoT cinematographer says no, it’s a problem with fans’ TVs. Bitch please.

“Game of Thrones” cinematographer Fabian Wagner isn’t apologizing any time soon for Sunday night’s poorly-lit episode. Fans were particularly excited for the show’s tentpole episode over the weekend, but many were left disappointed when multiple scenes were too dark for home-viewers to make out the much anticipated Battle of Winterfell. After receiving significant criticism for its poor lighting, Wagner defended the artistic choices he made for the gruesome battle scenes.

In an interview with Wired alongside episode director Miguel Sapochnik, Wagner placed the blame away from the production team onto viewers’ home devices, which he says aren’t fit for the show’s cinematic filming.

“A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly,” he said. “A lot of people also unfortunately watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.” He continued, “Personally I don’t have to always see what’s going on because it’s more about the emotional impact…’Game of Thrones’ is a cinematic show and therefore you have to watch it like you’re at a cinema: in a darkened room. If you watch a night scene in a brightly-lit room then that won’t help you see the image properly.”

Wagner also noted the shift in tone throughout the series, with each season becoming darker alongside grim themes. “The showrunners decided that this had to be a dark episode,” Wagner said. “We’d seen so many battle scenes over the years – to make it truly impactful and to care for the characters, you have to find a unique way of portraying the story.”

Wagner did explain that much of the darkness could be due to the episode’s night-time shoots compared to lighter scenes that were shot on-set. Even so, he stands by his choices. “Everything we wanted people to see is there,” he said.

[From Variety]

Yeah, there were dark episodes before and episodes where I couldn’t really see *everything* happening but “The Long Night” was the worst. It was a choice between director and cinematographer, and they made the wrong choice. It’s not a problem with my TV or the TVs belonging to millions of GoT fans. It’s a GoT problem, and it’s amateurish from begin to end. The good news, perhaps, is that the last three episodes will have a lot of action in Kings Landing, and that’s usually better as far as light.



Photos courtesy of HBO/Game of Thrones.

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112 Responses to “‘Game of Thrones’ cinematographer: ‘GoT’ isn’t too dark, people need to tune their TVs”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    I watched it with all the lights off, and I didn’t have any problem.
    Unfortunately I don’t have a big tv screen, because I thought it must be amazing on it.

    • Mgsota says:

      I had to watch it on my iPhone X and I couldn’t really see anything during the dragon fighting scenes. I watched in complete darkness, didn’t help.

    • Mel says:

      I had all the lights off too ( which didn’t help my pacing for the whole episode in anxiety in the living room lol) but I was able to see it pretty well, I did watch on a big screen though, only trouble was when the dragons were fighting each other, that was the only bit I feel I couldn’t see well, though, it did make us feel like we were right there in that confusion with the characters as well. Cause they were obviously lost as well lol

    • petee says:

      I had no issues at all.I could see it on my HD Curved screen which is massive, my lap top and my phone.I am also 56 so my eyes are not the best.I also get the story and the mood they were going for.No complaints from me.After all the Episode was called the Long Night.They are fighting the Knight King.

  2. Nic919 says:

    When my TV was first installed the technician made sure to properly tune it beyond the factory settings to fit the lighting in the room. That said I still had issues in a lot of scenes. It was better when I turned off the lights but some of the issues were because of the erratic edit cuts during the battle scenes too.

    • SKF says:

      Yeah, I watched on a big, new screen, set up by a proper tech guy, with no ambient lighting on. I still couldn’t make out what was happening a lot of the time. I get that they wanted it to be moody, dark, chaotic and crazy. The problem is that there weren’t enough establishing shots to help us understand where we were and where everyone else was. A lot of the time I had no idea if I was watching a main character or some random extra fighting – it was so choppy and unclear. All of the quick, choppy shots of pure chaos made it very hard to follow what was going on. I think you can convey the darkness and chaos and despair whilst also taking your audience on the journey with you in a way that they understand what is happening. The opening scene of Saving Private Ryan springs to mind as does the Battle of Helm’s Deep in LOTR. I think the issue wasn’t just with how dark it was (although, in general, overly dark movies and TV shows drive me nuts), it was the editing as well. And I’ve seen behind the scenes footage that shows it was not that dark when they were shooting. They actually made it darker for some reason.

      Also, this guy comes off sounding like a jerk. And if it’s only about the emotional impact and not seeing what is going on, then why spend 55 nights shooting at massive expense? Shoot a black box with some white flecks and add some sound effects and hey presto! You have the same results!

    • Megan says:

      My husband used to work for a major network. Our TV is tuned so perfectly I sometimes think the people on the screen are in the room. I still needed to watch this episode with the lights off.

  3. Marie says:

    I have to agree, because it was fine for me. Dark, but I had no trouble with details.

    • Snazzy says:

      Fine for me too, though a lot of my friends complained about not being able to see on their TVs at home 🤷🏽‍♀️

  4. Becks1 says:

    Here’s part of what I don’t get. If we weren’t supposed to see what was going on, and that was a directorial/cinematographic (is that a word?) choice, why is the response to “tune the settings on your TV so you could see.” Either we were supposed to see or we weren’t. If the response is “people just needed to fix their TVs”, that’s a bad response.

    Anyway, like I said yesterday, upon rewatching it was really obvious to me which scenes were for effect (like the dragons in the blizzard) and which scenes were just overdone and hard to see, for whatever reason. Even in the beginning when Tyrion et al are kind of wandering around Winterfell, the darkness was “glippy.” My words are not very technical, sorry, ha.

    Also like I said yesterday, I did pick up more upon a rewatch, I think because I was a lot less anxious. And I get the idea of atmosphere and effect and all that. I just think they overshot a little bit. We’ve seen lots of “dark” movies and dark scenes and have never had the issue that we had Sunday night.

    Hopefully the super dark scenes are over though so it’s a non-issue.

    • broodytrudy says:

      Someone posted the lightened dragon battle on reddit and it was AMAZING. I wish we could have seen it like that the first time. We watched it on our new, big tv in pitch dark and even then we couldn’t see anything. And that troll yesterday that said people needed to get their eyes checked? Birch please, millions of people are complaining that it was too dark, and you’re saying it’s more likely that it’s their eyes than bad lighting on the show? LOL sure. 🙄

      • Becks1 says:

        That’s something I don’t get Broody! The parts of the dragon battle I could see were so well done. Don’t you want people to be able to see that? It’s not like Jaws, where they just don’t show you the shark for most of the movie (for financial reasons initially but then it has become one of the best parts of the movie.) Its not like there is just sound, and they didn’t actually have the dragons fighting. They went to the effort of “doing” that whole battle between the dragons, up in the air – the parts I could see were awesome. Why do all that effort and then say, “people weren’t supposed to see?”

      • Bella DuPont says:

        Have searched hard for this lightened video and can’t spot it…..any chance you’d be able to post the link? (Pwetty please….) 🙏

      • Jenns says:

        You can search with this phrase in Google or Reddit:

        S08E03 Fight of the dragons – brightness UP, speed DOWN

      • Bella DuPont says:

        @ Jenns

        Thank you, that was amazing! 😘

      • Jag says:

        Jaws didn’t show the shark because it kept breaking and not doing what it was supposed to. lol

        Agreed that they need to pick a lane, and not the lane which says that millions of people are wrong.

      • SKF says:

        So happy I saw that! What a waste that we couldn’t see it properly the first time!

      • I Didn't Do It says:

        Thank you so much. Wow. What a difference. They put all that effort into that scene and I missed a lot of the clawing, biting, and scraping. His cloak getting ripped off and flying like that was amazing. The biting so close to their faces-wow. Seeing the details heightens the tension and the fear. You can see the face getting torn. So dumb to make this unseeable for whatever stupid reason. Thank you

      • IlsaLund says:

        @ Jenns….thank you so much for posting that. That scene was amazing. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed because of the darkness. Jon’s cloak getting ripped off, Viserion’s face getting bitten off….just amazing.

    • LadyMTL says:

      ITA, there’s a big difference between wanting an ep to be dark because of atmosphere or whatever, and then overshooting that and making it almost impossible to watch. I found parts of it were fine, and other parts I had trouble even making anything out, let alone figuring out exactly what was supposed to be happening. Mind you, my TV is quite old (it’s a flat screen from 2007!) so that might have had something to do with it as well.

      Still, I think it’s a bit arrogant of the cinematographers to just say “tune your TV’s” and leave it at that.

      • FHMom says:

        Very arrogant and wrong.

      • IlsaLund says:

        I agree….that was extremely arrogant of the cinematographer. I wonder if he and the director thought they’d be heaped with all kinds of praise for the episode and instead have received complaints about the lighting/ darkness. Sounds like they have their knickers in a knot.

      • Myrtle says:

        Lamest response ever. Rule #1: Don’t Blame the Fans! Admit it was too dark for F*s sake (and/or streamed at too low of a resolution by HBO)… and try to do better. Maybe even promise us a brighter version. For all the $$$ spent on that sky-dragon battle, you’d think they’d want people to see it. This whole argument is distracting from the awesomeness of the episode and Arya’s epic WIN.

    • Bella DuPont says:

      Errr @ Becks1….

      I suspect this is not your intention, but do you know the word glippy, according to urban dictionary means:

      “when your butt hole sucks in your penis and you can’t get it out.“


      • Becks1 says:

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no I didn’t know that!!!! I actually had a moments thought before using it, because I was afraid someone would read quickly and thought I was using a slur, but that one did not occur to me LOLOL.

      • Bella DuPont says:

        Actually, based on all the complaints we’re seeing, it may actually be the perfect word. 😁😆

      • Jag says:

        Thanks for the laugh, you two! Becks1 for saying the word, and then Bella DuPont for looking it up. lol

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      So true Becks. And I especially loved the part where he said, “Personally I don’t have to always see what’s going on because it’s more about the emotional impact…”

      Dude. Your entire job as cinematographer is about the IMAGE. Which means it’s your job to make sure we SEE what’s going on.

      We have a giant, top of the line flat screen, and with everything I else I watch, the picture is so vivid, it’s crazy, and we could barely see anything that was going on. Every episode of GoT this season has had cinematographic issues. It was just more pronounced in this one.

  5. Hanahk says:

    The night is dark and full of terrors

    • ByTheSea says:

      LOL and untuned tvs, apparently.

    • CL says:

      A friend of mine was working Sunday night and couldn’t watch the episode until later. He texted me during the episode, and for a spoiler-free update. My response: “It’s STRESSFUL and DARK”

  6. My3cents says:

    This is so about ego. This show is virtually the most watched show around the world. If you cannot “compromise your artistic integrity “or some other BS so that millions of people could have a better viewing experience, or actually make out what is going on you gave a problem. This is not some artsy film meant to be viewed only in cinemas, don’t deflect dude.

    • Eleonor says:

      As I said: I didn’t have any problem, even if friends told me they had. BUT if you want to set free your inner Kubrick, then go on full Kubrick mode and ask for some special lents at NASA. I bet the budget wasn’t a problem.

      • isabelle says:

        I have a plasma TV and was surprised to see all of the comments. It looked great on mine as dark scenes look great on Plamsa TVs.

    • Arpeggi says:

      This! You absolutely have to take into account how it’ll look for an end-user. You can have the best TV in the world but the file will be compressed after production, by HBO, by whatever 3rd-party has HBO rights in your country/region, by internet providers… All the darkness will be pixelated has hell once it arrives on your TV. Saying “Well, you just had to tune your TV and have a great TV like what we use when we look at the original file freshly out of editing” is BS, you’re trying to save face.

      They forgot they were filming a TV show, an art that’s supposed to be accessible to the mass and not everyone can spend a huge amount of money for the latest, most amazing TV. Even then, it won’t do much when the highest resolution you can get from HBO is 720p instead of the standard 1080.

  7. Jennifer says:

    On a very new tv (not iPad), all the lights off. I couldn’t see anything. It wasn’t just the lighting, it was the pacing as well.

  8. Va Va Kaboom says:

    If he’s aware that a ton of people watch on iPads and “poorly tuned” TVs why not take that into account? His entire freaking job is to produce a product fans can watch and enjoy. It’s not our responsibility to change our viewing habits to accommodate his over the top artistic choices. You’d think this guy was doing us a favor, and not his actual job which he’s being handsomely compensated for btw.

    The fact that it was too dark for multitudes of viewers watching on different devices, then that’s a problem with the product not the device. I

    • Erinn says:

      Yeah it’s actually bs. I get what he was going for – but he has to anticipate the end user. I spend my day coding websites and occasionally doing design work as well. I have to make sure that everything I do works the same in internet explorer (even though it’s not supported) as it does in firefox and chrome because we KNOW that a lot of users are still using older computers and browsers.

      I’m sorry but he’s a tool. I’m sure there was a compromise that he could have come to – but he just didn’t WANT to.

    • Humbugged says:

      He can know about people watching on their devices all he wants ,it still would make no difference .It’s not a lighting thing with the crew it’s a compression problem with the way HBO stream it . And the longer the episode ,it means a bigger original file and with the sheer volume of streams the more they have to compress it down to get it to run without it stalling

  9. Originaltessa says:

    This pisses me off. My parents, in their 60’s, eyesight less than it used to be, couldn’t see it at all. My mom loves the show so much and she wanted to cry because she feels she missed the whole thing. I get dark and moody, but if a chunk of your audience literally cannot see it, maybe it’s your responsibility to mend that.

  10. Sayrah says:

    It wasn’t just dark. The streaming was off and it was pixelated at times too. I was going to rewatch yesterday but I couldn’t because it wasn’t completely dark outside yet. Annoying.

  11. I Didn't Do It says:

    While Jon was riding the dragon, he somehow lost his cloak. I totally did not see it happen. Watched 3 times and still no idea how he lost it. Guess I need to do some serious tuning but only for this show :) . I also have no idea how Arya lost her weapon. Way to dark. They spent all those weeks in grueling weather filming and many can’t appreciate the effort because we can’t see it. Ugh.

    • Lady D says:

      @Jenns in comment #4 has a link to a brightened version of the dragon fight where you can see his cloak being pulled off by ice dragon.

    • Nibbi says:

      I’m just learning now that his cloak got ripped off. i could see a bit that the dragons were doing some serious biting and scratching at each other at one point, but i thought it was Drogon taking all the damage til i watched the “behind the throne” after-show bit, and learned that the ice dragon was leaking blue flame bc of have half his face missing. i mean, i watched on my (brand-new, but ok) big laptop computer screen. i watched in the pitch dark not more than a foot from the screen and was squinting and moving the screen around and maxing the brightness out- it was distracting. i can dig darkness and not knowing what’s going on and how that can heighten the terror (ie, watching the dothraki’s lights flicker out & not knowing exactly out there was dramatic AF & really tense and exciting to watch) – but i was so stressed out during the dragon battle knowing that i love that stuff, and the effects were probably outstanding, but that surely i was supposed to be seeing more than that?! bc why spend so much on the effects if they’re hardly discernible after ??

  12. Taya says:

    I have a new Sony 4K and the eyesight of a 20something and I still thought it was too dark.

  13. Steph says:

    Lol hes full of it. Even critics have said this. every freaking show right now thinks its “artistic” to make shows as dark as they can. Its freaking annoying.

  14. Beli says:

    Nah, we had the lights off and a good TV and we still missed bits.

    No one was expecting the battle to be at high noon and I get that they wanted us to feel the chaos and tension the characters felt, but we need to at least be able to see what’s going on! There were some beautiful shots that surely the cinematographer would want everyone to appreciate properly?

    • The Hench says:

      Agree. I got the feeling of chaos and tension in the midst of a fight from the Battle of the B*stards episode and that was shot in daylight. It does not require complete darkness for something to be terrifying and confusing. On the other hand, complete darkness will render something unwatchable, which is a bit of an issue for a TV show, especially one that spent $15 million on this episode 🙄

  15. Louise177 says:

    Some scenes were just too dark and the snow scenes were just frustrating. It gets better after several viewings but this is the show’s fault not the viewers. I don’t know how the cinematographer could dismiss millions of people.

  16. Coco says:

    This is a crap answer. Just say you made an artistic choice that didn’t work the way you’d intended for many viewers and it’s disappointing all the way around. This isn’t a film screened in a controlled setting of a theater. Know that your audience is watching on a multitude of different platforms and providers so make it easy on us, the viewers, to enjoy and appreciate the hard work of hundreds of people. I am rarely disappointed with GoT but I was on Sunday. Looking forward to King’s Landing and better lighting!

    • Becks1 says:

      And long these lines – if I were watching Endgame at my house, and complaining about it, or even one of the LOTR movies (I have no clue how dark Endgame is or isn’t, ha), but I could see dismissing the complaints about being “dark” because those movies are designed for theaters. Yes, the producers/directors/et al know that eventually people are going to be watching in their homes, but the initial viewings are in the theater. So I can get that not every theater release is going to translate well to a home TV.

      But this was literally made for TV, not for theaters. they could have done better.

      • Arpeggi says:

        And yet, you could be watching Endgame or LOTR from a DVD or BlueRay and get a better quality image than what we got because it wouldn’t be as compressed… The show is for cable/streaming TV, you absolutely have to take into account how the people will realistically watch it. If HBO/GoT production team wants to send us all a BlueRay copy of the episode, fine then we’ll talk about tuning the TV being an issue.

  17. chloe says:

    I have a very expensive well tuned tv and it was hard to see even with the lights off, I watch plenty of scary, dark movies that still work when I can see the action without the screen being completely dark, I just figured they were saving on costumes and makeup by making it so dark. I love GOT but the cinematographer is making excuses for making an artsy choice that didn’t pan out on everyone’s tv.

  18. grabbyhands says:

    No one should have to special tune their TV to watch one episode in a television series. Why are so many people involved in that show so far up their own ass?

    • Elkie says:

      This. If it was people’s TVs and tablets that were the main issue, they probably would have noticed before during the eight years the show has been on!

  19. I Didn't Do It says:

    I’m hoping they will correct this. It is possible to do. I watched the making of The Lord of the Rings and it showed how they tweaked the lighting when conditions did not match. They went in and manually lightened and darkened various scenes for continuity. Some days just had more or less light and they made adjustments after the film was shot.

    • Sayrah says:

      Certainly they could rerelease the episode if reddit people can fix some scenes. This guy would have to admit his mistake first and he’s digging in his heels.

  20. I Didn't Do It says:

    I have HBO NOW and on Sunday night I had a problem with buffering. I have now found out that there are different stream rates for different viewing methods. It hasn’t happened since Sunday. Was not a happy camper. Buffering issues and too dark to see.

    • starryfish29 says:

      I basically got to see the show in 45 second chunks on HBO Now. If you’re paying for the content it ought to be a reasonable expectation that you should be able to view it properly, especially since people who stream are actually paying a much higher rate for the content.

  21. C-Shell says:

    Let’s hope they improve the lighting for the DVD set that I’m going to have to buy because I’m one of the unfortunates forced to watch this season on my laptop BECAUSE AT&T, HBO AND DISH ARE IN A FRICKING PISSING MATCH.

    Sorry. I’m beyond p!ssed that I pay Dish and pay for HBO and now I’m paying for the HBO Now app just so I can watch GoT on a laptop. Wagner can just STFU.

  22. HK9 says:

    I’ve watched almost every movie/show on my TV and yes bitch that episode was too damn dark.

  23. lillibet says:

    We had no issues seeing but we also watch in our bonus room that is set up fairly closely to a theater as far as lighting, tv and surround sound. My husband is also incredibly precise about tv settings – it drives him insane when we are at my parents and his parents and their TVs are on the factory settings.

    The only part I couldn’t hardly see was the dragon fight in the storm and that seemed to be on purpose.

  24. starryfish29 says:

    Ah yes, 1000s of people have simply forgotten how to use their televisions correctly. That’s definitely it.

  25. PlayItAgain says:

    All I can say is that experimentation helped. I fiddled with my TV settings the day before using the dark planet scenes in the first Avengers movie as a sample—the “vivid” setting seemed the best. Then I turned off all the lights and I could see everything during the battle just fine. It was awesome. The only part that was difficult for me was the mid-air dragon fight, but I’m chalking that up to the quick cuts back and forth—which I would expect because they’re effing fierce dragons.

  26. StellainNH says:

    We have a “sports mode” on our television that lights up the picture. We had no problem with the show.

  27. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I like my tv. In fact, it’s so good I sometimes think it’s too good as I’m really not interested in human pores. There has to be a line people! I still found myself leaning in and squinting. It was dark. It was hard to see. But I get it. The characters could hardly see. While they were fumbling in a snowy darkness, we fumbled through watching lol.

    Shit answer from some on edge people so I’m giving them a pass. This show is so popular, and while we’ve been biting our nails for two years, they’ve created a final season while crapping their pants over mass reception lol. The show has even ‘guided us in the final fray’ by suggesting many will have complaints, not agree, experience letdown, whatever. And as Snow pointed out, he’s going with frak off.

    I’m cool. I love it.

    • Jess says:

      Our tv is like that and I don’t like it. I can see big dirty pores and lines in caked on make up like eye shadow! I’m still mad my husband spent so much on a freaking tv and will never let him live it down, lol.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Precisely! If the actors were sitting directly in front of me, I wouldn’t see their skin cells. Landscape is one thing. A person’s DNA strand is entirely different.

  28. Michael says:

    Sorry pal, but some people’s whole lives don’t revolve around GOT. I watched on my laptop and thought something was wrong with it. Sorry I can’t sit around in the dark, adjust my tv, and do whatever else to just be able to tell what is going on.

    • Arpeggi says:

      I actually thought the compression issues were exacerbated on my good TV vs on a laptop and my colleague confirmed my suspicion: he and his gf got so tired of how pixelated it was on their TV that they switched to their laptop to get to see something. I’d be cool with dark, I get it’s night; what I’m not cool with is the poor image quality and resolution we got. I sort of wish I still had my old cathodic 1999 TV I replaced last fall (thinking about the upcoming GoT season); I would probably have been less annoyed watching the episode on it than on my brand new 4K TV

  29. Veronica S. says:

    LOL, everybody involved in the production of that show is so ridiculously egotistical. Just no sense of self-awareness at all.

  30. Franny says:

    I liked it. The darkness intensified the sound too, which was really creepy while they were waiting for the army to arrive.

  31. Noway says:

    I thought at first the comment it was your tv was malarkey. Then I saw it again and changed the settings on my tv, and he’s right. That being said the standard tv settings make it dark, so they probably should have brightened it up a little at least for the people watching. I understand it’s meant to be somewhat dark, but come on. Second if someone missed the knife dropping with Arya your tv is too dark. That scene was lit well. Plus shout out to the musical score. Best I’ve seen in a long time especially the end. Just amazing.

    • I Didn't Do It says:

      I’m sorry. I didn’t make that part clear. I certainly saw her awesome knife drop maneuver at the end. I couldn’t see what happened to the staff Gendry made for her. She must have dropped it when she fell?

      • Lady D says:

        She took out 20 white walkers (I counted) with that weapon while Ser Davos watched in awe. I’m pretty sure it broke in the fight, and she dropped it before she ran.

  32. HeyThere! says:

    I had all the lights off and had zero problem seeing anything?! Strange! I would have been so annoyed.

  33. Digital Unicorn says:

    A LOT of people watch it on laptops and tablet and its rather arrogant to ignore them – sadly there are many people like this twatty cinematographer who refuses to to get with the times and at least think of the digital audience. Digital and laptop/tablets/phones are NOT going away.

  34. Jess says:

    We have a brand new 65 inch OLED tv and it was still hard to see. My husband paused it and turned all the lights down and fiddled with the brightness and it was still too dark. This dude needs to get over himself and just say oops, my bad.

  35. Sunshine says:

    At first I hated it but I get the reasoning behind it and as the episode went on I had so much anxiety about what was happening (paired with the intense music). I think they wanted you to feel how those on the battlefield felt in the midst of it, with the poor weather conditions and lack of light. I felt the panic and anxiety that’s for sure

  36. Micky says:

    I re-watched it last night on my iPad (HBO GO app) and it was so much easier to see.

  37. Case says:

    If people can see other dark/night scenes on their TVs fine but not this one, the cinematographer did something wrong. He shouldn’t rely on people adjusting their TVs to view content if they can see everything else fine on its normal setting. TVs have you tune your TV to the correct brightness when you first purchase it. That setting should be fine across the board.

  38. shells_bells says:

    I also turn out all the lights when I watch. The first time I watched on cable and it was awful. I watched the second time on the HBO app and it was awesome and clear. Same TV, so that’s not the problem. I think the problem is with the cable providers (Verizon fios for me). I was also having trouble with the sound. I watch most shows at 40, GoT I usually watch around 50, but for this episode I had it up to 65 and was still having trouble.

  39. lower case lila says:

    Well it got everybody talking in my office the next day. Long discussion about what happened .

  40. beep says:

    the first viewing,lights off, brand new tv, very hard to see. The next night I watched it again, lights off, and the brightness level all the way up. Still difficult to see anything.

  41. Miss M says:

    I have no problem with what the cinematographer said. It is his work and his is defending it. Also, I watched with lights off and had no issues. If I missed something is because I was too anxious and had too much wine lol

  42. Texas says:

    There were times when I thought the dark was right on. Like at the beginning. And other times, it bothered me. It didn’t bother me a ton though. For me it felt immersive. And for the record, I have a shit tv. It’s flat screen, but older.

  43. Angry Bird says:

    Look at Mr Fancypants over here, thinking everyone has TVs. Well, la-di-da.

    If people need to specially calibrate their televisions specifically to watch your show, they aren’t the problem. You are.

    It was too dark.

  44. styla says:

    I think the dragon fight scene was too fast. I personally liked the darkness, it really drive home the intensity of the battle and how it was truly a fight for the dawn.

    But this episode was anything but amateur. It was absolutely incredible. Battle of the Bastards still trumps it though, that was one insanely gorgeous and fluid battle scene.

    The guy they got to do this episode and two of the next three is nothing short of incredible at his work.

  45. Rae says:

    I’m so glad to find out I’m not alone. I thought it was because I was watching on a IPhone…I couldn’t see jack shit. It was so frustrating.

  46. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    I bet he didn’t watch the broadcast version. What a cable company is giving you is a compressed digital feed. What I saw definitely had compression artefacts like banding. Nothing to do with my TV. Low contrast images can compress poorly.

  47. Becks1 says:

    Okay, for what is becoming my typical post workout update. LOL.

    I rewatched Battle of the Bastards today in my basement, and THAT was an example of my TV and the setting affecting the show. Like some scenes were really dark and I couldn’t see really well, but there was light coming in the windows, TV is a bit older and I did not adjust any of the settings at all. But I know I didn’t have those issues watching it before (we just rewatched it a few weeks ago, upstairs, better TV, in the dark) and it was perfectly fine. Atmospheric, and fine. That was not true for Sunday night’s episode.

    But oh well, HBO made a misstep, not the end of the world, I’m ready for what happens next.

    Also, upon rewatching BOTB – Jon Snow has courage, honor, and integrity, and I can see why he might have been a good lord bc of those qualities, but dude does not have any sense of military strategy. Or at least cant stick to it. Thank the lord for the knights of the Vale.

    • styla says:

      This is what I love about this show and the books. The characters are solid as hell because they aren’t perfect and their flaws are consistent, it makes them the most realistic ones I have ever encountered.

      Like Sansa… she can be petulant and snotty but at the same time she is hard as nails about her duty and place and these things have caused bad things to happen but also caused incredibly good things to happen. Sam is a bubbling idiot when it comes to battle but the guy tries hard and without him there is so much knowledge that wouldn’t have been known. Things that were integral to key events happening. Jon is courageous and full of integrity as much as those things saved the world (literally no one gave a shiz about the Night King and every choice he made was to make sure he was defeated) those things also blind him to the obvious better choices. Briene likes to whine and moan about not being conventionally attractive and how unfairly she is treated for it yet the woman falls in love with the most stereotypical handsome dudes available (Jamie, Loras etc).

      I haven’t seen such consistency in a character’s disposition in all my life of books and movies.

  48. Ruyana says:

    I don’t watch GOT, but the cinematographer might want to pay some attention to the complaints. It hasn’t been just a few people, it has been many. Would it kill him to light it better? People shouldn’t have to work to see it.

  49. Lilly (with the double-L) says:

    I feel for extras and their families.
    Extra: Mom, MOM! I got a small part on Game of Thrones! It’s in a huge episode watch me.
    Mom: I’m calling everyone and I’m so proud of you.
    Mom: I think you were blur number 5 in that one scene.
    Extra: Didn’t I look artistic? It was a completely valid aesthetic choice. I’m going down in history.

    Joking aside, I get what they were going for and I’ll just let it go with what I couldn’t see very well, because I loved the episode. I will say a cinematographer has no humility.

  50. Mads says:

    I have a LG smart tv and watching the episode was difficult – I watched it live in the UK so it was dark outside. I found a tech page that gave settings for many tvs, mine included, and I changed the picture mode to cinema and screen ratio to scan and the results were incredible on the second watch. I could actually see that Rhaegal is green. I have since watched all the season 8 episodes again and it is like watching a different show as the clarity is now superb.

  51. Kimmie says:

    I don’t get the belly-aching on this. We started watching episode 8.3 on HBOGo. I noticed it was a bit dark so asked my husband to turn up the backlight (brightness). Much improved. They’re right. Many people just don’t know how to operate their TVs. Also, all of the other aforementioned battles either took place during the day or were meant to be daytime battles. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  52. Deering24 says:

    Sheesh—he’s really going with that explanation? A guy over at the Onion AV Club nailed this perfectly: “Man, if I wanted to watch bodies just stumble around in bad lighting and a heavy frost I’d watch a Bills game.”

  53. Ellis says:

    When people screw up their job, I always prefer when they own it and apologize, instead of placing blame elsewhere.

  54. HeyThere! says:

    Just wanted to add I watched this on my smart tv, via Amazon Prime Video app-add HBO channel. Maybe that’s why I could see it?!

  55. Amaria says:

    I saw everything just normal on my run-of-the-mill LCD TV, on HBO Go. Then again, I’m one of these people who actually knows that you’re SUPPOSED to calibrate brightness/contrast/colors on your TV or monitor so all the tones can be seen. I mean, honestly, TVs are idiot-proof nowadays and some people still don’t get it.

    • Mike says:

      If that was the case why do you think the masses – almost all intelligent GOT viewers – are all complaining.
      I’m in the tv business, and no, you shouldn’t have to turn brightness and backlight etc all the way up. The shows should be shot within a range of normalcy which this was not.

      I adjusted it all the way up and still couldn’t see what was happening.
      Why? Because they simply did not let us see what was happening clearly.
      Sure you could make it out – barely – if you worked really hard at it.

      We don’t want to work hard when watching our show. We want to sit back, relax and enjoy the STORY. Not strain our eyes.

  56. Kimberly says:

    I watched this on my flat screen and adjusted the settings the 2nd time I re-watched this episode and was still dissatisfied. I could make out certain elements but it was frustrating sometimes.

    Fabian Wagner comes off as very arrogant. If most fans are not satisfied, then that must be a cause of concern. The fans are the reason this series is as big as it is and it is what pays his bills.
    I would have preferred they do this battle in the day like (Battle of the Bastards) as someone mentioned above. But they had to be oh so dramatic by doing this in the night. As if that’s some accomplishment in film making. BS!!!!

    • Mike says:

      You are 100% right!
      I adjusted it and watched it twice and still couldn’t really tell what was happening.
      I worked in tv as an editor.
      The real problem was the editing AND the lighting AND the directing.
      It was simply a FAIL x 3.
      Oh, make that 4: the PRODUCERS should never have approved any of the other 3.

      There is NO REASON a night battle can’t be filmed in such a way as to see what is happening. Go back and look at Lord of the Rings trilogy, they did a great job of it.

  57. LeiDub says:

    I could see it, I made sure to adjust the television before I watched, but it was still too damn dark. I saw in an article somewhere, “The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers big battle was at night, in the rain, and you can see every detail.”
    I don’t know why it’s the hip thing to make the show so dark you can’t see anything (Walking Dead, GOT), it’s dumb and makes me not want to watch. If I wanted to listen to a story, I’d listen to a stinkin podcast for God’s sake.

  58. Mike says:

    Guess what asswipe? (Cinematographer AND Director are addressed here)
    GOT is made to be watched in people’s tv’s.
    GOT is a tv show meant for mass consumption.
    GOT does not need to be dark even though the battle was at night.
    GOT directors and producers should know that people want to see what is happening.
    GOT totally BLEW it with that ridiculously dark battle scene.
    GOT EDITORS also blew it, the editing was horrible. Cuts so quick you couldn’t tell what was happening.
    The producer(s), editor(s) and Director should be warned that this is a big black mark against them, against GOT and against HBO.

  59. Mike says:

    The Director and Producer should be fired and never used again for this show. Period. The editing was very bad too but that’s probably more the director and producer’s fault than the editor’s.