Game of Thrones hit a huge climax in the middle of its final season with The Long Night, the third of the show’s final six episodes. With the army of the dead at its gates, the forces of the living, led by Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, faced a final showdown to defeat the Night King once and for all. (In his review, Senior Entertainment Editor Mike Rougeau wasn’t too happy about how the show handled the battle.) Finally, Jon Snow’s long-missing direwolf, Ghost, was among the fighters for the living–least for a second.
We’ve been wondering what the deal is with Ghost for quite a while. He last had any real screentime back in Season 6, when Melisandre resurrected Jon from the dead. He basically vanished after that, on account of the effort and cost of animating the direwolves being actually pretty high. But we saw him briefly return in Season 8’s second episode, establishing that the pup was hanging around Winterfell with Jon. And finally, we saw him get into the action at the start of the Battle of Winterfell.
Ghost charges into the fight with Daenerys’s Dothraki screamers and Jorah Mormont, who lead the battle against the army of the dead. Slowly, however, we realize the Dothraki are completely overmatched, and only a few horses and Jorah Mormont seem to survive the attack. Ghost isn’t among the survivors who come fleeing back to Winterfell–so what happened to the direwolf?
It seems there’s no wight version of Ghost out there in the fields around Winterfell, despite the suggestion that the direwolf might have fallen in battle. Though he never shows up again in Episode 3, HBO gave a super-quick hint that there’s more Ghost to come, at least in the next episode of the show.
You can very briefly glimpse Ghost with the survivors of the Battle of Winterfell in the teaser for Episode 4, which aired at the end of The Long Night. Look extremely closely on the right side of the frame, behind Daenerys and Samwell Tarly, and you’ll catch sight of Ghost hanging out with everybody else just outside the Winterfell gates, as the survivors ostensibly prepare to burn the many, many bodies piled up outside the castle. A flash of white fur and four legs is about all we can spot, though.
Not seeing what Ghost got up to in the Battle of Winterfell was definitely something of a bummer. 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. The show has all but written the remaining direwolves out altogether, though. Summer, Bran’s wolf, died protecting him at the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, and Rickon’s wolf Shaggy Dog died off-screen before the Battle of the Bastards in Season 6. Ghost pretty much vanished from the show, along with Arya’s wolf Nymeria, who showed up briefly in Season 7 to give Arya an emotional moment before disappearing back into the woods. 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.
It’s not clear what role Ghost might have, if any, going forward. We know Daenerys means to head south to King’s Landing with her remaining forces to take the Iron Throne, and one assumes Jon will be in tow to help. So maybe Ghost is heading down to rip out the throats of some Golden Company dudes. Maybe Ghost will take a page from his sister and go be free, now that the threat of the Night King has been eliminated. It would certainly help keep the effects budget down for show’s last few episodes.
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