Game of Thrones fans were delighted Sunday to see the long-awaited return of Ghost, the direwolf adopted by Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
The creature, who has gone unseen since Season 6, “has a fair amount of screen time in Season 8,” visual-effects supervisor Joe Bauer previously told the Huffington Post when explaining budgetary limits in Season 7 forced a filmed scene with Ghost to be cut.
Such limitations meant scaling back the involvement of Ghost and sister Nymeria, the last-surviving Stark direwolves.
“The direwolves are tough because you don’t want to get them wrong, so we end up always shooting real wolves and doing a scaling trick with them, but the real wolves only behave in certain ways,” Bauer said, reiterating the employ of real wolves is “a bit limited.”
“I think that has something to do with why the direwolves are in the show but they’re not maybe as integral as they are in the books,” Bauer added, deferring to show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as the creature wranglers ultimately in control of the direwolves’ screen time.
It’s the continued involvement of other mystical creatures also responsible in part for the now little-seen direwolves, such as Wilding giant Wun Wun, whose presence in “Battle of the Bastards” meant Ghost had to be dropped from the Season 6 episode’s already expensive and grueling shoot.
“[Ghost] was in there in spades originally, but it’s also an incredibly time consuming and expensive character to bring to life,” director Miguel Sapochnik previously explained to Business Insider. “Ultimately we had to choose between Wun-Wun and the direwolf, so the dog bit the dust.”
But with his return, made possible in part by upped per-episode budgets, Ghost is “very present and does some pretty cool things in Season 8,” Bauer teased.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 pm on HBO.
WE REALLY JUST GONNA ACT LIKE GHOST CHILLIN OVER THERE IS NBD LIKE WE HAVENT SEEN HIM IN A WHILE FAM GIVE SCRATCHIES TO YOUR DOGGO #gameofthrones— Katie (@katiekb718) April 22, 2019
I feel like I’m the only one freaking out over ghost.April 22, 2019
Ghost legit just popped up outta nowhere as if he ain’t been gone for 2 seasons and I’m so here for it #GameOfThrones— Courtney🌙 (@courtsiann_) April 22, 2019
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