The Final Season of Game of Thrones Nearly Featured a Direwolf Army

When it comes to Game of Thrones, the Stark family might have had some of the worst luck throughout the series, but there were few storylines more tragic than the fates of their Direwolves. Most of them died, one of them became the pack leader of wild wolves, and only Ghost ended the series at the side of his master Jon Snow.

But apparently there were plans for multiple Direwolves to appear in the final season — a whole army of them, in fact. "The Long Night" director Miguel Sapochnik admitted in an appearance on the IndieWire Toolkit podcast that fifty Direwolves were going to appear to fight the Night King's undead dragon Viserion.

"There were many things that happened, that people would have been so happy to have happen," Sapochnik said. "Attack of Direwolves and crazy stuff. At some point you're like, '50 Direwolves attacking an undead dragon does not make a good movie.'"

Sapochnik does not go into story details that would result in the Direwolves involvement, though we can venture a guess that it would have to do with Nymeria. The only other remaining survivor of the Stark clan's pets, Nymeria belonged to Arya Stark until she had to force the wolf to run away because it attacked the crown prince Joffrey Baratheon in the second episode of Season 1.

Fearing for her safety, Arya sends her away in hopes of saving her life; it works, but the Baratheons decide to murder Sansa's Direwolf named Lady instead. Nymeria is not seen again until the second episode of Season 7 "Stormborn" in which Arya randomly runs into a pack of wolves, seemingly about to be attacked. Nymeria appears and calls off the pack once she recognizes her former companion. Arya pleads with the Direwolf to return to her side, but Nymeria and the pack disappear into the woods, never to be seen again.

It seems like that was the perfect opportunity to bring Nymeria and a new clan of allies into the fold, but it never came together despite how much Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted it to happen. Sapochnik explained that the two were always pushing for "bigger and better" in the final season, and sometimes he had to push back.

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"Dave and Dan were heading towards the finish line and they were unrelenting in what they expected of us," said Sapochnik. "Then their mantra to us is 'It's going to kill us, but it's going to be great.' And we were like, 'No, no, it's actually going to kill us if we don't stop.' They were completely ruthless when it came to that kind of thing of, 'No, we want this, we want this.' And at the same time, there were moments of realization that we physically can't do some of these things and other things we can."

All episodes of Game of Thrones are now available on HBO TV.