When Jon Snow left Winterfell to march with Daenerys Targaryen towards King’s Landing, he sent his pale dire wolf Ghost off beyond-the-wall with Tormund and the wildlings. Fans thought that was the last they’d see of Ghost, but it turns out they were wrong. Ghost made a surprise return in the final episode of Game of Thrones. SPOILERS for the episode follow.
After Jon made a shocking decision and killed Daenerys Targaryen, he was sent back to the Wall to serve in the Night's Watch once again for his betrayal. It's better than death, of course, as everyone else knew that he did the right thing for the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
The end of the episode shows Jon reuniting with Tormund and the Wildlings. And fans will be happy to see Ghost is there as well, making that terrible departure in the fourth episode of the season much more tolerable in this context.
Having Ghost back will make some Game of Thrones fans happy. Those fans felt burned by the impersonal parting between Jon and Ghost earlier in the season. Game of Thrones director David Nutter said that was because the wolf in the episode was entirely CGI.
“Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible,” said Nutter while speaking to The Huffington Post. “And I think that it played out much more powerfully that way… Keeping Ghost off to the side, I thought that played out better. Then he just walks off by himself, he turns to Ghost and has this moment with Ghost that I thought was very, very powerful.”
“I think that Jon knows what he’s leaving behind,” added John Bradley, who plays Samwell Tarly. “Jon Snow is a noble man, and he knows all about sacrifice ... He knows what he has to keep safe, and he knows he has a responsibility to Ghost and a responsibility to Sam, Gilly and Baby Sam because he knows where they’ll be safe.”
Ghost has been with Jon since the very first episode of Game of Thrones, when Ned Stark and his children discovered a liter of dire wolves. At first, it seemed there was one wolf for each of Ned’s trueborn children but none for this bastard. Then Jon notices the white wolf. Most of the other dire wolves are dead or gone now, but Ghost has been by Jon’s side whenever possible since then.
The dire wolves symbolized the return of magic and monstrous things to the world of Westeros. Jon would become more familiar with these things throughout the series as he encountered wights, learned about the White Walkers and the Night King, reunited with his brother after Bran became a warg and the Three-Eyed Raven, and even rode a dragon a couple of times.