BEWARE of SPOILER ALERTS if you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode, “The Long Night.”
Fans of HBO’s GoT took to social media with various reactions after Sunday’s airing of “The Long Night,” which culminated in a very dark scene.
The momentous defeat of the Night King could’ve been more victorious to witness had it not been for the “indistinguishable” lighting that made it hard to make out the events in the climactic battle.
Game of Thrones cinematographer Fabian Wagner insists the battle of Winterfell wasn’t “too dark”, but that "a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly": https://t.co/XpiE9SpKvg #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/WfMcsKdzkM
— Consequence of Sound (@consequence) April 30, 2019
After much criticism over the unfortunate lighting, the episode’s cinematographer, Fabian Wagner, went on the defensive by pointing the finger at viewers’ televisions.
He told Wired that most of the time, viewers’ devices are part of the issue.
“A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly. A lot of people also unfortunately watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.”
Sorry but this is horse shit. It looked like ass on my calibrated TV, my pc, my tablet, and my phone. If my TV works well for all content but I have to make adjustments for ONE episode of ONE show YOU'RE the one doing it wrong.
— abraham de la rosa (@sinosleep007) April 30, 2019
If tips on how to enjoy it right are needed then something is wrong, just saying…
— Miguel Silva (@miguel_s102) April 30, 2019
Wired noted the contrast of the show’s earlier seasons with crisper, back-lit visuals, to that of the tone deliberately reflecting the darker subject matter in later seasons.
The darkness was a deliberate decision made by showrunners to make this battle different from former battles.
“The showrunners decided that this had to be a dark episode. 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.”
Those who are familiar with the work involved defended the production team.
The people that are complaining have probably never even taken a picture with a high end camera let alone helped produce a show or episode of this magnitude. I’d like to see any of them try and even do 1/1000 of what this guy and the show has done, compressed or not
— James (@drunknotwasted) April 30, 2019
I’m sure it looked awesome in a cutting edge editing bay with the full, raw HDR digital workflow or whatever. But when their output was compressed to shit for networks and streaming, the result most viewers got was a dark, imperceptible mess. #GameofThrones
— John André (@WeGameEpicly) April 30, 2019
It's a compression thing. That's ALWAYS going to be tough, but it's certainly not an actual fault in the cinematography itself, as you know.
It's just laughable that people think they know more about lighting and cinematography than Fabian Wagner 🤦🏽♂️
— Kori Reay-Mackey (@KRMFILM) April 29, 2019
Some fans didn’t seem to have a problem.
I thought the point of it being so dark was so that we could better relate to the characters' fighting experience. They could barely see anything , and neither could we. They had to fight for their lives in the midst of it. Made me anxious and nervous as hell.
— The Reel Takeaway (@ReelTakeaway) April 30, 2019
While others thought it was an unfair assessment.
Why would this be the expectation for the general viewing audience?
— AT (@primediscussion) April 30, 2019
YES THANK YOU. We should not need to a)own a super-expensive TV or b)research and/or perform surgery on said device to simply watch a mainstream show.
— Nefarious Nautilus (@NefariousNautil) April 30, 2019
Others who work in the industry disagreed with the creative choice.
Manchester-based videographer Sophie Barrott barely lasted 15 minutes into the battle scene and thought it was a disservice to dedicated fans.
“There’s a fine line between creating atmosphere for your audience – who have waited eight seasons for a battle of light versus dark, the dead versus the living – to leaving them completely in the dark, straining their eyes beyond comprehension.”
“The lack of light sources, or the over-crushed blacks in the grade of the episode, create a confusing of a mix of frustration and intense imagination.”
(“Grade” refers to post-production color-tweaking.)
— Chrissy A (@Chrissybabe1973) May 1, 2019
Wagner continued his explanation that came off sounding more like an excuse.
“Personally I don’t have to always see what’s going on because it’s more about the emotional impact.”
He suggested that audiences should recreate their home-viewing environment “like you’re at a cinema” to maximize their experience.
“’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.”
Well he knew it was being shown on HBO not the theater. So maybe he should have adjusted because what we saw is mostly a foggy and black screen.
— LAVeganNative 🏹 🧜♀️ (@LAVeganNative) May 1, 2019
The verdict is in.
— Tennessean (@Tennessean) April 30, 2019
No! The night is dark and full of terror!
— Greg Chitwood (@chitwood_greg) April 30, 2019
No. It was a battle in the middle of the night in a snowstorm.
— Kevin Crowe (@CroweYo) April 30, 2019
If you watch at night, close all curtains, shut lights off (incl. cell), and watch on perfectly calibrated large TV, you should be able to catch most of what is going on. I'm a big fan & will continue to the end but should we seriously need to go that far?
— Mikyda (@Mikyda3) April 30, 2019
I actually hate to say it, cause MAD RESPECT for the makers, but yes.
— Aunt Spazz (@StaciaDaniel) April 30, 2019
Shit was dark even after making my home dark af and setting brightness at max pic.twitter.com/qwFp51e8vs
— Cris (@rochelrochel) April 30, 2019
This user took more issue with the editing.
I didn’t mind the darkness of the episode. It demonstrated the chaotic terror of the battle. I did have some issues with the editing because some of those sequences were hard to follow, story-wise.
— Benton Olivares (@BentonOlivares) May 1, 2019
Wagner concluded the interview by taking the criticism in stride.
“With a lot of hype comes a lot of criticism. People love to find something to talk about, and so that’s totally fine.”
How about you? Were your eyes hurting from squinting the entire time?