NOTE: Minor spoilers ahead. Do not read if you haven’t seen Season 8, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones, “The Long Night.”
Fans and viewers of “The Long Night,” the third episode of the series’ final season, were up in arms about the show’s darkness, claiming it was very hard — if not impossible — to make out what was happening on screen.
The epic, long-awaited Battle of Winterfell, which saw the majority of the show’s characters doing battle with the undead, took place at night, which added to viewer disorientation.
To compound the confusion, the battle was quick-paced, making it difficult to pick up on subtle details.
Wagner said that the progression of the night’s darkness into daybreak’s lightness was important to the episode’s theme and suggested viewers’ TV settings and watching habits were the problem.
“Another look would have been wrong,” he said to Wired. “Everything we wanted people to see is there.”
WATCH: Game of Thrones fans, including a dog, react to moments in ‘The Long Night’
“A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly,” he continued. “A lot of people also, unfortunately, watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.”
“Personally, I don’t have to always see what’s going on because it’s more about the emotional impact … Game of Thrones is a cinematic show, and therefore, you have to watch it like you’re at a cinema in a darkened room,” he said. “If you watch a night scene in a brightly lit room then that won’t help you see the image properly.”
Wagner’s intention, he claimed, was to have the episode’s lighting “evolve” throughout the fight to make the “storytelling of the lighting evolve with the storytelling of the characters.”
An HBO spokesperson said there were no issues with the Game of Thrones broadcast.
So is there anything Game of Thrones viewers can do to improve their experience for the final three episodes? Experts suggest both darkening the room as much as possible and upping the screen brightness slightly but not too much, or else the colours will be washed out and grainy.
Episode 4 of Season 8 — the third-last-ever episode — airs on Sunday night.
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