For all of the teeth-gnashing about the mistakes in Game Of Thrones' final season so far - like Emilia Clarke's coffee cup, Emilia Clarke's incredible changing wig, the lie about forgetting the Iron Fleet and Gendry getting entirely the wrong surname at one point. It's Waters, not Rivers Dany - the biggest sticking point for lots of fans was the mistreatment of Jon's direwolf Ghost.
Having been cruelly sidelined several times over the years and having been shunned for a goodbye MORE THAN ONCE, the goodest boy in Westeros was once more cast aside.
Since his debut as a pup, the supposed runt of the direwolf litter (who is as close to a spiritual twin of Jon as any dog could be) has saved Jon, lost an ear in the process and guarded his cold, dead body when his supposed human friends stabbed him to bits. He's never complained once, never turned away from Jon (or any human) and just gone and joined Nymeria's gang running free. He was locked in a love pact with his master and friend.
And now he's gone and he didn't even get a hug.
In one of the most tragically meme-able moments of The Last Of The Starks, the poor white wolf was sent to live with Tormund and the Free Folk North of what remains of The Wall. Some of the more optimistic fans of the show might say, well, that's fine, at least he wasn't killed. And that's fair enough, because the way this show is written, watching Ghost being torn in two by a wight and then worn as furs around the Night King's bony shoulders probably WOULD have fit the brief, but that doesn't take away the pain of his exit.
It just doesn't feel entirely right that Jon would fail to even give his loyal companion a pat on the head. Especially since he's done it before in the past with no issues.
Naturally, just as the show-runners addressed the coffee cup disaster, we have an official answer on why Jon didn't say goodbye properly to Ghost thanks to the episode's director David Nutter, who spoke to the Huffington Post: "Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible."
He also clarified to the New York Times that it was "very much" a CGI issue, which reiterates something Miguel Sapochnik said back in 2016 when it was revealed that Ghost was supposed to be part of The Battle Of The Bastards. He was eventually dropped from those battle sequences though because in practice Ghost was "an incredibly time-consuming and expensive character to bring to life."
To be fair to the film-makers, this rough cut of a deleted scene from season 6 shows just how challenging the process is...
But then you have to think of the counter arguments.
Firstly, in story terms, not giving the direwolves a chance to "repay the favour" of the Starks rescuing them from certain death as pups feels like a rare missed opportunity to tie up a hugely symbolic moment from the show's early days. It would have been the perfect way to tie into the imagery of the strength of the pack that has been leaned on so much this season.
And then there's the fact that this season has already shown moments of profound VX achievements. Jon rode a dragon. A whole army of wights flowed out of the darkness like hellish water. White Walkers burst into showers of ice. A DEAD GIANT LITERALLY PICKED UP LYANNA MORMONT.
In that context, making a dog look a bit bigger and getting Jon to say goodbye to it shouldn't have been a challenge. Lord Of The Rings managed to make Hobbits and lanky wizards interact. This excuse just doesn't full wash.
Nutter actually doubled down by saying that he thought that "it played out much more powerfully that way." And there is something to be said about that. Jon's look to Ghost could have been played as him being too hurt to be able to say goodbye directly. But this isn't an isolated moment of neglect and cumulative evidence makes it look like Jon just doesn't love Ghost as much as Ghost loves Jon.
Now, let's all just take solace in a couple of things. Firstly, that Ghost will have WAY more fun living as Tormund's side-kick (provided the Wildling legend doesn't get too horny on a lonely wander) and then also that Sophie Turner adopted her direwolf in real life. Well, the dog. Not an actual direwolf. That would be irresponsible, not to mention imaginary.
What do you think of Nutter's excuse? Share your reactions below in the comments thread.
Game Of Thrones Quiz: Show Vs Books
1. Who Stopped The Giant From Breaking Through The Gates Of Castle Black In The Books?