Warning: Spoilers for Game of Thrones S8E4
One of the biggest gripes Game of Thrones fans had with S8E4 “The Last of the Starks” wasn’t Euron’s inexplicably surreptitious Iron Fleet or his egregiously impeccable aim when it came to ballista-brochetting Rhaegal or even seeing the Mountain take a couple inches (well, several) off the top of Missandei‘s head.
It was Jon Snow’s gross mistreatment of his direwolf Ghost, one of a litter of direwolf pups the Starks stumble upon in the very first episode of Game of Thrones.
Fans took to social media to express their incredulity and outrage at Ghost getting the cold shoulder and who can blame them? Jon couldn’t even be bothered to give his loyal companion from the beginning a hug goodbye much less a loving pat on the head before he went off to war.
— Matt Morvay (@MattMorvay) May 6, 2019
— Game of Thrones (@GoGameofThrones) May 6, 2019
Jon’s snubbing of Ghost is a jarring inconsistency with George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire source material, wherein Jon and his direwolf are inseparable companions with a very close bound. Without Ghost, Jon isn’t the same person, as this quote from the first book reveals:
Ghost ran with them for a time and then vanished among the trees. Without the direwolf, Jon felt almost naked. — A Game of Thrones – Jon VII
Or how about this dream where he actually is Ghost, which some fans cite as foreshadowing of Jon’s warging ability:
“A dream,” said Jon feebly. “I was Ghost, I was on the edge of the mountain looking down on a frozen river, and something attacked me. A bird . . . an eagle, I think . . .” — A Clash of Kings – Jon VII
Even during his death scene in A Dance with Dragons, he calls out Ghost’s name:
Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end. When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold … — A Dance with Dragons – Jon XIII
In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Game of Thrones S8E4 director David Nutter had this to say on the subject matter: “Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible… And I think that it played out much more powerfully that way.” Nutter added, “Then he just walks off by himself, he turns to Ghost and has this moment with Ghost that I thought was very, very powerful.”
But did Ghost deserve a more poignant goodbye? We think so. So let’s remember Ghost like Jon should have remembered him.
When he reached Jon he leapt, and they wrestled amidst brown grass and long shadows as the stars came out above them. “Gods, wolf, where have you been?” Jon said when Ghost stopped worrying at his forearm. “I thought you’d died on me, like Robb and Ygritte and all the rest.” pic.twitter.com/oZGvKErYmS
— AQuoteOfIceAndFire (@SerASOIAF) May 8, 2019
Ned Stark: "You will train them yourselves, you will feed them yourselves, and if they die, you will bury them yourselves."
Not give them away after they risked their lives protecting you over, and over, and over again.
— Dogs BaseBall & Tattoos (@KennyPowersYank) May 6, 2019
Even Redditor whoulphinbowser’s quick, but heartfelt farewell would’ve been better than what we got.
Do you think Ghost deserved a better farewell? Or does Jon’s last-minute abandonment of Ghost somehow symbolize him letting go of his Stark side? Let us know in the comments.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!