People found a lot to be mad about in the most-recent episode of Game of Thrones. "The Last of the Starks" was a long episode that featured some deaths of beloved characters but few things got fans more riled up than Jon Snow's decision to ghost Ghost.
The rightful heir to the Iron Throne and prettiest person north of The Neck left his direwolf without so much as a pat on the head and fans were heated. But it turns out that there was a reason for leaving Ghost behind, and it's the same thing that has shaped all direwolf-related decisions since the show's outset: it's really expensive to keep them around. Jon did the middle-distance staring thing because it would have been difficult to create a shot of him and Ghost together.
“Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible,” director David Nutter said, per Huffington Post. “And I think that it played out much more powerfully that way.”
Nutter disagreed with internet sentiment, saying that the goodbye across the courtyard was a more affecting moment.
“Keeping Ghost off to the side, I thought that played out better,” he said. "Then he just walks off by himself, he turns to Ghost and has this moment with Ghost that I thought was very, very powerful.”
Jon's right-hand man—with an uncanny ability to forget that he left him for dead in the Battle of Winterfell—agreed. Actor John Bradley shared Samwell Tarly's view on being left in the North.
“[Jon] 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,” he said. "He was very aware of the sacrifice of leaving those figures behind, and they know—hopefully, Ghost knows what he means to Jon—and Jon knows what Ghost means to him.”
We can only hope it's setting up the only spin-off that matters.