'Game Of Thrones' Cinematographer Defends The Dark Lighting Choices Of "The Long Night"

Even if you don't watch Game of Thrones, you may have heard about "The Long Night," the biggest battle in the history of the HBO series...and one that many viewers said they couldn't see. Literally. Rather than stage a traditional war scene, director Miguel Sapochnik chose to cloak much of the conflict in darkness and shadow, pushing many consumer-grade televisions to the brink and leading to ongoing online arguments about whether or not this choice heightens the tension or diminishes it.

And now, we have something of a response from someone involved in making the episode. Cinematographer Fabian Wagner has chimed about the whole thing and he's sticking to his guns about the creative choices the crew made.

Speaking with TMZ, Wagner was fairly blunt about why "The Long Night" was so dark. [Game of Thrones] has always been a very dark and a very cinematic show," he said, placing the blame on bright living rooms, improperly calibrated televisions, and streaming services that were slammed and showing a lower resolution version of the episode. And while many viewers complained about not being able to follow the action, Wagner emphasized that the darkness was a creative choice dictated by Sapochnik and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – the intention was to create a chaotic and confusing battle and plunge the viewer right into it.

"We tried to give the viewers and fans a cool episode to watch," Wagner said, adding: "I know it wasn't too dark because I shot it."

First of all, I'm glad Wagner is standing by his work. While I had many problems with "The Long Night," to say the episode wasn't a massive undertaking would be a lie. He should be proud of the big swing they took with this episode, even if many fans think that swing resulted in a miss. Secondly, it's not necessarily Wagner's lighting that is the core issue with the episode, which also leans too heavily on intentionally incoherent editing and a few silly script choices. The episode has more problems beyond its shadowy look, which, to be fair, seems to have worked for as many fans as it didn't.

We're not done talking about "The Long Night." Not by a long shot. This is a strange case where a specific creative choice collided with the technology currently available to millions of people, an odd case where the biggest TV show in the world chose to drown its most expensive episode ever in darkness and deliberately obscure the action. I don't think it works. You may disagree. And I'm glad the creative forces are chiming in so we can keep the debate going.