Game of Thrones: Did Ghost Get Retconned Out Of The Show?

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Jon meets his best friend
Jon meets his best friend HBO

Coming into the final episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 and still no sign of Jon’s direwolf. Ghost has been gone for so long that many casual viewers I speak to have completely forgotten about him, until reminded. Of the six direwolves, Ghost is the only one that is still with his master. Lady was executed on the way to King’s Landing, Grey Wind was killed by the Frey’s at the Red Wedding, Shaggydog was killed when Ramsay Bolton captured Rickon, and Summer died fighting wights at the cave of the three-eyed Raven. Nymeria, the only other living direwolf, has decided to forge her own path apart from Arya. There is no real ‘in show’ explanation for Ghost’s disappearance, though most viewers fill in some story that he’s chilling at Winterfell.

The truth is he’s been conspicuously absent for some time now. The last time we saw him was in Season 6’s episode, “Home,” where he witnesses Jon’s resurrection. “Home” was the second episode of Season 6, meaning it has now been fourteen episodes of a Ghost-less Jon. The primary reason for his disappearance is budget. Scenes with the large direwolves are very expensive and time consuming to shoot. Though in a Season where there is a giant CG filled battle in nearly every episode, would it be that hard to throw a little Ghost in the mix?

It seems there have been a few attempts to feature Ghost since “Home,” but all of them were either rewritten or ended up on the cutting room floor. For example, director Miguel Sapochnik tells us that Ghost was originally planned to feature heavily in Battle of the Bastards, but they were scrapped.

“[Ghost] was in [the Battle of the Bastards] in spades originally, but it’s also an incredibly time consuming and expensive character to bring to life,” Sapochnik told Business Insider. “Ultimately, we had to choose between Wun-Wun and the direwolf, so the dog bit the dust.” Though Wun-Wun is certainly cool, I’d argue that Ghost is a far more significant character and should have been given preference over the Giant.

Given the deep significance of the relationship between the Stark (and now Targaryen) children and their wolves, it is a shame that the show has so completely removed Ghost from the story. His disappearance was never more striking than in last week’s episode, “Beyond The Wall.” Jon venturing to the North without Ghost is like Arya going somewhere without a bag of plastic Halloween masks. Given the amount of times Ghost has saved Jon’s life, it is near impossible to believe that he would venture on a self-proclaimed suicide mission without his companion.

The only upside of a completely off-screen Ghost is that if we don’t see him, he can’t die. And since Ghost has already lost four of his brothers and sisters, being cut out of the show might be the best thing for him. It’s also possible that he’s been there all along in every Jon scene but has simply become more like his namesake… invisible.

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