The final season of Game of Thrones is still a fair few months away, but it’s already hitting fans right where it hurts. Although nothing can prepare us for that last ever episode (which is apparently “very surprising” and left the cast in real, actual tears on set), the latest mini-spoiler for series eight is good practice for testing your emotions. It’s been confirmed that a much-loved, particularly fluffy character is finally set to make a long-awaited appearance: Jon Snow’s direwolf Ghost will return.
Everyone knows that Jon is only peak Jon when Ghost is around, so expect big things for the King in the North when his four-legged best friend returns to his side. Ghost hasn’t been seen since the early episodes of season six, when he accompanied Jon as he left Castle Black for Winterfell after casually coming back from the dead. Oh, you know, just another day in Westeros.
It’s Game of Thrones visual effects supervisor, Joe Bauer, who’s confirmed the exciting news, telling Huffington Post: "Oh, you’ll see him again.” Teasing that Ghost’s return will be more-longstanding than the quick cameo of Arya’s direwolf Nymeria, he revealed: “He has a fair amount of screen time in Season 8.”
It's partly the visual effects team who are to blame for the recent lack of Ghost in Game of Thrones, because it’s basically just really damn hard to digitally create a direwolf. “The direwolves are tough because you don’t want to get them wrong,” Bauer explained. “So we end up always shooting real wolves and doing a scaling trick with them, but the real wolves only behave in certain ways."
In fact, Ghost was originally pencilled in to come back much earlier, with an original role alongside Jon in the iconic "Battle of the Bastards". Director Miguel Sapochnik explained at the time to Business Insider: "[Ghost] was in there in spades originally, but it’s also an incredibly time consuming and expensive character to bring to life. Ultimately we had to choose between Wun-Wun [the giant] and the direwolf, so the dog bit the dust.” Brutal.
Finally, some good news. Look forward to spending the entire episode trying to convince your partner that actually, a direwolf would be the perfect pet for you.