It’s been a month since the series finale of Game of Thrones, and let’s be real: We’re still not ready to say goodbye. So we cling to interviews, stories, anecdotes — anything. But the latest example has us shook — Game of Thrones had a deleted Battle of Winterfell scene, according to director Miguel Sapochnik, that would have given fans more of what we all wanted: direwolves. Lots and lots of direwolves.
Sapochnik, who directed “The Long Night” episode, revealed this little snippet while chatting with the Filmmaker Toolkit. And while he doesn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal to ax the scene, fans would undoubtedly disagree. “It was a much bigger sequence than we shot. And there were many things that happened that people would’ve been so happy to have happen, attacks of direwolves, crazy stuff,” explained Sapochnik. “At some point you’re like, 50 direwolves attacking an undead dragon does not a good movie make.”
Go home, Sapochnik, you’re drunk — because 50 direwolves at the Battle of Winterfell sounds like Seven Kingdoms perfection. Ultimately, we only saw Jon Snow’s direwolf Ghost at the battle, and even that was far too fleeting for our liking. How, in eight seasons of GoT, did the directorial team not realize that the number of direwolves shown is proportional to fans’ happiness?
Admittedly, we probably have to cut Sapochnik some slack. He wasn’t the only one behind the pile of direwolves littering the cutting room floor. “Dave [Benioff, creator] and Dan [Weiss, creator] were heading towards the finish line and they were unrelenting in what they expected of us,” Sapochnik said. “Then their mantra to us is, ‘It’s going to kill us, but it’s going to be great.’ And we were like, ‘No, no, it’s actually going to kill us if we don’t stop.’ They were completely ruthless when it came to that kind of thing of, ‘No, we want this, we want this.’ And at the same time, there were moments of realization that we physically can’t do some of these thing and other things we can.”
OK, so it does sound like Sapochnik was gunning for the scene to be chopped. Benioff and Weiss deserve some of the blame too, though, because it seems as though Sapochnik and the rest of the crew arguably had too much on their plate. Regardless, what’s done is done, and we’ll never know what the Battle of Winterfell might have looked like had an army of direwolves jumped into the fray. Fortunately, Arya and her Valyrian steel dagger came through in the end, but still… 50 direwolves would have been a nice touch in this already epic battle for survival.