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Game of Thrones Cinematographer Defends Episode 3's Dark Battle Scenes, Blames Fans' TV Settings

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 Too Dark

Were you squinting to see what was happening during Game of Thrones‘ Battle of Winterfell? The episode’s cinematographer says you might just need to adjust your TV set.

Many fans complained that certain scenes in Sunday’s climactic episode of Thrones were too dark to make out, but director of photography Fabian Wagner, who shot “The Long Night,” lays the blame instead on fans’ TV settings. “A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly,” Wagner told Wired UK. “A lot of people also unfortunately watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.”

Even the room a viewer watches in can have an impact on the visuals, Wagner adds: “Game of Thrones is a cinematic show, and therefore you have to watch it like you’re at a cinema: in a darkened room… if you watch a night scene in a brightly lit room, then that won’t help you see the image properly.”

Besides, the episode’s murky visual palette was a conscious choice, Wagner notes, to match the combatants’ sense of confusion: “The showrunners decided that this had to be a dark episode… Another look would have been wrong. Everything we wanted people to see is there.” And he doesn’t even mind if you doesn’t catch every last visual nuance, he says: “Personally, I don’t have to always see what’s going on, because it’s more about the emotional impact.”

In the end, though, the veteran cinematographer — who has shot six previous Thrones episodes, including epic installments like “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards” — considers his years of experience behind the lens to be the final word. When asked by TMZ about fans’ complaints about the episode being too dark, he sniffed: “I know it wasn’t too dark because I shot it.”

Were you struggling to see what was happening during Sunday’s Game of Thrones? Drop your thoughts on Wagner’s response in a comment below.