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The Reason GoT Fans Are So Angry Over The Battle Of Winterfell

Contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3, "The Long Night" 

There are a lot of reasons why Game of Thrones fans can get outraged over an episode. Viewers kicked, screamed, cried, and begged for comfort after watching the season 3 episode "The Rains of Castamere," better known as the installment where most of House Stark gets slaughtered at the Red Wedding. Audiences at home felt their stomachs churn when Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) got his brains bashed in during season 4's "The Mountain and the Viper," and felt a similar flip of the tummy when Shireen Baratheon (Kerry Ingram) was burned alive on the season 5 episode "The Dance of Dragons." Though Thrones' eighth and final season has yet to gross anyone out with blood and guts or shock them just for the sake of it, it still has people bent out of shape. 

While watching the most recent chapter of the current season, "The Long Night," fans took to social media to slam the episode — not because their favorite character died or because the writers pulled the rug out from underneath them. No, fans are angry at the Battle of Winterfell episode because it's, well, too dark — not in terms of content and in actual visibility.

It wasn't long after the episode began that Twitter exploded with grievances about how dark everything was. For many, "The Long Night" was nearly unwatchable because the lighting was so dim, which is a real shame since so much high-intensity action and series-changing events happened. 

Variety writer Caroline Darya Framke tweeted mid-episode, "Sure we can't see anything on #GameofThrones without squinting, but the thing is, it's DARK at night and the ice dragon show is extremely committed to realism." 

News reporter Courtney Theriault had the perfect response to the frustrating darkness: "The good thing about the inevitable bloodbath is that it's so dark we won't even know who dies." He then quipped that he had to readjust his screen brightness from "+1,000,000% down to 60%" after the episode concluded, and took a final stab at "The Long Night" when he tweeted, "After watching #BattleOfWinterfell, I honestly don't know if I'll ever be able to look at a sunny sky again without going blind."

Alex Hooper wondered if it wasn't the episode that was too dark but his TV instead, while writer Jess Chandra said that she couldn't see a thing, which is "the worst possible way to watch" Game of Thrones.

One user posted an impassioned tweet asking television executives to think of the audience before deciding how to light each episode. They tweeted, "Dear people making TV shows, THE VIEWERS AT HOME WOULD PREFER IF THEY COULD SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING ON SCREEN STOP MAKING EVERYTHING SO DARK. Sincerely, Everyone watching tonight's #GameOfThrones."

Adding a face-palm emoji to their tweet, user @totakethetrain expressed frustration over not being able to fully see what was going on during the Battle of Winterfell. "No clue what's happening in Game of Thrones cause it's too dark. I have adjusted the settings on my TV and it still didn't help. Guess I will be reading show summaries tomorrow bright and early," they wrote. 

Another fan took direct aim at HBO, slamming the network for spending exorbitant amounts of money on episodes where viewers have little idea what's unfolding due to how dark it is. "HBO: Let's make a show about dragons and zombies and spend a gazillion dollars on it," they tweeted. "Also HBO: Let's make it so dark literally no one can tell what's happening."

On the flip side, not everyone was upset over "The Long Night" being as dark as it was. Many started firing back at those who were angry about the episode's low lighting, arguing that Game of Thrones has always been a very atmospheric show and that because the episode took place at night, no one should have expected the battle to be fully visible. 

"Game of Thrones has been visually dark since day 1. It's funny that people are upset now like it's new. I figured last night was shot the way that it was to add to the chaos for the viewer. The characters didn't know wtf was going on and neither did we," Twitter user @WhatsSleepTho said. 

Dan Murrell of Screen Junkies and Fandom pointed out the hypocrisy in some fans who praised the season 6 Battle of the Bastards episode for its realism being the same ones criticizing the Battle of Winterfell for depicting night as it always is: dark. "Battle of the Bastards: 'The battlefield realism on Game of Thrones is stunning, they really captured what a true battle would be!' Battle of Winterfell: 'Why is this battle that takes place entirely at night so dark?!'" he tweeted. 

A Twitter user by the name of Honest Goddesss wrote, "Stop barking that it was too dark! You better buy some high quality TV or should have watch it on HD you fools! It was meant to be dark cinematography because it happened during dark winter. The characters also had a hard time seeing so it was actually immersive."

Another fan tweeted, "I will die on this hill. The scenes were not too dark to see. Just because they chose to make certain parts of the episode purposefully confusing to show the utter confusion and panic of an actual battle, does not make it bad."

ScreenRant features editor Hannah Shaw-Williams had perhaps the most level-headed reaction to all of this: those who found fault with "The Long Night" for being incredibly dark are entitled to their opinion, and those who had no trouble making out everything that happened shouldn't "shout down" those who didn't have the same experience. As Shaw-Williams said, Game of Thrones may not always have the best lightning, and that's just a fact. 

"I genuinely don't understand the impulse for people to shout down anyone who says Game of Thrones is too dark. Good for you if you could see it all crystal clear on your TV, but here are some random unaltered screenshots," she wrote, adding four stills from the episode, two of which look like nothing more than black rectangles with a whisper of a character's face in the background. "Like, do I need to get out the histograms to prove how insanely under-lit this show is? I feel like this is some kind of weird mass gas-lighting campaign. Btw if you are gas-lighting, please send your gas lights to HBO bc they clearly need them." 

Overall, "The Long Night" was a pretty epic episode despite its events being difficult to see. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) returned to Winterfell and ignited the Dothraki's weapons with fire courtesy of the Lord of Light, the dead rose in the crypts of Winterfell, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) sacrificed his life to save Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright), many major characters died in the Battle of Winterfell, and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) went full Prince Who Was Promised and brought peace to Westeros by killing the Night King with her dagger made of Valyrian steel. Unless you had the brightness on your TV or laptop cranked up to its highest level, you may have had a hard time distinguishing any of that. These Thrones fans sure did. 

At the end of the day, when you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die. And when you watch Game of Thrones, you either invest in some night-vision goggles to see what's happening or strain your eyes trying.