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Entertainment & Arts

‘Game of Thrones’: So is that it for the direwolves?

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Ghost looks on as Jon Snow leaves him to head to King’s Landing in the “Game of Thrones” episode “The Last of the Starks.”
(HBO)

A faithful direwolf companion, Ghost has stuck by Jon Snow throughout his travels, his death and resurrection, and plenty of battles.

But their time together seemed to have come to an end in “The Last of the Starks,” the fourth episode of the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones.” After the pair survived the war against the Night King’s forces in the Battle of Winterfell, Jon asked Tormund Giantsbane to take Ghost with him and the wildlings on their journey back north.

Jon, on the other hand, was preparing to head south towards King’s Landing to help Daenerys Targaryen on her quest to claim the Iron Throne. So the once-King in the North gave his loyal direwolf one long last look before walking away.

That was it.

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Fans were upset that Jon essentially gave away his pet without even a goodbye pat on the head, but director David Nutter told HuffPost that he believed the scene “played out much more powerfully that way.”

“Since the direwolves are kind of CG creations, we felt it best to keep it as simple as possible,” Nutter said. “[Jon] turns to Ghost and has this moment with Ghost that I thought was very, very powerful.”

But was that really it for the direwolves?

Scene from the HBO series GAME OF THRONES: Richard Madden, Isaac Hempstead–Wright. photo: Helen Sloa
Rob (Richard Madden), left, and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead) with their direwolf pups in the first episode of “Game of Thrones.”
(Helen Sloan / HBO)

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The direwolves were introduced in the first episode of the series, when Lord Ned Stark and his children stumbled upon a family of orphaned pups. While Ned believed it would be more merciful to kill them, Jon convinced him that the Stark kids were meant to raise these pups since direwolves are the symbol of their house.

But the only ones still alive are Ghost and Arya’s direwolf Nymeria.

Arya set her direwolf free during the first season after Nymeria jumped in to defend her against Prince Joffrey Baratheon. Knowing the cruel prince wouldn’t let his attacker off easily, Arya sent Nymeria away to protect her.

The pair were briefly reunited in Season 7, when Arya decided to head home to Winterfell after learning that her siblings took back their castle. Much like Arya, Nymeria has grown into a force to be reckoned with as the leader of a pack of wild wolves.

After recognizing Nymeria, Arya calls out to her direwolf and invites her to come home with her, but she realizes neither of them are the same as when they were last together. So Arya watches on as Nymeria takes off with her pack, sad but understanding that this was the right path for both of them.

Sansa’s direwolf Lady was the first one to die in what was nothing more than an act of cruelty. Ned was ordered to kill her in Nymeria’s stead as retribution for what happened to Joffrey, a sign of what was to come for the Starks once they got to King’s Landing.

Adopted by Bran, Summer was a fierce protector from the start. He first saved Bran from an assassination attempt shortly after the young boy was thrown off a tower by the Lannister, leaving him paralyzed. Summer died protecting Bran from wights, holding them off to give the young Stark time to escape.

Robb’s direwolf Grey Wind was known to be fierce in battle, but was killed along with the rest of the Starks that were betrayed at the Red Wedding. And poor Shaggydog, after escaping Winterfell with Rickon along with Bran and Summer, was killed by cruel humans just to be used as proof of his owner’s Stark lineage.

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So, despite Nutter’s explanation and the symbolism of Jon parting with one of his visible ties to the Starks, the brief moment with Ghost is a bit of a lackluster conclusion to the Stark direwolves’ story line, if that is indeed the last we see them on the show.

GAME OF THRONES episode 35 (season 4, episode 5): Ghost, the direwolf belonging to Jon Snow (Kit Har
Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and his direwolf Ghost in a Season 4 episode of “Game of Thrones.”
(HBO)

tracy.brown@latimes.com

Twitter: @tracycbrown


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