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‘Game of Thrones’ cinematographer says episode ‘wasn’t too dark’

Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane in “Game of Thrones.”Helen Sloan/HBO/HBO

When the third episode of “Game of Thrones” aired on HBO on Sunday, fans and critics alike found themselves turning off all the lights to follow the action of the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell. Many viewers thought that “The Long Night” was too dark.

But Fabian Wagner, who was the cinematographer for the episode, told TMZ the poor lighting wasn’t his fault. It was probably HBO’s.

Wagner believed the episode appeared dark and muddy because of HBO’s compression of the episode footage, which lead to poor visual quality.

“[‘Game of Thrones’] has always been very dark and a very cinematic show,” Wagner said. “We tried to give the viewers and fans a cool episode to watch...I know it wasn’t too dark because I shot it.”


He added that the show should be watched in a dark environment — like a movie theater — for ideal viewing conditions.

For those who can’t rent out a big screen to watch the remainder of the final season, Wagner suggests making your viewing room as dark as possible, avoiding watching the show on your phone or in places with bright lighting, and adjusting your TV settings.

Wagner was also the cinematographer for other high-profile “Thrones” episodes like “Battle of the Bastards” and “Hardhome,” both of which feature intense battle scenes.

Abbi Matheson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @AbbiMatheson