There were more than a few controversies that emerged during the final season of Game of Thrones, but one of most complained about happened in episode 3, "The Long Night." After years of waiting to see what would happen when the people of Westeros were forced to face off against the Night King and his army, viewers could barely make out what they were seeing on-screen due to the very dark cinematography.
The episode caused frustration not just for fans, but for those behind the camera as well, with star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) saying that co-showrunner D.B. Weiss was “pissed” about the poor lighting.
“I actually spoke to Dan Weiss about this, because it really pissed him off as well,” Coster-Waldau said, according to CinemaBlend. "'Cause you’ve gotta believe me, they did everything they could to make this the most exciting action sequence ever made, put on film, TV, anything. So to wake up and see ... Twitter or whatever talking about, ‘I can’t see it!' Seriously, it was a surprise to everyone.”
Previously, Game of Thrones cinematographer Fabian Wagner determined that the episode was so dark likely because the data compression involved in the streaming process caused the brightness and color to be altered, meaning that what viewers watched on their screens didn’t look the same as what Weiss, David Benioff, and the rest of the team saw when they finished production.
Whether fans were able to make out what was happening on the screen or not, "The Long Night" is responsible for nearly one-third of Game of Thrones's 2019 Emmy nominations. Nine of the series' 31 nominations were for this particular episode, including nods for Outstanding Directing, Sound Editing, Prosthetic Makeup, Makeup, Hairstyling, and Music Composition (but not Outstanding Cinematography).