Arya sends her direwolf, Nymeria away for her own good back in season one. In season seven, the picture looks a little different.

Arguably, no one is doing a better job of forecasting what will happen in the remainder of season seven of Game of Thrones than Vanity Fair, and they seem fairly certain that we’re going to be seeing a lot more direwolves. This might be because some wolfish production problems have been overcome, and it might be because the series can’t come to any proper Martin-style conclusions without the wolves the author drew in so carefully in the books. And fans have been far from silent on the topic. Readers of the books by George R.R. Martin (and even some invested show watchers) have been increasingly frustrated by the way in which direwolves have been sidelined on Game of Thrones. From Vanity Fair:


When both Summer and Shaggydog unceremoniously dropped dead last season, one fan even launched a quixotic petition to protect the two remaining animals: Ghost and Nymeria. “We all love the direwolves,” it read. “We understand that the CGI budget is limited, but we would trade a thousand scenes of Danaerys’ overly-dramatic Mary Sue flaming nipples for one scene of direwolf badassery.”

Showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff seem at least somewhat aware of this direwolf-based discontent. In an older interview with Deadline, the pair joked: “Some of our initial anxieties about whether anybody will watch this show have dissipated. But others have sprung up to take their place. They are shaped like direwolves, and they hunt us in the night.”

The connections between the Stark children and their wolves are enormously important in the novels—just as important as Daenerys’s with her “children,” the ever-present dragons. Whenever Martin writes about one of the direwolves dying or running away, it represents one of the Stark children losing a bit of their own honorable Northern heritage. “These wolves are more than wolves, Robb,” Catelyn reminds her son in the books. “You must know that. I think perhaps the gods sent them to us. Your father’s gods, the old gods of the north. Five wolf pups, Robb, five for five Stark children.” (Robb helpfully reminds her there was a sixth for Jon.)


The full piece is here.


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