“Avengers: Endgame” wasn’t the only cultural event that broke records this past weekend.
HBO reports that on Sunday night alone in streaming and the episode’s two airings, the Battle of Winterfell episode ‘The Long Night’ of its big-budget fantasy series “Game of Thrones” was seen by a record 17.8 million people.
This beats the record held by the season premiere with 17.4 million to make it the most-watched episode of the series yet. HBO adds that the first airing of the series alone accounted for 12 million of those 17.8 million viewers.
The numbers come as the episode continues to score a full range of reviews and become the subject of memes about it being so dark as to be unwatchable – not good for an episode that cost many millions and involved nearly three months of nighttime shooting.
The backlash has gotten so back the episode’s cinematographer Fabian Wagner has spoken to TMZ about it and stands by the choices he made: “[‘Thrones’] has always been very dark and a very cinematic show. 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 adds the showrunners and director desired the episode to be dark and the battle scenes to be realistic and so “intense, claustrophobic and disorienting”. He also suggests watching the series in the darkest room possible.
The other most frequent complaint has been one of strategy, or rather lack thereof with many armchair Sun Tzu’s slamming the choices made about everything from the positioning of the trebuchets in relation to the artillery, the lack of air support from the two dragons, and the Dothraki charging blindly into battle.
There’s certainly little question is was one of the most poorly planned battles of all time and now a military officer with over 15 years of wartime experience has spoken with Slashfilm about the five biggest missteps – the field needed more obstacles and a bigger and wider trench further out from the castle, the cavalry should NOT have been the first line of defense, the misuse of ranged weapons like the archers and the trebuchets, the lack of any defense within the castle walls, and the lack of any central command element.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sunday nights on HBO.