We all know that Game of Thrones is great television, but we have to admit, once in a while the lighting – or absence of it – causes a few issues.
But there is actually a purpose behind the dim scenes, and it’s something that has been alluded to many times through the span of Game of Thrones; Winter.
Robert McLachlan, who works as one of the directors of photography on the show, revealed to Insider that the show is so dim so as to make it look as authentic as possible.
As the early season of the show was set amid the Long Summer, scenes were lighter and brighter, making it much easier to see what was going on.
Over the normal lighting, the cinematographers were also using extra lighting on the set. However, McLachlan, who originally worked with the show in season three, and some of the other crew members decided to go for a more natural approach in the later seasons.
The cinematographer said:
If you watch season one again, there’s a lot of unmotivated backlights. Even day exteriors, you can tell that they’ve been lit.
The cinematographers who’ve been doing it since then, I think we’re all very much on the same page where we’re trying to be as naturalistic as possible.
[We wanted] to make these sets and locations feel as if they’re absolutely not lit by us, but only by Mother Nature or some candles, so that it feels more naturalistic, albeit enhanced in some cases.
McLachlan proceeded to clarify how scenes just got darker with the arrival of Winter, which finally came at the end of season six. However, the natural light sources were limited, making lighting troublesome for the team individuals.
He further added:
In season seven, of course, winter is here. In the past, we had the shutters open out of necessity for the day interior [scenes] in Winterfell or Castle Black or Eastwatch, so that some daylight could make its way in.
That was your primary lighting source. There was this rule there that nobody in this world would burn candles in the daytime because they’re a luxury item, they’re far too expensive.
What’s happened is now, with winter really here, there was a consensus that it would seem daft for them to have the shutters open when it’s so bitterly cold out.
Why would they do that? But on the other hand, it really makes it a lot harder for a cinematographer to justify some naturalistic light in there without so overdoing the candles or the fire or what have you.