The Debate Over Dark Cinematography: Why Fans Are Fed Up with Game of Thrones' Lighting Choices

Chloe Whisperwillow

Updated Saturday, June 29, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

The world of cinema and television has been embroiled in a heated debate over the use of dark cinematography, and nowhere is this more evident than in the comparison between the lighting choices of "Lord of the Rings" and "Game of Thrones." A recent viral image featuring commentary from Twitter and Tumblr has reignited this controversy, capturing the frustrations of viewers and sparking lively discussions online.

The image begins with a tweet from Caitie Delaney, shared by "funnytweetstweets," pleading with filmmakers: "A note to filmmakers, please do not make your movies so dark that I have to see the terrible expressionless reflection of my big dumb head in the screen for half of it." This tweet has garnered significant engagement, with 67 retweets, 3 quote tweets, and 1,462 likes, highlighting a widespread frustration among audiences.

The next section of the image offers a stark comparison between the lighting of "Lord of the Rings" and "Game of Thrones." In the "Lord of the Rings" scene, Legolas is depicted holding a bow during a nighttime rainstorm, yet the scene remains well-lit, allowing viewers to appreciate the details. In contrast, the "Game of Thrones" scene is almost entirely dark, making it challenging to discern any details.

Tumblr users chimed in with their thoughts, including "birdyyyyyy-deactivated20210721," who dismissively remarked, "But where's that light coming from? B**** IT'S FANTASY WHO CARES." This comment underscores the divide between those who prioritize artistic realism and those who value visual clarity.

User "mornington-the-crescent" added a humorous touch with images of a character set against burning fires, accompanied by the text: "but news flash the genre's called fantasy it's meant to be unrealistic you myopic manatee." This comment humorously defends the fantastical nature of such genres while acknowledging the need for visual coherence.

The image further includes insightful commentary from "the-tin-dog," who elaborates on the concept of "willful suspension of disbelief." They explain, "Ok but also from a like, theatrical storytelling perspective, there's a thing called 'willful suspension of disbelief' which is basically the concept that in order to let ourselves be immersed and enjoy a story, we need to turn off our knowledge that it's all fake anyway. Like yes, we all 'know' it's unrealistically bright for a nighttime war, but it needs to be so we can SEE the story being told, and the lighting designer used blue light to show it was night time. We KNOW that Sir Ian isn't actually a wizard but we SUSPEND that DISBELIEF because we want to be entertained."

This ongoing debate highlights the tension between artistic choices and audience satisfaction. While some viewers appreciate the mood and atmosphere created by darker scenes, others are frustrated by the difficulty in seeing details and following the storyline. The balance between maintaining artistic integrity and ensuring viewer enjoyment remains a challenge for filmmakers.

The viral image and its accompanying commentary encapsulate the growing discontent among audiences regarding overly dark cinematography. As viewers continue to voice their opinions, it remains to be seen whether filmmakers will adjust their lighting choices to strike a better balance between artistic vision and audience accessibility.

Noticed an error or an aspect of this article that requires correction? Please provide the article link and reach out to us. We appreciate your feedback and will address the issue promptly.

View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


Also I would like the ability to watch your show during the daytime sometimes without installing blackout curtains in every window of my house


"Same place as the music" is the perfect response to this.


I just wish they'd stop letting their actors mumble so d***** much or sort the sound levels out so I don't have to keep re-winding and finding the right subtitles to use.


Myopic Manatee would be a good name for a DND spell


I'm complaining about life not having an epic soundtrack!


There's an important note about the suspension of disbelief and that, while a world is allowed to be different and fantastical, unlike our own real world, it DOES have to have some internal consistency. It's why I hate the comment "it's a fantasy movie, anything can happen" whenever someone points out mistakes in shows and movies.


While we are fixing things can we stop having quiet parts super quiet and loud parts super loud. I’m tired of changing volume every 5 minutes.


That LOTR scene has a dark BACKGROUND, but a bright FOREGROUND. The Game of Thrones one has a couple bright spots.


I distinctly remember back when GoT aired with that superdark Battle of Winterfell episode and people went nuts because they could barely see anything. The production team ( producers, cinematographers etc) actually hit back claiming wrongly adjusted TVs and other petty reasons. They really reacted childish because people were dissatisfied with the product. I understand it was very hard work for them and they made a bad artistic choice - accept it that the audience has spoken and learn.


Wait did this f***er just say Ian McClellan isn’t a wizard?

Check out our latest stories