HBO Max Responds to Fan Backlash Over Episode 7’s “Unwatchable” Lighting
“House of the Dragon” season one, episode seven, titled “Driftmark,” saw the fractured Targaryen royal family come together at Driftmark to mourn the death of Laena Valyrian. A dragon was stolen, someone lost an eye, and a new marriage emerged. The episode was satisfying in almost every way, all the way down to its mind-blowing twist ending. There was just one thing that left a bad taste in fans’ mouths: the terrible lighting.
As the sun set over the coast of Driftmark, the lighting in the episode became so dark, it was hard to determine what was happening on screen in scenes that took place outdoors. One scene fans were particularly upset about having to squint through was that of Daemon and Rhaenyra consummating their relationship after over a decade of (*cough* incestual *cough*) longing.
Fans on Twitter said as much, criticising the show’s creators for dampening an otherwise excellent episode and sharing examples of other shows that have perfected their night-time lighting.
The backlash was so loud and swift, HBO Max issued a response almost immediately. When user @Zephyr757 tweeted directly at HBO Max, writing, “I’m gonna need @hbomax to issue a written apology for literally a whole episode of black screen of #HouseOfTheDragon. This is ridiculous,” they actually got the streamer’s attention. Shortly after episode seven ended on Oct. 2, the HBO Max Help Twitter account responded, insisting the dark lighting was an artistic choice. “Hi Stephen! We appreciate you reaching out about a night scene in House of the Dragon: Episode 7 appearing dark on your screen. The dimmed lighting of this scene was an intentional creative decision. Thanks!”
Fans aren’t entirely satisfied with HBO Max’s explanation, though. As far as they’re concerned, this episode will go down in Westeros history alongside “Game of Thrones”‘s infamously dark season eight episode “The Long Night.”