HBO’s House of the Dragon might serve up some new context for the Game of Thrones universe, but the spinoff/prequel series is still getting fans riled up over one nagging issue: Terrible lighting. But after House of the Dragon Episode 7 prompted fan complaints over the weekend, HBO Max clarified that the ultra-dimmed lighting is an “intentional creative decision.”

“I’m gonna need @hbomax to issue a written apology for literally a whole episode of black screen of #HouseOfTheDragon,” one viewer wrote yesterday (October 2nd). “This is ridiculous.” Many other fans echoed those complaints, saying the episode was “unwatchable” and that they could barely understand what was happening.

The HBO Max Help Twitter account offered an explanation: “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!”


The HotD episode in question was directed by Emmy winner Miguel Sapochnik, who also (infamously) directed a Game of Thrones Season 8 episode that also left fans feeling a little, well, in the dark.

“It made sense that this was the last hope humanity has, the last beacon of light, and from the perspective of where we needed the story to go — which was to reach a surreal, chaotic climax — we needed an environment that was friendly to that,” Sapochnik told IndieWire after that GoT episode aired. “So all the reasons for doing it were there, and nobody sat there and wondered if it was gonna be too dark.”

But, as we’ve learned, atmosphere and “environment” don’t necessarily translate into a scene that’s watchable on the average HBO Max subscriber’s TV or laptop, and labeling a decision as “creative” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good one. See the tweets in question below, and then tune in Sundays for new House of the Dragon episodes (in a pitch black room, of course).