EW- We were promised ice spiders. As big as hounds! Okay so giant arachnids weren’t exactly promised, but ever since Old Nan told her terrifying bedtime tale of The Long Night to Bran in season 1 of Game of Thrones, fans have wondered if the show’s climactic final battle against the white walkers would contain a monster spider or two. Alas, the Battle of Winterfell — an episode officially titled “The Long Night” — did not have ice spiders, though it was spectacular.
“Big as hounds,” sighed showrunner Dan Weiss when EW asked about the ice spiders. “Didn’t we talk about that for 30 seconds? ‘Ice spiders’ sounds good. It would look good on a metal album cover. But once they start moving, what does an ice spider look like? Probably doesn’t look great.” It’s actually very difficult to realistically render extra large versions of existing creatures. In some respects, it’s easier to create a creature that doesn’t exist — like dragons — because viewers don’t automatically compare what they’re seeing to a familiar real-life version.
We have been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok, and flat out deceived! I get that nobody in or around Game of Thrones promised us that giant ice spiders the size of hounds were definitely going to show up last night or in any episodes. But once that old bag of bones Old Nan started ranting and raving about ice spiders during the endless night, that pretty much made them Chekhov’s ice spiders sight unseen and you have to deliver them to the audience. You NEED to. Out of all the Game of Thrones tweets I have seen in my life, none fucked me up more than this one since Riggs and I have been fiending these arctic arachnids four years now.
Now we can debate whether the Night King left us wanting more after essentially blowing a 28-3 lead in the Battle of Winterfell. But we cannot debate on just how vanilla his army was. He rolled up to Winterfell with a gaggle of White Walkers on horses, a horde of undead zombies, best I could gather one giant, and a badass ice dragon. But that was the extent of this frightening army that has been teased for almost a decade, at least from what I could see on the screen. During all his travels from the mountains of the Lands of Always Winter, he never stumbled upon any giant ice spiders, undead polar bears, angry killer penguins or other cool ass arctic creature my dumb can’t even think of. That’s a worse job recruiting your home region than anything St. John’s has done over the last 20 years and there’s no excuse for it.
First off, I don’t want to hear how hard it would be to make them look or move in a realistic fashion. There have been plenty of spiders in cinema. You know how I know that? One quick Google search.
Just take whatever spiders those shitty movies did, paint them white, and have them shoot ice out of their ice. Boom, giant ice spiders. It’s not like HBO can say they couldn’t afford them either since they spent $90 million on these last 6 episodes alone. I don’t know how much an ice spider costs, but I imagine a few thousand zombies could have been replaced by three giant ice spiders and gotten a much bigger reaction. Same for the CGI money that went toward the 8th, 9th, and 10th time we lost Dany and Jon in the storm because watching Jon and Dany use dragons in battle was like watching Mark Jackson coach Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Just a complete waste of potential, like teasing giant ice spiders when the endless night arrives and then having them go MIA like a bunch of 8-legged cowards (credit to me for not calling them 8-legged Theons since his redemption arc ended with him becoming a shish kebab for no reason other than to give Arya a few more seconds to sneak up and unleash the God of Death on the Night King’s ass).
For more ice spiders and Thrones discussion, check out our Battle of Winterfell recap on Game of Stools (also available on iTunes)
h/t Chi Chi