When it comes to the final season of Game of Thrones, no expense was spared. The dragons are even more massive and the battles more bloody. The cast of thousands is supplemented by hundreds of horses, and the sets are built out in three dimensions to give a realistic feel. But HBO is not made of money, and the cuts had to come somewhere. Cersei, for instance, failed to acquire elephants. And Jon's direwolf, Ghost, is still MIA. Will Ghost be in Game Of Thrones Season 8? Fans really hope so.
The lack of direwolves has been a stick in the craw for book fans from the beginning. Sansa loses Lady early on, sure. However, all the other Starks not only have wolves but most of them warg with them. Not that everyone knows that's what they are doing. Robb mentions he had a strange dream, as does Rickon, but neither put two and two together.
As for those who have POV chapters, readers never experience Jon's wolf dreams first hand, but they do with Arya, allowing fans to know how Nymeria is doing while her former companion is blind in Braavos. Only Bran truly understands (and controls) his gift.
But the show has cut nearly all of that, and killed off most of the wolves to boot. The rationale, sadly, makes sense. After all, fans don't actually know what a dragon looks like, so they are easier to design. Wolves, on the other hand, are harder since people know what those creatures look like. It's been easier to keep them off the screen.
But the idea that the Starks get these direwolves in the very first episode, and then they never play a part in the final battle for Winterfell rings false. It's a little like Chekhov's Gun: If the weapon is presented at the beginning of the play, by the end, it needs to have been shot. If the wolves are introduced at the beginning of the story (and one is given a massive pack which follows her) by the end, those wolves should be ripping out throats.
The good news is, Ghost will be back in Season 8, even if Jon didn't greet her upon his return home. According to the VFX head Joe Bauer, the CGI'd up wolf gets "a lot of screen time" in the final season. Speaking to HuffPost, he said:
Ghost does show up, and he does some ... he’s very present and does some pretty cool things in Season 8.
That's good news for fans who have keenly felt how much the dragons have been favored over the direwolves these last few seasons. But it does lead me to wonder if Nymeria and her pack will also turn up this year. Ghost, in the end, is in Winterfell, and therefore will most likely get battle-oriented footage once the Army of the Dead shows up. But Nymeria has an entire pack, which would be very handy under the circumstances. Fans hope both living direwolves will make it into the final season.