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Game of Thrones and Global Warming. Are We All Fighting Against White Walkers?



Game of Thrones, both the TV show and the novels, are immense in their storyline, character development, scope and depth. There is a lot in Game of Thrones that resonates beyond Westeros and reverberates even in our world. Because of its immensity and scope, the story can easily be related to numerous metaphors in the real world. For instance, the great wall can be referred to the talks to build a wall to curb illegal immigration. However, there is one connection between this world of dragons and ours that is hard to dismiss. It has been proposed by Vox’s Zach Beauchamp, and makes up quite a lot of sense.

Zach claims that White Walkers and their army of dead zombies represent the looming threat of global warming in our real world. At first, this may sound like some Hollywood fodder to keep the show in the audience’s minds until the next season airs. But, that is not the case for many reasons. For one, Game of Thrones has developed such a cult following that it will be hard to keep people off the television when the show’s latest season actually hits the air. These metaphors are much bigger than just some marketing gimmicks. So, what makes such an outlandish claim worthy of debate? Let’s have a look.

The Threat

Game of Thrones is notorious for throwing relevant social problems in our time right in the middle of the plot

Game of Thrones is notorious for throwing relevant social problems in our time right in the middle of the plot

Westeros is a land, where the seasons last 10 years each. The show begins with the prosperity of the summer coming to an end. The winter is starting and the winters of Westeros are not typical winters of the earth as we know it. The food stops growing, and resources become scarce. But, what makes matters worse is that with winter, come unholy creatures from colder regions. There are White Walkers and they command an army of zombies. They try and lay waste to any human inhibited land they can find. The only thing protecting the humankind from them is the huge wall that is built at the edge of the kingdoms, which are guarded by the Night’s Watch.
Now, the above description vague feels familiar. It is as if we have heard this story before. Let’s see. The winters are coming. Literally. Global warming is looming on us, and with it there is a possibility of us being shoved into another ice age. Draughts and climactic changes are already upon us, and have been wreaking havoc across the world. The only thing standing against this threat is the collective minds of our scientists, who are trying to find ways of counteracting the effects of global warming.

Politics

The speed at which the characters die within the timeline could also signify the short life spans due to pollution

The speed at which the characters die within the timeline could also signify the short life spans due to pollution

The world of Westeros is ruled by a King, who presides over seven kingdoms. The kingdoms are largely different from each other, and their alliance is not strong. [Spoiler Alert] The king dies at the end of the season 1, throwing his entire rule into chaos. Various kings from each of the seven kingdoms try to lay their claim to the throne by implementing every devious technique ever invented. While the threat of winter and White Walkers looms, these kings are completely preoccupied in their own petty squabbles. In fact, their fights with each other are distracting the larger public from the issue at hand.
Isn’t this something that we all hate in our world too? Our leaders are fighting with each other like little girls on who is going to have an upper hand, while the entire humanity is on the brink of what could possibly be a large scale extinction. While it is known that carbon emissions are the cause of global warming, the two leading contributors of greenhouse gases, the USA and China, are involved in a tussle of sorts. Each of them has grown wary of the other’s intentions and abilities to grow bigger and more powerful. Further, any step to control the emissions directly affects their chances of growing more powerful, which has created a stalemate situation.

Denial

There are people in Westeros, who are old enough to remember the previous time when the kingdoms were attacked by the White Walkers. These people know for a fact that these creatures exist and they can end all humanity, if proper measures are not taken against them. But, there are people like Joffrey and others, who are not even ready to believe the threat posed by the White Walkers. Even when they are provided the first-hand accounts of people who have witnessed the horror as proof, they are defiant in the face of it.
This should be quite obvious to the readers. Our scientists have unearthed data spanning across millions of years. They have concluded without a trace of doubt that the atmosphere carbon concentration has played a major role in wrapping our planet in a thick blanket of ice. Yet, there are politicians leading us, who arrogantly dismiss all the proof provided by our Night’s Watch guards, our scientists, and believe whatever suits their vested interests or beliefs.

The change is within all of us, just like inside the White Walkers

The change is within all of us, just like inside the White Walkers

Apathy

The distinct apathy among the royalty in the Westeros as well as the leaders in our world is sickening. In Westeros, as Winter approaches and suitable measures are not being taken, some members of the royalty go to the extent of saying that if there is any resource crunch, say for food, it will be the peasants who will die first. Their logic is that this way they will end up with fewer peasants to take care of. Moreover, even the Night’s Watch guards are not provided suitable resources to keep the kingdoms safe, while they are the last line of defense against complete annihilation.

In our earth, the situation is not too different. The powerful hurricanes resulting from climatic changes, and draughts caused by unreliable rains, are already creating a shortage of food across the world. Nearly 800 million people across the world face severe shortage of food, which is getting worse with time. It is these impoverished people who will face the first hit of axe that is global warming. Not only these people’s woes are ignored by the world, even the people who can do something about the whole issue are ignored as well. The scientists, who are trying hard to come up with new solutions to these problems, have their funding cut repeatedly. Investment into scientific research is on the decline. There goes our last line of defense.

While George R. R. Martin does not draw a direct connection between the two, he too has agreed that the analogy is consistent. He wanted to keep the main problem of Westeros as concurrent and understandable to the audience as possible, and in this pursuit, the similarities do exist. So, it is true, we are fighting out own version of White Walkers. If you don’t already watch Game of Thrones, you can on HBO after you select a premium cable package from XFINITY.

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