Is “Game Of Thrones” Really About Climate Change?

Perhaps with too much time on his hands, Vox writer Zack Beauchamp makes a surprisingly persuasive case that the “white walkers” in the popular Game of Thrones HBO show are really a metaphor for climate change:

The Children of the Forest are a nature-worshiping magical race who lived on Westeros before humanity’s arrival. After the humans came, they went to war with the Children of the Forest over territory. The creation of the White Walkers, powerful monsters specifically designed to kill humans, was the Children’s response.

So that means the White Walkers are a quasi-natural backlash to humanity’s growth and expansion. Today, they have spun out of anyone’s control and threaten the very foundations of human civilization. Yet humanity is ignoring the White Walker threat in favor of internal squabbling.

The parallels are interesting to think about for fans of the show. But the one thing missing in the analysis is a parallel to the economic factors in real life that prevent concerted action to address climate change.

In reality, many industries stand to lose out as we transition to clean energy, and they and their sympathizers are helping to underwrite the case against climate science and action. I don’t see that parallel in the Game of Thrones world, where inaction is more about political squabbling rather than an economic motivation not to confront the challenge.

But I suppose if you play out the analogy, then the fire-breathing dragons in the show could be like nuclear energy: a potential solution to the white walker challenge but one that carries the risk of meltdown.


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