The Buzz

Is Game of Thrones Secretly About Global Warming?

(Moderate spoilers involved.)

Is winter actually never coming again?

new Vox video portrays a theory that the hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones is actually all about catastrophic manmade global warming. However, a more accurate connection is that both are simply science fiction.

In Game of Thrones, White Walkers—terrifying humanoid/zombie ice men so fearsome that they change the weather to snow and ice by their mere presence—pose an existential threat to the Seven Kingdoms.

The Vox commentary suggests that “like climate change, the White Walkers are a threat the whole human race.”

Different noble houses in the Seven Kingdoms are too busy arguing amongst themselves and even denying the existence of the threat to come to common action. As a result, the ones who suffer most are the poor and defenseless.

Similarly, Vox says, developed and developing nations have struggled to set aside political competition, sacrifice a little up front, or even recognize the existential threat of global warming. Meanwhile, the poorest of the world stand to suffer the most.

If you watch the show, you may be saying to yourself, “I can see it.” But like many fan theories, the idea fails when the facts bear out.

The Vox video claims that “climate change is this massive global threat” where manmade carbon dioxide emissions have led to skyrocketing temperatures since the Industrial Revolution and will lead to rising flood levels, more droughts, increased ocean acidification.

In fact, according to the United Nations’ latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate science, did not find any such evidence when looking at the data.

- Temperatures. The reality is that regardless of what fraction of the observed warming is due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide, the actual temperature trends do not warrant White Walker levels of concern.

- Floods. The IPCC found evidence for increases, decreases, and no trend at all in flood activity or severity.

- Droughts. The IPCC noted that its previous conclusions about increasing trends were overstated and that “the compelling arguments both for and against a significant increase in the land area experiencing drought has hampered global assessment.”