The Science behind Game of Thrones


Fictional universes are the best. They do as they please and follow only the rules they want. They are so great, so well thought through and so interesting that it is hard not to fantasize about being a part of it all. In a way, we end up being sucked in, but are they part of our world too?

The world of Game of Thrones is brilliantly complex. And it is so well done that even scientists and historians couldn’t resist the temptation and started looking more in depth. Here’s a little bit of what they found:

Winter is coming but is taking its time

It’s finally here, but summer surely took its time to leave and let winter arrive. According to what we saw, seasons can last years, and people have a hard time finding out when they are changing. But with basic arithmetic tools, humans could predict weather changes, and there’s no doubt that the Maesters from Game of Thrones, could find out when seasons would come and go.

There are three possible explanations. First one: rotatable axial tilt. In our world, the earth has seasons because of the axial tilt, that is the is the angle between an object’s rotational axis and its orbital axis. Earth’s axial tilt is 23.4 degrees but if it moved, season changes would be tough to predict.

Second one: a vast orbit, which means the planet would take longer to orbit the sun. The third one, discovered by a group of student from John Hopkins University: there’s a chance that there are systems with two suns orbiting along with the other planet. If this was the case, this would be terribly hard to predict.

That Wall though

Is it possible? A 215 meters high and 300 kilometers long wall. Are there structures like that? Made by humans, not many. The Great Wall of China perhaps. Nature-made, maybe. It is possible to find ice surfaces similar to this size, in Greenland or the Antarctica.

However, According to Martin Truffer from Alaska Fairbanks University, the engineering problem posed by the Wall is that ice has a natural tendency to deform. There is no way to structure this so it would remain firm for a long time. Unless 8 and a half kilometers thickness at its base, 40 times the height of the wall.

White walkers

While it seems hard to believe the wall might exist, white walkers make their way through into this list. These frozen zombies are tall, gaunt and extremely pale humanoids that hide from the light of the sun, to live a nocturnal life.

Although there aren’t exactly the same, there are mutations that allow living beings to live in areas of extreme cold, that allows them to develop ‘antifreeze proteins’ similar to those developed by fish who live in Arctic waters. And we are trying to incorporate some transgenic plants to withstand frost better.

Well, mutation or, perhaps, some kind of symbiosis with some micro-organism could explain the conversion of people to white walkers and the resurrection of the dead.

The pets


Been there done that. Giant wolves, in principle, could exist without a major problem. Actually, a few thousand years ago, a giant wolf (the Canis dirus) lived, although not much bigger than the ordinary wolf, it was quite strong and robust.


On Earth there were flying-planter species of an enormous size, it is true: the pterosaurs. The largest was the Quetzalcoatlus four times longer than today’s condor. Even so, it’s still pretty far from the size of an adult dragon in the show (about 70 meters). And even if the air was much denser, it still is almost impossible for a reptile that big to fly.

Also, great dinosaurs were slow and quiet creatures because they needed a lot of energy to move and because they were cold blooded. But the inner fire of the dragons could be a key evolutionary weapon to make them regulate their temperature and turn the great pterosaurs into more agile beings.

However, in reality, the closest thing we have to a dragon, is the bombardier beetle that to defend itself uses chemical compounds that produce small explosions.


The fastest message service in Westeros. This would be possible. Without going too far, the magazine Science published a study basically said: Ravens are ridiculously intelligent. In this case, they demonstrated that they are able to anticipate the nature, time and location of future events based on their experience.

Even in wars, the United States military uses a network of “spy crows” to locate missing soldiers in action, so transporting a piece of paper seems more like a piece of cake for these birds.

The rest of the animals of Westeros (except, perhaps, the Kraken or the giant spiders) are very similar to those of our planet. But tell us, did you know any of this? What do you think? Is there something you want to know if it is sort of real?

Photo credit: Wiyre Media
Source: It’s ok to be smart

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Daniela Salcedo Bolivar
Daniela Salcedo Bolivar
Social media marketer. Cinema fan. Animal lover. Whatever happens, happens... as long as I have pen and paper with me.
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