Monday, 15 April 2019

"Winter is coming" > "Climate change is something that can wipe out the human race. So, I wanted to do an analogue with the work, not specifically to the modern-day thing but as a general thing."

We are now into the final season of Game of Thrones - and one of its biggest fans would see it as an analogy of Brexit battles: 

These Game of Thrones Brexit references are getting ridiculous

Michael Gove compared Brexit to Game of Thrones – and Twitter was having none of it

By Kimberley Bond
Tuesday, 15th January 2019

Gove chose to quote Game of Thrones to further punctuate his point.

“If we don’t vote for the deal tonight, in the words of Jon Snow, ‘winter is coming’,” he said. “I think if we don’t vote for the deal tonight we will do damage to our democracy by saying to people we are not going to implement a Brexit, and the opportunity that all of us have to live up to our democratic obligations is clear.”

Game of Thrones fans will recognise Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) utterance, foreshadowing the army of frozen undead attacking Westeros.


These Brexit Game of Thrones references are getting ridiculous | Michael Gove quotes 'Winter is Coming' on BBC Radio 4 Today programme - Radio Times

It's a little less trivial than that: 

Game of Thrones and climate change

Tales of fiction on both the big screen and in book form often contain hidden messages that can often go unnoticed. Just as Star Wars is an allegory of the struggle to achieve sustainable development, Game of Thrones is another production to raise the spectre of climate change.

As stated by the original author and the show’s screenwriter, George R. R. Martin, in 2013: “climate change is something that can wipe out the human race. So, I wanted to do an analogue with the work, not specifically to the modern-day thing but as a general thing”.

Game of Thrones: climate change is coming | Sustainability for all

This has been picked up by the wider media, in the US:
Game of Thrones Climate Change Theme - George R.R. Martin Explains the Real Political Message of Game of Thrones - Esquire
Game of Thrones Is Still the Big, Sometimes Clunky Climate Change Allegory We Need - Vanity Fair 

Game of Thrones is secretly all about climate change - YouTube 

UK media from across the spectrum has also taken up the theme:
Game of Thrones: George RR Martin reveals what White Wakers represent | Books | Entertainment | Express.co.uk
Why the climate of Game of Thrones is about more than the arrival of winter | Science | The Guardian

With this piece from The Conversation:

Game of Thrones was about the horror of fossil fuels all along

April 12, 2019

Alf Hornborg
Professor of Human Ecology, Lund University
Lund University provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

I have eagerly awaited the final season of Game of Thrones, and its strange blend of fictive medieval Britain, supernatural monsters and pornography. Over the seasons the plot has gained speed and focus while the pornography has vanished and – incredible as it seems – we can also detect that George R.R. Martin’s fantastic story has a message. Perhaps we can explain its enormous success by considering how, at a subconscious, dreamlike level, it deals with humanity’s most profound problem.

I want to believe that my interpretation is more than a pathetic attempt to legitimise all those hours of passive TV-watching. Just as the great anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss was able to expose central problems of specific Amerindian peoples by analysing their myths, we can analyse our own tales in order to discern the contradictions and apparently unsolvable dilemmas that torment our subconscious.

What Lévi-Strauss called “mythemes” are abstractions of central elements of stories – the basic themes which express their essential messages. Using his method for dissecting myths, we can unearth submerged meanings in fantasy and science fiction. And these dreamy worlds tell us more about ourselves than we generally realise.

Film director James Cameron’s blockbusters Aliens (1986) and Avatar (2009), for instance, reflected a fundamental transformation in the predominant worldview of movie audiences. In the quarter of a century that separated the two movies, the signs had been reversed regarding nature, diversity and technology. In the final scene of Aliens, Sigourney Weaver – inside a machine which gives her superhuman strength – battles with a monstrous organism from another planet. With the help of technology she defeats an evil Nature. The monster from outer space symbolises an untamed and threatening biological diversity. Only with the help of the machine can humankind survive.

Two decades later the roles were reversed. The final scene in “Avatar” instead shows an evil male capitalist, dressed in similar technological armour, being defeated by a benevolent Nature. The entire ecosystem of the planet Pandora is mobilised in the battle against the human exploiters. Now it is the machines, rather than the monsters, who come from another planet. In this story, technology loses the battle against nature. Only by stopping the machine can nature survive.

Fossil energy is at war with life itself

A similar analysis reveals the real threat against the warring medieval kingdoms in Martin’s imaginary continent of Westeros. The White Walkers’ army of dead beings threatening to destroy the world of humans, accompanied by ongoing climate change (“winter is coming”), is an allegorical representation of fossil fuels. Today, the energy that propels our technological civilisation derives from countless billions of dead organisms whose extinguished sparks have been buried in the Earth’s crust. The metaphor is not at all far-fetched: in both cases, fossil energy is at war with life itself. 



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