Now we have all this downtime between seasons and I’ve decided that maybe we should actually be thankful for it. HBO have gifted us this chunk of time to finally peel our eyeballs away from the TVs and laptop screens to direct our gaze outward, into the real world, to see what’s going on. I don’t know about you, but currently when I do flick on the news to see what’s happening around the world, it’s hard to look past the ugly and harsh reality of climate change which is making itself incredibly visible. It’s just about impossible to avoid, although we’re doing a pretty good job of looking the other way.
Sadly, the cultural phenomenal known as Game of Thrones has ended for another season, leaving us with an extended wait until 2019 before we can finally see who makes it, if anyone, and who will cark it. Now we have all this downtime between seasons and I’ve decided that maybe we should actually be thankful for it. HBO have gifted us this chunk of time to finally peel our eyeballs away from the TVs and laptop screens to direct our gaze outward, into the real world, to see what’s going on.
I don’t know about you, but currently when I do flick on the news to see what’s happening around the world, it’s hard to look past the ugly and harsh reality of climate change which is making itself incredibly visible. It’s just about impossible to avoid, although we’re doing a pretty good job of looking the other way. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recently ripped their way through the south of the US, with some reports stating that the damage is likely to be between $150 - $200 billion. Too many lives have been lost.
With this in mind, when I’ve been flipping between the final episodes of Game of Thrones and the news, it’s become obvious to me that the show is written to reflect reality. The comparisons between what’s happening with our weather patterns and Westeros come on thick and fast, and I don’t think I’m the only one noticing them. Think about it. The ultimate villains of Game of Thrones are the White Walkers. An unstoppable army of inhuman beings that literally change the weather as they march.
Power hungry leaders refuse to address or even acknowledge the threat is real, all while the poorest people suffer. In Westeros it’s the wildlings who live beyond the wall. While IRL pensioners suffering heatwaves, workers who spend their time outdoors, people experiencing homelessness and those in developing nations are predicted to be the hardest hit according to a report from the climate panel. Typically these are the people who are doing the least to actually contribute to climate change. As an objective observer of the show it’s so easy to see the whole thing play out. Jon Snow is there being all “here’s the pressing issue we need to deal with” to Daenerys and Cersei. Yet, Daenerys and Cersei are so distracted by each other they don’t pay any attention. And then all the other people are so caught up in the drama of it all they forget to listen to Jon Snow even though they think he’s probably right. Plus too hard basket. And Tyrion is there being all “listen to Jon Snow! He knows what’s up.” But then he gets distracted a little bit too, because he’s also semi into the dramz of it all. And then I look at my non-Game of Thrones life and I see lots of climate change experts being all “here’s what’s up with the planet”. And lots of the world are being like “listen to these people, they know what’s up!”. But then we’re all getting distracted by Korean Missiles or the latest thing Trump tweeted and we’re pushing our rapidly heating planet to the corners of our minds. Plus too hard basket.
It’s the issue that we’re all aware of, but often don’t think is the most pressing one. What I’m trying to say is climate change is our white walkers. And it’s an issue we desperately need to address. Above all, Game of Thrones is a story of collective action. The flow of the show is dictated by who gets along with who, with not much getting done without some kind of alliance against a common enemy. Cersei can’t get far without the unwavering protection of Gregor Clegane and the Greyjoys; Littlefinger attempts to jump on the Stark bandwagon; and Daenerys goes to lengths to maintain her alliance with the people of Dorne. But it’s Jon Snow that seeks to unite them all, at least temporarily, to collectively take action in the bigger picture.
It’s only Jon Snow, after coming face to face with the White Walkers, who understands it’s not the battle for the Iron Throne that matters, it’s the battle between the living and the dead. If it’s not obvious by now, I think we’re in a pretty similar situation. I’m just not sure who our Jon Snow is. After recent events like the US pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, it seems like it’s going to take some pretty dramatic convincing to change the mind of those who deny climate change exists and to rally countries and communities from across the globe to take meaningful, large scale action on the one issue that truly needs all of our attention right now.