The science behind the fantasy


The science behind the fantasy

It is no secret that authors usually incorporate some hard facts around which they weave the fiction. George R.R. Martin, the author of bestselling epic fantasy novel The Song of Ice and Fire, has done that in his books. In other words, for Martin, “Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end.”


Rebecca Certner, a doctoral candidate in the Northeastern University, pinpointed the science behind the evident fantasy of the plot. There are four obvious points that she would like to crosscheck with reality, and when one sees it that way, the resemblance is uncanny.


1. Greyscale:

Greyscale, while looking at the similarities, does look like leprosy. Firstly, contagious nature is the first indicator. Secondly, turning the flesh into cracks and stone-like scales. Now that is exactly how leprosy works. People with greyscale, or the ‘stone men’, exiled to live away from society in ruins. The biggest similarity is the social stigma attached to the victims.


2. The strangler:

It was a good day for the world to celebrate when Joffrey died. The strangler was the rare and deadly poison that killed him, and it sounds a lot like strychnine. Strychnous nux-vomica is the source of an eerily similar toxin, originating in southeast Asia. It is a wonder that Martin knows about such a deadly poison.


3. Dire wolves:

Dire wolves were a reality a long time ago. The only thing that can differentiate between real dire wolves and fantasy dire wolves is their size. GoT’s dire wolves can go up to the size of horses, while real wolves did grow slightly larger than extant gray wolves. The real bummer is how the real dire wolves are extinct now.


4. Wonky seasons:

The weather in the series is unpredictable. They don’t seem to follow the conventional patterns of the weathers, indicating that it is, indeed, a fantasy world. While fans throw around theories under the name of folklore, it doesn’t make any sense to understand. However, one can trace the origins to the Milankovich cycles; the features are eerily similar. In short, Martin might have based the weather of Essos and Westeros on this cycle.

Certner believes that science continues to be an undercurrent of Game of Thrones. Assessing everything, only the dragons might be false, which is really sad.


Pranjali Wakde

pranjali wakde

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