A true fanboy requirement of the fantasy and superhero genre is that while you can bend the rules of science on certain things, there are other areas that must remain consistent with the norm. So while we will believe a man can fly, everybody else has to follow the normal rules of the human condition. Flash can run the speed of light, but if he starts running faster than the speed of light, we start to grumble. So, what about Game of Thrones? Are they measuring up on applying science to fantasy?
According to the BBC, the only source I trust for analyzing the real world implications of best-selling fantasy series converted to HBO hit TV shows, there are times where the series gets it right and times where the science just doesn’t pan out.
Here is the only entry on the BBC’s list that doesn’t have a major spoiler (unless you don’t know there are dragons in a fantasy novel)…
Kingdoms and lands across Westeros have been conquered with the help of the fearsome, fire-breathing beasts, but are we ever likely to see real-world equivalents?
We already have, Ms Keen argues, in the form of the Quetzalcoatlus.
One of the largest known flying animals in history with a wingspan thought to be about 11m (36ft), they took to the skies about 68 million years ago.
Archaeologists discovered the first fossils in Texas in 1971.
“I don’t think they would look particularly similar,” Ms Keen admits. “The dragons from the show never stop growing, no matter how old they are.”
As for the fire-breathing, there is a creature that could be seen to fit the bill – although on a much less epic scale than the TV series’ monstrous foes.
Its name? The bombardier beetle, which emits a hot, noxious fluid (a mix of hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide) from its rear end when defending itself from attack or confronting prey.
“It’s quite a curious little creature,” says Ms Keen. “It has all these things in its body which it can mix together and then squirt out as an explosive type of substance at its enemy.”
Warning, the rest of the article I am linking to has MAJOR spoilers through Season 4 of the series, so click at your own peril. Duly warned?