We're too distracted for Game of Thrones


Winter is coming.

A few things are on my mind right now:

  • Game of Thrones;

  • the bloodless civil war of irreconcilable differences dividing our countries;

  • climate change.

Then I realised that they’re all the same topic.


The west (Westeros) is divided between competing forces. On the one hand, there’s family and faith and the nation/state and the comfort of how things used to be and could be again. Preying on this inchoate but palpable desire are the Donald Trumps and Nigel Farages and the entire le Pen family. They’re reaping the whirlwind, and it’s going to be generous harvest.


Battling them are the weakened forces of diversity, free trade, and social equity, what used to be called small l liberalism. Those people who not merely know what LGBQT+ means, but can effortlessly roll it off their tongues. They’re backed by business and the western canon – an unusual grouping to be sure.



Game of Thrones map

In the east, across the Narrow Sea, is a powerful, highly-disciplined horde of people who speak a different language and have a markedly different way of doing things. The west, deeply divided, is low-hanging fruit for the east.


Lurking in the background, in both the book and real life, is another player. Underestimated by many, not even believed by some, is the climate. Winter is coming. Or is it killer heat? In any case, seasonal change is coming. And that change is going to be way worse than the nasty little political game what has been occupying all our attention. Even those who believe can’t really grasp the severity of what’s coming, and those who have grasped it, haven’t got a plan for how to deal with it.


This seems like life imitating art. But it's not.


The most unrealistic thing about Game of Thrones is that a sizeable part of its leadership understands what's at stake.


The heroes in Game of Thrones have got a plan to stop their changing climate. And we don’t. We're being led by donkeys. We’re too distracted by who’s going to win our bloodless civil war.


I suppose that's why Game of Thrones is a fantasy.


Led by Donkeys

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