Kit Harrington, who plays Jon Snow on the insanely popular Game Of Thrones, sat down last January for an interview with TIME. The magazine recently ran an edited version of the interview in preparation for the premiere of the show’s seventh season. In that conversation, he covered a number of topics, including politics — both show-related and real-life. And he also talked about a topic that shouldn’t be political at all, but is, in the US at least: climate change.
TIME’s interviewer observed that the “chaos and power struggles” of the show must seem “more resonant with the present political situation” than they did earlier in the show’s run. Harrington replied that the show began filming its first season following the world financial crisis in 2008-2009, during a period of real instability and uncertainty. He then agreed that there is currently a lot of chaos in the world. And then he said this:
The one irony I found this year, it was a very sad irony: We went to Iceland to find snow, because winter is here. We got there and we were lucky to get the snow we did, because in our world, winter is definitely not here. It’s this weird parallel the opposite parallel. We go out there this year, and the glacier that me and Rose [Leslie] filmed on four years ago, I saw it and it has shrunk. I saw climate change and global warming with my own eyes, and it is terrifying.
As Joe Romm notes at ThinkProgress, GoT has long been considered a parable for climate change with its “winter is coming” theme.
The climate change faced by the world of Westeros is a long period of very cold weather (and various scary things associated with it, like White Walkers). The defenders against the scary things are ‘The Night’s Watch,’ a group Jon Snow joined in Season 1. The various factions who represent different parts of the world are too busy fighting for power to pay any attention to warnings about climate change and its grim consequences.
Yes, the different antagonists in the series are too wrapped up in their power struggles to notice what is happening to their world. However, that’s not the case in our real world, where most of the leaders agree that climate change is real and needs to be dealt with, but where the current leader of the United States and his political party have made a conscious decision to do as little as possible about it.
Harrington is right — in our world, winter is definitely not coming. And things are likely to get worse before they get better, thanks to the orange idiot who currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the pack of “Jesus will come soon and solve the problem” morons who are running Congress.
If only Angela Merkel had dragons…