Monday, July 17, 2017

                  THE  CLIMATE  WARS : SEASON SEVEN

London Review of Books
Vol. 35 No. 7 · 11 April 2013

"So... the second structural reason for this story’s appeal ... is to do with the seasons. In Westeros, seasons last not for months but for years, and are not predictable in duration. Nobody knows when – to borrow the minatory motto of the Starks – ‘winter is coming.’

At the start of Game of Thrones, summer has been going on for years, and the younger generation has no memory of anything else; the blithe young aristocrats who’ve grown up in this environment are, in Catelyn’s mordant judgment, ‘the knights of summer’.

The first signs of autumn are at hand, however, and the maesters – they’re the caste of priest/doctor/scientists – have made an official announcement that winter is indeed on its way. A winter that is always notoriously hard, and can last not just years but a decade or more. It’s a huge all-encompassing environmental force, determining the lives of everyone, open-endedly.

The climate change aspect of this is obvious to the contemporary audience, but there’s something more subtle and subtextual at work here too: another economic metaphor, another kind of difficult climate....the contemporary appeal of this story, this world. It’s a universe in which nobody is secure, and the climate is getting steadily harder, and no one knows when the good weather will return."

When did you get hooked?

John Lanchester

  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Vols I-VII by George R.R. Martin
    Harper, 5232 pp, £55.00, July 2012, ISBN 978 0 00 747715 9
  • Game of Thrones: The Complete First and Second Seasons
    Warner Home Video, £40.00, March 2013

Vol. 35 No. 7 · 11 April 2013
pages 20-22 | 4659 words