When your books involve a fireproof teenage princess, an undying royal love child, and a centuries-old witch who can glamour herself as an attractive young woman, an army of unkillable ice zombies is hardly the weirdest thing you've ever come up with.
But George RR Martin—creator of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, which became the basis for HBO's Game of Thrones—didn't get so caught up in his world-building that he forgot to include some symbolism. Particularly when it came to the aforementioned ice zombies, the White Walkers.
In an interview with The New York Times to promote his new book Fire and Blood, Martin confirmed what many fans had already believed about these creatures.
"It’s kind of ironic," Martin said. "Because I started writing Game of Thrones all the way back in 1991, long before anybody was talking about climate change." Indeed, the seemingly unstoppable elemental forces that descend from the north to bring nature's wrath on the people of Westeros are analogues for equally dangerous climate change.
"The people in Westeros are fighting their individual battles over power and status and wealth," Martin said. "And those are so distracting them that they’re ignoring the threat of ‘winter is coming,’ which has the potential to destroy all of them and to destroy their world. And there is a great parallel there too, I think, what I see this planet doing here, where we’re fighting our own battles."
"We’re fighting over issues, important issues, mind you—foreign policy, domestic policy, civil rights, social responsibility, social justice," Martin continued. "All of these things are important. But while we’re tearing ourselves apart over this and expending so much energy, there exists this threat of climate change, which, to my mind, is conclusively proved by most of the data and 99.9 percent of the scientific community.
"And it really has the potential to destroy our world," Martin continued. "And we’re ignoring that while we worry about the next election and issues that people are concerned about, like jobs. Jobs are a very important issue, of course. All of these things are important issues. But none of them are important if, like, we’re dead and our cities are under the ocean," he concluded.