Daenerys' Dragons From 'Game Of Thrones' Get A Scientific Thumbs-Up From Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Well, as if Game of Thrones couldn't get any better, it looks like Daenerys' dragons have Neil deGrasse Tyson's approval following a Twitter thread uncovering the science that makes the magical beasts such formidable weapons. Tyson's first tweet about the topic indicated he had waited until we were all good and ready to discuss GoT (let's be real, though, we won't be OK for a while), and discuss it he did. It's not clear what specifically prompted the astrophysicist's dive into the science behind Daenerys' fire-breathing dragons, Rhaegal and Drogon, as well as her ice-breathing dragon baby, Viserion, but you know what? Fans are not complaining one iota. Any chance to revisit the world of GoT is welcomed, so let's take a dive into Tyson's analysis, shall we?
Believe me, Tyson had serious thoughts about GoT and the dragons. But before he could unpack the science of dragons, he made note of his biggest issue with the season: the logistics behind the White Walkers being able to swim. As Tyson aptly points out in his second tweet — "I thought the frozen dead dudes couldn't swim, but aside from that..." — about the White Walkers, Westeros' version of zombies, they shouldn't be able to swim really. He doesn't really explain further about why the White Walkers shouldn't be able to swim, but one might guess that it has something to do with the dead having poor motor functions because, well, they're dead.
The director of the Hayden Planetarium went on to school all of us on the physics of a dragon's wingspan in the show, as well as the good biological evolution shown in the dragons of GoT. But first: hauling a dead dragon out of a lake, brought to you by the White Walkers. Apparently, Tyson took issue with the physics of hauling Viserion out of the lake, arguing that curving uphill with the chain wouldn't work.
However, Tyson was quick to get to the main event, which uncovered the reason that Daenerys' dragons are not only logically realized, but they are scientifically sound beings. Approving in quick succession their wingspan, (which is large enough to support their bodies), their biology (evidenced in the evolution of their wings as forelimbs), and capping it off with an intriguing but quick lesson in thermal physics wherein Tyson confirms Viserion the Ice Dragon is way more powerful than Drogon and Rhaegal (you've been warned, guys), Tyson basically scienced the hell out of GoT.
You shouldn't be too surprised, though; Tyson is very vocal about the science behind many great pop-culture entities. Among his most notable criticism would be the films most adjacent to his career in astrophysics: Interstellar and The Martian. As one of the most popular and foremost voices in the intersection between science and pop culture, Tyson's rulings that The Martian got the science right when it came to discussing how to survive in space, while Interstellar brought some complex scientific ideas into a digestible medium will no doubt be memorable contributions to those conversations.
Here, Tyson's unplanned but certainly welcome GoT criticism goes to show that this fantasy show isn't exactly fantasy, if only because it's scientifically sound as well. That said, knowing that Daenerys' dragons have the official science seal of approval somehow makes them even cooler. It's odd, I know, since it was made pretty damn clear during Season 7 that Daenerys' dragons are already interesting without the scientific evidence to back them up. But if science can confirm that fact, well, that can only make GoT better than fans could have ever hoped.