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Friday, 1 December 2017

What Game of Thrones says about humanity


In Game of Thrones, Martin gave an extensive back-story onto the creation of his world. He didn't quite go into how it all began (no Big Bang or evolution) but frankly he did so much on the history of the world that the sciency-stuff would have been a giant bonus! The guy is incredible.

I like to think of the Known World that houses Westeros, Essos and Sothoryos as a parallel world to our Earth - just like Middle Earth or Narnia. The earliest inhabitants were the children of the forest and giants. The children prayed to the Old Gods of the Forest, and lived among plants and animals. They carved faces into weirwood trees and were skilled at hunting.

Then along came the First Men who started chopping down their trees and worshipping their own Gods. This resulted in a war until the two made a Pact of peace. Unfortunately most of the children became extinct after the war and the battle between the Men and white walkers. Then came the Andals, Valyrians etc - new humans that took over and created buildings and their own technology.

Now isn't this interesting? Let's look at this vs our world. Early humankind lived as hunter-gatherers and worshiped nature, adhering to animism rather than monotheism. There are still cultures today where humans live in tribes among nature and don't use technology, such as the Masai. Fast forward to the industrial revolution and the creation of technology. Now our species has destroyed a great deal of the planet, leading to Global Warming, cracks in the Ozone Layer, and our planet is running out of natural resources.

When the Europeans travelled to Africa and the Americas, they dismissed the people living there as 'savages' and tried to enforce their beliefs onto them. We're all aware of the genocide of the Native Americans. Once humans co-existed in harmony with Mother Nature; now we've become the dominant species, conquering all other animals and domesticating a lot of them.

As it happens, humans still can't defeat nature. We may be able to band together to kill a bear, but we're hopeless against an earthquake, a tsunami, or volcanic explosion. We've lost some of our touch with nature as technology has taken over. Modern humans can't function without our phones, laptops, TVs, consoles, tablets; we're screwed without electrical appliances. It's no wonder AI is on the rise, with machines having taken over cashiers in supermarkets.

But back to the link between our world and GOT. I think Martin has very interestingly made a link between what real life humans have done to our natural world and what the First Men and white walkers did to the children of the forest. The Amazon Rainforest is being destroyed. Trees are cut down, made into paper, and people create flyers saying 'SAVE THE TREES!'
No copyright infringement intended. 

Links:

http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Children_of_the_Forest

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animism

https://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/amazon_destruction.html

2 comments:

  1. The amazon and central american rain forrests are not virgin creatures, scientists have shown they have been cut down before goingback thousands of years.

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    1. Oh I see, I think the scale they're being chopped now though is much worse than before?

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