George RR Martin, author of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire (which inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones), confirmed a popular fan theory during a recent interview.
Speaking with the New York Times, Martin revealed some truths about the series’ ice zombies. In the series, the white walkers are unstoppable forces from the north to bring nature’s wrath to Westeros, and serve as an analogue for the dangers of climate change.
“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. The people in Westeros are fighting their individual battles over power and status and wealth, 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.”
Martin compared the battles on the show to the constant fights and issues in the real world.
“We’re fighting over issues, important issues, mind you—foreign policy, domestic policy, civil rights, social responsibility, social justice,” Martin said. “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.”
Martin continued, “It really has the potential to destroy our world. 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.”