The Arctic ice is melting faster than expected, temperatures in Phoenix have hit 129 degrees and the world’s most popular TV series might be down one catchphrase. The effects of global warming have made their way to Game of Thrones.
Star Kit Harington plays the warrior hero who greets winter’s arrival with an exceptional case of seasonal-affective disorder — the cold season raises the spectre of apocalypse. But in a new interview with Time magazine, Harington revealed that location shooting for the new season left him with an opposite sense of dread, as he saw up close that climate change was making Iceland a misnomer:
“The one irony I found this year, it was a very sad irony: We went to Iceland to find snow, because winter is [there],” he said. “We got there and we were lucky to get the snow we did because, in our world, winter is definitely not here. It’s this weird parallel, the opposite parallel. We go out there this year, and the glacier that me and [former co-star Rose Leslie] filmed on four years ago, I saw it and it has shrunk. I saw climate change and global warming with my own eyes, and it is terrifying.”
The cast was shooting on Svínafellsjökull glacier, part of the massive Vatnajökull glacier often featured as a location on the show. (Nerd note: On the show, Icelandic locations stand in for North of the Wall, the Wildling Camps, King’s Landing and gathering places for the fearsome white walkers.) The Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, is shrinking by three feet a year and will probably disappear within a century, along with Iceland’s other ice masses, European scientists warn. The culprit is global warming, which is causing ice sheets to melt and sea levels to rise worldwide.
But Harington says that despite his dismay while shooting, Game of Thrones’ gory, bleak, death-strewn world can still provide a pleasing escape from Trump’s America. “There is a lot of chaos in the world right now, whether it’s implemented by our government, purposeful chaos or not,” he said. “It’s interesting being in a TV show that is not reflecting the world, but at the same time is.
“Now, Westeros maybe feels like a nice escapism compared to what you’re seeing on the news, because the world’s politics has gotten very, very dark in recent weeks and months.”
The first part of Game of Thrones’ new season begins airing in July; the second half will come in 2018.