“Winter is coming” may be the tagline for HBO’s Game of Thrones, but the actor who plays Jon Snow finds it “terrifying” that where they film, ice is vanishing.
The award-winning HBO fantasy — which Time magazine calls “the biggest and most popular show in the world” — has its seventh season premiere July 16. Time interviewed actor Kit Harington who plays the brooding Jon Snow, now “King in the North,” a frozen place that is getting even colder.
“We went to Iceland to find snow, because winter is here” in the show, Harington said. “We got there, and we were lucky to get the snow we did, because in our world, winter is definitely not here.”
The actor elaborated: “We go out there this year, and the glacier that [we] 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.”
Harington called it a “very sad irony” and a “weird parallel.” Interestingly, the show has long been considered a parable for climate change.
The climate change faced by the world of Westeros is a long period of very cold weather (and various scary things associated with it, like White Walkers). The defenders against the scary things are “The Night’s Watch,” a group Jon Snow joined in Season 1. The various factions who represent different parts of the world are too busy fighting for power to pay any attention to warnings about climate change and its grim consequences.
“There is a lot of chaos in the world right now, whether it’s implemented by our government, purposeful chaos or not,” said Harrington, commenting on other parallels between reality and a show whose worst characters actually embrace chaos.
“Until very recently, the big power players in Westeros were far more Machiavellian than our big power players,” notes Harrington. “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.”
Winter is coming to Westeros, but a long, hot summer is coming to this world.