The Science Behind “Game of Thrones”

Drogon, one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons in “Game of Thrones.” Courtesy of HBO.

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About This Episode

Dragons, Violence, and Magic – What mega-hit TV series has all that and more? This Friday, we’re talking about Game of Thrones with Neil deGrasse Tyson, cast member Isaac Hempstead Wright, comic co-host Michael Ian Black, author Helen Keen, and psychologist Travis Langley. Isaac tells Neil about what it’s been like to “grow up” on Game of Thrones, his character Bran Stark, his interests in physics, and the geekiest thing he’s ever done. But as with our episode about The Walking Dead, it’s time to geek out StarTalk Style. Join us as Neil investigates the source of myths and legends about dragons: how they might be based on medieval discoveries of dinosaur fossils and how dragons might be connected to the primal evolutionary fear and alarm calls of vervet monkeys. Ponder the physics of breathing fire. Travis discusses the brutality and violence in the show and the psychological effects watching violence on television can have on viewers. You’ll also hear about direwolves, the role magic played during the Middle Ages, the historical connections found in Game of Thrones (including what might be the real life inspiration for “The Wall” and the Red Wedding), Bran Stark’s abilities to see into the past and the future, real-life mind-control abilities found in nature, and the relationship between religion and scientific advancement. Plus Neil answers fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about comets, Westeros, and more!

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to Neil’s extended interview with Isaac Wright here.

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