University Entomologist says that Game of Thrones is a metaphor for spread of infectious diseases
Game of Thrones gained popularity at such an unbelievable pace that its almost impossible to notice how quickly it spread all across the world. People have come up with various ways to explain how splendidly the show became the most popular thing on the planet, and the newest one on the block has been introduced by Cate Hill, a medical entomologist at Purdue University. Hill is a huge Game of Thrones fan, and says that the plot is a metaphor for the danger posed to humanity by infectious diseases.
Hill bases his hypothesis on the fact that for hundreds of years of human history, the planet was infected by plagues, most of which were spread by insects. Since there were antibiotics and pesticides, the world managed to battle these diseases for the last 60 or so years. But now, insects and pathogens have had enough time to get immune to all of that, and since then a new wave of infectious diseases could be on the horizon.
“We’ve found all the obvious drugs and pesticides,” Hill said. “Now it’s increasingly difficult to find replacement products. Our toolkit is looking a bit bare.”
How this related to Game of Thrones, Hill said, “Game of Thrones’ tells the story of the never-ending struggle of life. Either you win or you die. That’s what happens with infectious diseases. Our White Walkers are not monsters but mosquitoes, fairly tiny organisms. Their weapons are not swords of ice but viruses and other pathogens. Our ability to defend ourselves against these enemies is weakening, and – in another interesting parallel with “Game of Thrones” – a key portion of the political and economic powerbase is not paying attention to the threat.
Hill continues saying, “Sub out mosquitos and climate change and this is pretty much the Game of Thrones-as-global warming theory. Those White Walkers are a flexible apocalypse metaphor. And how does one battle White Walkers? Among other things, dragonglass. The trick is finding the real-world equivalent to that stuff. Is it a new round of pesticides and vaccines? Genetically modified mosquitos? Wiping out mosquitos all together? “We need to be continually looking for the next dragon glass. The minute we stop our search or are unsuccessful, it could be the last page of our saga.”
Hill is planning to delve more into this during a conference called Dawn or Doom 2016, where her talk will be on “Infectious Diseases and the Game of Thrones: Can new technologies prevent epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases?”
This is one interesting outlook after all!