Neil deGrasse Tyson Takes On the Science of Game of Thrones' Dragons

Noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has taken on the science of dragons from Game of Thrones season 7. The penultimate season of Game of Thrones is behind us, and the wait for the final batch of episodes could be longer than usual. Filming is set to begin before the year's end, but there's been no official word on when the last 6 episodes of the show will air. So while fans await any news regarding the end of the series, HBO and viewers have been taking a look back at this year in Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones is now on break, but HBO has continued to release behind-the-scenes videos for season 7 (see for example, this video exploring Arya's biggest moments in season 7). Much of the show's action and battle sequences are done practically - though of course, certain elements on Game of Thrones have to be brought to life via digital effects, with the dragons being among the biggest CGI effects featured on the series yet. It's the realism of the dragons in particular that Tyson has taken aim at.

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Tyson took to his Twitter account to offer some critiques and praise for the physics of the dragons in Game of Thrones season 7. Tyson has built a career for himself as a scientist willing to delve into pop culture, and his well-natured feedback comes as no surprise:

Bad Physics in #GameOfThrones: Pulling a dragon out of a lake? Chains need to be straight, and not curve over hill and dale.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) September 24, 2017

Good Bio-Physics in #GameOfThrones: The Dragon Wingspans are sensibly large, as their body weight would require for flight.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) September 24, 2017

Good Biology in #GameOfThrones: As in #LordOfTheRings, Dragons forfeited their forelimbs to make wings, like birds & bats.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) September 24, 2017

Intriguing Thermal Physics in #GameOfThrones: BlueDragon breath would be at least a factor of 3X hotter than RedDragon breath

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) September 24, 2017

Given the noted impossibility of dragons as creatures, it's not surprising that they don't function within the confines of normal physics. Luckily, Tyson ignores that well-worn argument and instead focuses on the physics surrounding some of the dragons this season. He takes special issue with the use of chains to dragon Viserion out of the frozen lake. He does, however, back up the idea that the zombified Viserion's blue flame would easily melt the Wall.

Tyson also gives credit to the wing design of Drogon (and the other dragons) in the series, praising their wingspan and lack of front legs. All told, the tweets are in good fun and show why Tyson has been such a beacon in the pop science community.

Likely, season 8 of Game of Thrones will give Tyson plenty more to parse over. With so many sides heading towards conflict, it's hard to imagine what the end game will be for the show. In fact, HBO is even taking precautionary steps to prevent viewers from learning what happens early. In the meantime, the  proposed spinoffs of the show continue to move along, as the keeper of the show's bible has begun developing yet another prequel/spinoff series to follow Game of Thrones. Hopefully, we'll know more about the spinoffs and the show's final season soon.

NEXT: Game of Thrones to Film Multiple Endings

Game of Thrones season 8 premieres in either 2018 or 2019 on HBO.

Source: Neil deGrasse Tyson

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