Here's a comparison of some of the strongest weapons from the world of Game of Thrones and their surprising similarities with some weapons in the real world.
Winter is coming.
The Game of Thrones TV series needs no introduction. Having established a reputation for compelling characters and shocking political twists, Westeros, the world in which the book and TV series takes place, is governed by the same rules as ours.
As different factions battle for the Iron Throne, they also struggle to secure the means to hold it. In the series, nobility and dreams are all very good, but political know-how and strong armies are just vital to survival and power.
The rules hold just as true in the mythical world of Westeros when it comes to military might. Many, including Brig Roly Walker, the British army’s head of strategy, have written about the principles of strategy shared by the series and the modern world even if there is a massive difference between fantasy and reality.
Also *spoiler alert* for those have not watched the show yet or are not up to speed with the latest season.
Here are the kingmakers of the series, and their modern counterparts.
Dragons — Fifth generation fighter jets
Although in the real world nuclear capabilities and superior air power help determine the winner in wars, the saying in Westeros is that armies win wars.
But Daenerys' dragons proved to be a game-changer. Throughout its history no forces in Westeros have been able to fend off rivals that employed the use of dragons in their conquests or battles.
Their biggest strength is mobility, allowing them to attack enemies with near impunity, and withdraw from risky situations.
From the dragon’s back, Daenerys has unmatched surveillance capacity and can communicate over longer distances with her allies. This makes for better coordinated campaigns and a whole other level of strategy.
Hence the modern day equivalent of a dragon could be considered the fifth generation fighter jets like the Lockheed Martin F-35, Russian Sukhoi Su-57, and Chinese Chengdu J-20 aircraft that very few forces in the world have in their possession.
Night King’s Ice Spear - Guided missile systems
In season seven’s final episode, Daenerys loses one of her dragons to the Night King.
The spears that we see carried by the Night King and his deputy White Walkers must have been meant for other ground targets such as giants and other wild beasts, almost like a ground-to-ground guided missile.
But the spear appeared very effective in the first encounter against the dragons which meant their role had now been diversified to act like a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.
The Night King's spears were not the only air-defence systems faced by Daenerys' dragons.
Queen Cersei's Hand to the Queen, Qyburn also developed the scorpion, a balista, which was used by Bronn against Drogon. Even though the Drogon was shot by the spear it failed to put the dragon out of action.
Wildfire — Napalm or C4
In the series, wildfire has been used either as napalm, as in it ignites in a fire that cannot be put out, or is used as C4 to create an unstoppable explosion that decimates everything in its way.
In show's fifth season, Queen Cersei also uses wildfire to eliminate her opponents, using the medieval equivalent of today’s tactical “decapitation strike” that takes out enemy leadership.
Wildfire is strategically is used as a standoff weapon to take out targets from a distance. In A Storm of Swords, Tyrion Lannister destroys a fleet of ships attacking King’s Landing using a wildfire explosion, to devastating effect.
Wildfire has one drawback, however. The Lannisters don’t have a reliable delivery method to use it in battle. This is a common problem. It’s one thing to develop a cruise missile. It’s another to have the means to deliver it to a distant target.
Arya Stark and her many faces - drone tech
Although we are talking about weapons and not armies or forces, Arya Stark, who can also be considered as a one-person army, is nothing short of the ultimate weapon.
She blends in within people and sneaks up behind others be it to assassinate them or just for surveillance.
And although there is nothing to directly compare with Arya's skills of taking up the personas of other people, the closest thing that comes to mind with regards to her stealth and deadliness is a drone.
The unmanned aerial vehicles are known to silently infiltrate prohibited areas and carry out deadly strikes just like Arya did with House Frey towards the end of season six and beginning of season seven.
She was the one to kill the Night King as opposed to the expected heroes John/Aegon and Daenerys.
Is it safe to say a drone is no one?
Dragonglass - armour piercing rounds
Dragonglass, or obsidian, along with Valyrian steel and fire, are the only thing in the world of Game of Thrones that are known to kill White Walkers.
Where conventional weapons fail against the undead, dragonglass is known to shatter the White Walkers and the wights (reanimated dead) under their control.
The volcanic glass is known to be found in abundance on Dragonstone and was also used by the Children of the Forest to create the White Walkers.
#GameofThronesSeason8 starting tonight. Let’s all remember that it’s #obsidian that is the all important rock for saving everyone from the White Walkers! Definitely worth more research and funding #dragonglass pic.twitter.com/yxI4vLzN99— Liam Bullock (@Liam_Geochem) April 14, 2019
It was also used by the Children of the Forest to save Benjen Stark who was left to die after a White Walker ambush beyond the wall in Season 1.
Valyrian steel, which is known to have been forged with magic and has a blade whose edge never goes dull, also has the same effect, but due to its rarity no parallels can be drawn with any modern real-life weapons.
The closest real-life counterpart to Dragonglass that comes to mind would be armour piercing rounds that work where conventional ammunition fails.