A years-old theory from an aeronautics expert has resurfaced online again, giving Game of Thrones fans an argument in favor of the series' take on dragons. While it's often been suggested that a being so big would be incapable of flight, Guy Gratton says that it's likely Westeros simply has a different atmosphere than Earth, providing a different set of physics that would allow the massive creatures to take to the air. Far from using the Marvel method of "it's magic -- we don't have to explain it," Gratton uses math to prove that, under the right circumstances, dragons could fly.
Using a dragon's size relative to Daenerys Targaryen as a guide, Gratton estimated that a Game of Thrones dragon is likely to weigh about 5,700 pounds, with a wingspan that would not be big enough to support that weight in flight here on Earth. But it's likely that Westeros has a much denser atmosphere, providing more lift with less power, he theorizes. And that isn't just a conclusion he came to in order to justify the flight of dragons. Apparently, other superhuman feats performed on the series jive with the notion.
"There's empirical evidence that supports this," Gratton wrote. "Watching a few episodes of Game of Thrones you'll notice that pretty much anybody can pick up a spear or sword and throw it distances that an Olympic javelin thrower would be deeply envious of. Given that gravity seems to be roughly similar to ours, this suggests the thrown weapons are generating much more lift than on Earth – consistent with an atmosphere of higher density."
At least we know he isn't going all Neil DeGrasse-Tyson on us and ruining everybody's fun. Quite the opposite, in fact; he uses math to make the case that poor character choices and plot holes could be explained by the chemical makeup of this denser atmosphere.
"This argon-oxygen (or argox) mix will actually be moderately narcotic when breathed at high pressures. Perhaps this might in part explain the regularly irrational and downright aggressive behaviour seen among many citizens of Westeros."
We're all for that!
House of the Dragon airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.