Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

Game of Thrones Nitpick of the Midseason...

Yes, it’s the show with dragons and ice zombies and wargs and elves (but we’re not calling them elves but they are elves just admit it) and I am going to nitpick about the accuracy of a single moment in episode one of this season...just...go with it ok?

Spoilers for episodes one to four of this season.

Probably not t-shirt weather.

Early in the episode we catch up with Theon and Sansa, on the run and being pursued by Bolton men (and dogs) after leaping from the outer walls of Winterfell and landing in a floofly cushioning pile of snow (which....sod it, I’ll let that one pass if only because of the number of Youtube videos featuring insane Russian teenagers leaping from roofs).

They’re doing a reasonable job of keeping ahead before they hit a problem: A fast moving, wide and partially frozen river. Sansa protests that they’ll drown trying to cross it, but Theon convinces her to try...

Pictured: Healthy scepticism.

...and they both plough on into the frigid water.

What are the odds that Theon would never have attempted this if he still had testicles?

Where they drown.

Sorry, I mean from which they emerge unscathed (and apparently err, dry) only to be captured, but then saved by Brienne, thus setting in motion a pretty significant part of season 6's plot.


But seriously, they drowned.

Why does this wrankle me and not...everything else about this show? Because I have a Twitter account, and on that Twitter account I follow another called “Medieval Death Bot” and that account has, well, it has a bit of a theme:


It goes on like this, with drowning apparently one of the leading causes of death in the period (after clerk murders), even when people are in water intentionally...


Why quite so many drownings (a whopping 40% of all accidental deaths)? Well partly it’s proximity; washing clothes, foraging for bankside plants, and fetching water for numerous tasks put more people at or in water as part of their daily routines, which is going to push the number of accidental deaths up, but the main causes of these deaths?

Cold and wool.

This is fine.

Cold makes you gasp, even well above freezing temperature, meaning it’s vital you keep your head above water so you don’t choke and drown. Not easily done when you’re also dressed in clothes which are capable of more than doubling their weight before reaching saturation point.

For a great example of just how difficult this task is, watch the BBC’s Dr. Lipscomb attempt to free herself from a shallow pond (so, still water) on a temperate day wearing similar garb.


(27.28 if the timecoded link hasn’t worked for you, this documentery is also the main source of information for this nitpick.)


The water Theon and Sansa enter can’t be more than a couple of degrees above freezing, it has a current, and Sansa is dressed in not just a thick woolen dress, but a cloak too...

A corpse.

So there you have it, whilst it is perfectly fine that Daenerys cannot burn, that Melissandre is 600 years old, that Bran can control the minds of animals, and that that one guy who is a giant...is a giant. I’m sorry, but in episode one of season six, Sansa and Theon drowned in that frozen river.

I guess on the plus side, this means Jon Snow is free to go with his original plan to head south, find somewhere nice to live and get a tan, you know, after he recovered from being dead, which I am also fine with.

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