We all know that AMC's The Walking Dead is about zombies. It says it right in the name. If someone  
were to ask you what the best zombie TV show is, you'd probably immediately say The Walking Dead because there aren't any other zombie TV shows. False. At it's core, Game of Thrones is about zombies. The first scene of the pilot episode shows a dead child walking around all blue-eyed and frosty mouthed. I think it's time to compare and contrast.

1. Apocalypse Progress
     The Walking Dead: This show starts out with Rick waking up in a hospital and stumbling outside to learn that civilization has fallen apart and most people on the planet are dead. He also realizes that most of the people on the planet that are dead are walking around trying to kill the living. This causes Rick, and everyone else that survived the outbreak to have to change the way they live, and deal with the societal, emotional, and psychological effects of the apocalypse. These characters have to adapt to a harsh world where none of the normal rules apply.

     Game of Thrones: This show starts out in a similar manner; characters realizing there are forces that can bring the dead back to life, and not in the Jesus way. Problem is, nobody believes the guy that saw the zombie and they behead him. There are however, hints that something really bad is going to happen in the not-so-distant future. Winter is Coming is a phrase commonly heard in the show, and in the books it's made more apparent that winters last a long time in Westeros, years and years. While the characters in The Walking Dead have had the world they knew ripped away from them, the people in GoT have the chance to prevent this apocalypse.

2. Zombies 
    The Walking Dead: These zombies are more or less the typical model. Slow, dumb, intent on eating flesh, yadayada, etc. There isn't an explanation as to why they're around, but it's shown that everyone who dies becomes one. When alone, they don't present too much of a threat, however in groups they can be devastating. They can be tricky to kill as they have to be de-brained, however they are very predictable, to the point where they can be used for certain purposes. A large problem with these zombies is the fact that everyone turns when they die. Death is unavoidable, and so it seems are zombies.

   GoT: These zombies are a horse of a different weight class. They are closer to the traditional voodou model, as they are resurrected by the magic of their masters. These zombies are much more dangerous, as they can be controlled to do whatever the White Walkers want. They can wield weapons and sneak up on people and their motives aren't so base. They are also more difficult to kill. Instead of whacking them on the noggin, they must die by fire. While in modern times there are lighters, gasoline, and even flamethrowers, in a medieval world like GoT creating fire is more of a process, and wouldn't always be practical if you were ambushed.

3. Humans
    The Walking Dead: In this world, humans were for the most part good, with a few bad eggs. After the apocalypse happened though, they were forced to become more selfish and to give up some of their humanity in order to survive. People like the Governor have risen to power because the apocalypse has hardened them. Even the good guys like Rick and Michonne have no problems abandoning a helpless hitchhiker to his death, simply because they did not know him.

  GoT: Humans in this world have had a much rougher go than those in the Walking Dead. Save the lords and ladies, most people are poor and live the hard lives of those before technology really caught on. Murder and rape are a pretty common factor, and as such there are lots of bad guys and the good guys usually end up getting punished for their actions. For example, Ned Stark gets beheaded for telling the truth, and Jaime Lannister gets his hand chopped off for trying to help Brienne(he may not be the typical good guy, but he's not that bad). If life's this hard now, imagine how shitty it will be when the zombies come.

    These two shows are very different in style, themes, and pretty much everything else except that they both have zombies, and even the zombies are pretty different. However, they are both about zombies at the core. Hopefully George R.R. Martin and Robert Kirkman(less likely) don't die before they finish their series', and if they do, hopefully they will come back as zombies and finish them.


2 Responses so far.

  1. This is a fantastic post. I actually just started watching Game of Thrones just before the semester started and didn't make the zombie connection until my last blog post where I discussed the differences between traditional zombies and GoT zombies in terms of winter survival. I really like that you took the GoT themes that much further and spelled out the differences between traditional zombies and the somewhat new-era GoT zombie. I never really thought of them as being controlled by the white walkers but it definitely makes sense in terms of the traditional voodoo zombies.

  2. Miles says:

    This is a great post. One thing I realized while reading this is that Game of Thrones is probably the only medieval zombie story. Most zombie stories are based in the near or far off future, some in the past like World War Z. It will be really interesting to see how the story unfolds as it begins to turn to winter. I wonder if they will have to deal with similar scenarios that we have discussed or have the same fears.

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