For nearly a decade, would-be kings and queens in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” have stabbed, slashed and poisoned their way toward a seat on the Iron Throne. And the fierceness of the human combatants mirrors the ferocity of the animals displayed on these leaders’ banners.
Each of the show’s dominant houses is represented by an animal: a dire wolf for House Stark, a lion for House Lannister, a stag for House Baratheon, and a dragon for House Targaryen. All of these creatures were likely chosen as house sigils because they are fierce and deadly fighters.
But which one is really the fiercest and deadliest of them all? Who would be the last one standing in the ultimate face-off between a lion, a dire wolf, a stag and a dragon?
Let’s be real: Overcoming the dragon — which far outclasses the field in size, strength, weapons and defense — is the biggest obstacle for all of the other animals, said biologist Katie Hinde, an associate professor at Arizona State University. Hinde is the creator of March Mammal Madness (MMM), an annual event that pits brackets of mammals (mostly) in fictional battles to determine the ultimate champion.
One way the other animals could win is if the dragon lost the will to fight. For instance, in “Game of Thrones,” the dragons are strongly bonded to their “mother,” Daenerys Targaryen; one of them might abandon a battle if his mother were absent, Hinde told Live Science.