All of us on the Internet fall prey to the desire to explore an untapped angle on one of the week’s most buzzworthy shows, and I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to Mad Men. Sometimes, however, the “angles” turn into annoying little nitpicks disguised as fascinating criticisms. Such is the case this week, when Time magazine approached an expert in the field, Jim Hamilton of the the Free Fall Research Page, to ask about the physics of the moon door fall in Game of Thrones, i.e., would someone actually break into pieces when they landed, as Lysa Arryn described to Sansa?
The answer — which is hysterically irrelevant to the a series that features dragons, White Walkers, and Wights, all of which defy the laws of nature — is that one would NOT break into pieces from that height, like Humpty Dumpty after a 20,000 foot fall.
“I’ve never actually been asked that question,” Hamilton tells Time, in response to whether Lysa would snap apart like a twig. And that’s because it’s dumb question. Hamilton, however, humors the publication:
“It would depend on the surface you hit. Maybe if you hit a rocky beach. People who fall into meadows or marshes or sand leave a human-shaped impression on the ground. They almost tend to bounce sometimes. I would think that would be more likely than breaking apart.”
And what about the Moon Door’s “elegance” as an executioner? It turns out that, as unlikely as it sounds, such a fall wouldn’t be a 100% guarantee of death. Hamilton cites the fact that during World War II, for example, there were lots of people falling out of burning airplanes — and, though many of them died, a lucky few survived, often thanks to a combination of factors that slowed their falls. Hamilton’s website chronicles the stories of several such people who survived falls from great heights.
And there you go, folks. Time magazine definitely proves that a work of fantasy fiction is, in fact, fiction. Thanks for clearing that up!