Centives’ coverage of The Game of Thrones is spoiler-free for those who have watched the first season
The towering wall that protects the Seven Kingdoms from mythical evils is one of the 9 Wonders Made by Man in George R.R. Martin’s World.
At its highest point the wall that is made mostly of solid ice is 800 feet or 244 meters tall. This makes it taller than the Pyramid of Giza, another man-made structure constructed in ancient times:
(Heights are to scale, widths are not)
The Knights get to the top of the wall through a pulley system powered by a person standing at the base of the wall. Centives estimates that the elevator rises at a rate of about 10cm a second and so it takes 10 seconds to rise a meter. At that rate it would take about 40 minutes to reach the top of the wall.
The wall also stretches 300 miles (482 km) across. This means that it pales in comparison to the Great Wall of China which is 8,800km long, but China’s wall also twists and turns, while the Wall seen in Game of Thrones is a straight line. With the Nightswatch numbering less than a thousand during the first season of the show, this means that if evenly spread out, each Knight would be required to police a half kilometer of the wall.
The wall is also wide enough for a dozen horsemen to ride abreast. A standard horse trailer is about 1.8 meters wide and so 12 horses would mean that the wall is 21.6 meters wide. With these dimensions then we can calculate the volume of the water trapped in the ice wall.
The total volume of the ice is 2540332800m³ and at 0 °C ice has a density of 916.7 kg/ m³. Water has a slightly higher density and if we were to melt the wall down then we’d have 2.3 trillion liters of water. According to Wolfram Alpha this is five times the volume of water in Sydney Harbour and seven times the volume of oil transported by oil tankers worldwide in a year.
Perhaps then the Stark motto “Winter is Coming” isn’t as much of a warning as it is a desperate hope. If summer were to ever come then the wall might melt and quite literally sink Winterfell.
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