The author spelled out, in an interview with The New York Times published Tuesday, how the looming threat of "Winter is Coming" throughout the series is really an inverted version of global warming.
"It's kind of ironic because I started writing 'Game of Thrones' all the way back in 1991, long before anybody was talking about climate change," Martin told the publication, "But there is -- in a very broad sense -- there's a certain parallel there."
"And the people in Westeros are fighting their individual battles over power and status and wealth. And those are so distracting them that they're ignoring the threat of 'winter is coming,' which has the potential to destroy all of them and to destroy their world," the fantasy author continued.
"And there is a great parallel there to, I think, what I see this planet doing here, where we're fighting our own battles," he went on to add. "We're fighting over issues, important issues, mind you -- foreign policy, domestic policy, civil rights, social responsibility, social justice. All of these things are important. But while we're tearing ourselves apart over this and expending so much energy, there exists this threat of climate change, which, to my mind, is conclusively proved by most of the data and 99.9 percent of the scientific community. And it really has the potential to destroy our world."
"And we're ignoring that while we worry about the next election and issues that people are concerned about, like jobs. Jobs are a very important issue, of course. All of these things are important issues," he added. "But none of them are important if, like, we're dead and our cities are under the ocean. So really, climate change should be the number one priority for any politician who is capable of looking past the next election."
"But unfortunately, there are only a handful of those," Martin said. "We spend 10 times as much energy and thought and debate in the media discussing whether or not N.F.L. players should stand for the national anthem than this threat that's going to destroy our world."
Martin was asked if he believes there's anything modern day political leaders can learn from Westeros. The creator explained that he believes there are "a lot of things" that rulers "past or present" can learn from what's going on in the world of the Seven Kingdoms.
"Certainly at one point, the very simple statement is made that the king is about justice, or what is a king for? We don't have kings. We have presidents and congressmen and all that," Martin said. "But it's still what it's about. It's about serving the people and leaving the country in better shape when you leave office than it was when you took office. That should be the overriding principle of anyone who decides to run for office or do any sort of public service. Are you making things better? You're there to serve the people, not to serve yourself, not to serve your contributors."
Martin also confirmed that President Donald Trump is very similar to his character King Joffrey Baratheon.
"They have the same level of emotional maturity," he said. "And Joffrey likes to remind everyone that he's king. And he thinks that gives him the ability to do anything. And we're not an absolute monarchy, like Westeros is. We're a constitutional republic. And yet, Trump doesn't seem to know what that means. He thinks the presidency gives him the power to do anything. And so, yeah, Joffrey is Trump."