Direwolves of Game of Thrones: Real or Mythological?


A Dance With Direwolves

Game of Thrones is an epic series – intelligently thought out and imagined by author George R.R Martin.  In a show that encompasses a lot of magic, dragons, and other fantasy, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the direwolves.  They are in fact real prehistoric creatures that once roamed the Earth alongside mastodons and sabre tooth tigers!

Although they are now extinct, we have fossil records that show that the average direwolf (Canis Dirus) was bigger than the average gray wolf of today.  However, they are not quite as big as Martin portrays them in the Game of Thrones universe!  The direwolves of Game of Thrones were said to be the size of a small horse. It was also said that they were able to rip off a grown man’s arm with their teeth.  The real direwolves were on average roughly 60kg, as opposed to the average gray wolf, which weighs in at around 40kg.   They also had a much stronger bite than the modern day gray wolf, perfect for cracking bones to gain access to bone marrow.

Direwolf Fossils

The fossils of the canis dirus are quite widespread across the Americas.  They show that it was quite possibly a common animal with a large population.  The fossils are spread from North America to South America.  The Rancho La Brea tar pits in California have unearthed a huge collection of prehistoric specimens for study.  When an herbivore bacame trapped in the tar pits, it would attract predators who would ultimately also become trapped.  These animals are the fossils we study today.  They find roughly ten predators for each herbivore in the tar pits.

The first time we see the direwolves in Game of Thrones they are just puppies, and the show used Inuit dogs as direwolf puppies.  Later into the show, we see real wolves portray the direwolves.  In fact, our very own wolf actor Quigley, portrays Ghost, the fearsome and loyal direwolf who Jon Snow chooses as his companion.  Our trained wolf Quigley has a great on screen presence.  His ability to take direction and act really help bring realism to the screen. With his talents we are able to help bring a prehistoric animal back to life, to dance with dragons and the other mystical creatures of Game of Thrones.  We hope you’re as excited as us to find out what happens next season!

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