All That's Trucking

7 Clues That Game of Thrones is Really About Hazmat Shipping

June 16, 2016

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Today, I'm turning this space over to LabelMaster's clever comparison between the TV show "Game of Thrones" and the battle to correctly and compliantly ship dangerous goods and hazardous materials. (Spoiler alert to those of you who are not caught up on watching GoT.)

Chicago-based Labelmaster counsels companies large and small on the ever-changing regulations governing dangerous goods and hazardous materials. It sees a great comparison to what happens on Game of Thrones.

“Every Sunday night, millions of people worldwide gather to watch a show about kings, queens, dragons and Class 3 hazmat,” says Robert Finn, vice president of marketing for Labelmaster, with tongue firmly in check. “Game of Thrones just may be the greatest show about Dangerous Goods ever created.”

Here are seven uncanny similarities that prove Game of Thrones is like Dangerous Goods shipping, according to Labelmaster:

1. They’re both based on ridiculously long books …

Hazmat/Dangerous Goods transport is based on the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Code of Federal Regulations, Volume 49. It’s well over 1,000 pages long.

Not to be outdone, Game of Thrones is based on George R.R. Martin’s multi-volume opus A Song of Ice and Fire, of which each book averages 1,000 pages.

2. … which never seem to be finished.

DOT regulators update the 49CFR regularly, so you can never say you truly know what it will contain in the future.

Likewise, Martin has been so slow to produce the sixth book in his series that the TV show went ahead without it. Anyone who claims to know where the whole series is going is clairvoyant, a Web conspiracy junkie or (maybe, though we doubt it) George R.R. Martin.

3. Flammable liquids play a prominent role.

From alcohol to gasoline to house paint, Hazard Class 3 Flammable Liquids are some of the most common substances in Dangerous Goods.

And flammable liquids in Game of Thrones? Suffice it to say that, if a certain wildfire-bearing ship in the Battle of the Blackwater had been labeled correctly, Stannis Baratheon would sit on the Iron Throne today.

4. Poisons, too.

Class 6 Poisons are another popular Dangerous Goods shipment, from arsenic to zinc cyanide.

Poisons are popular in Game of Thrones, too, claiming the lives of Jon Arryn, King Joffrey, Princess Myrcella and — almost — Ser Gregor Clegane. Assassins have also tried to poison Daenerys Targaryen twice, so it’s a good thing her guards are adept at recognizing regulated substances.

5. Many of the rules seem arbitrary …

Dangerous goods professionals may wonder why the borders on a shipping label must only be a certain width, or why one can ship lithium batteries on passenger jets if they’re installed in devices, but not by themselves.

As a Game of Thrones character, you may wonder why the men of the Night’s Watch are forbidden from dating, quitting or wearing any color but black. Or why in Vaes Dothrak you’re not allowed to kill someone with a knife, but it’s okay to bash his head in with a rock.

6. … but compliance is strongly recommended.

Fines for hazmat shipping violations can be pretty steep. The Federal Railroad Administration, for instance, collected some $15 million in penalties in 2015. But fines are just a portion of what a violation can cost companies, as it also can hurt future sales, customer relationships and a company’s reputation.

Still, that’s small potatoes compared to the penalties in Game of Thrones. Abandoning the Night’s Watch? Death. Disobeying an order? Death. Looking at Ramsay Bolton the wrong way?

You get the idea.

7. The number 7.

Dangerous Goods shipping is, as previously stated, governed by the 49th volume of the Code of Federal Regulations — and 49 is equal to 7 x 7.

In Game of Thrones, most of the people in the Seven Kingdoms worship a group of Gods known collectively as The Seven — and 7 x 7 equals 49.

Coincidence? You know nothing, Jon Snow.


  1. 1. Charlie Samuals [ June 16, 2016 @ 11:41PM ]

    Nice blog

  2. 2. Stacy Goebel [ June 17, 2016 @ 12:18PM ]

    This is my favorite post! Wonder if we'll see more wildfire in the last couple of episodes... BOOM! Thanks!!


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Deborah Lockridge

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All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.


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