Battle to the Un-Death: AMC Zombies vs HBO Zombies
By Mark Gale
Two popular shows with seemingly uncommon elements have stolen the hearts and minds of adults 18-49. One is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a band of survivors try to scrounge up some existence of a normal life. The other is set in a medieval, mystical world that is engaged in all-out war. What do these two shows have in common? Zombies – or at least some variation of them.
AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones were in the top five in the Nielson ratings on Easter Sunday (March 31, 2013). This was the first time the two shows had paired off against one another with The Walking Dead having its season finale up against the Season Premiere of Game of Thrones. Although The Walking Dead took the victory in the TV ratings, how would their “walkers” stack up in a fight against Game of Thrones “white walkers”?
Numbers: White Walkers. The “walkers” in the Walking Dead are clearly only a threat when either using the element of surprise or using overall numeric force. Clearly, as shown in Atlanta, there are vast numbers of them. Originally, you think these examples would lead them to winning this category. However, in the Season 2 Finale of Game of Thrones, we saw the “white walkers” were easily able to hold their own in this category as well. The tie-breaker came down to the fact that it seems the “walkers” would prefer to eat living creatures where as the “white walkers” would prefer to just kill living creatures thus turning them into more “white walkers”. Therefore, in the long run, the “white walkers” numbers can grow at an exponentially greater rate.
Stealth: Walkers. The Walking Dead “walkers” seem to pop out of nowhere ALL THE TIME. Even though they groan constantly, they seem to be able to repress this when needed to jump out and eat someone. Due to the bright blue glowing eyes of a “white walker”, I have to give the nod to the “walkers” (even though “white walkers have stayed hidden in the far north for thousands of years).
Agility: White Walkers. A lone “walker” from The Walking Dead is slow and seems generally unable to move. Additionally, as pointed out in the first season, they have limited thinking capability and are just moving based on impulse reactions. As shown in the Season 3 Premiere of Game of Thrones, the “white walkers” can move much quicker and can also effectively yield weapons such as swords, axes, and shields. It took a wolf the size of a horse to eventually subdue the creature. Additionally, the “white walkers” seem to move with a purpose, which makes them much more dangerous than just creature that aimlessly lumber around.
Diversity: White Walkers. As demonstrated by the lead “white walker”, they are able to convert creatures into “white walkers” as well. This means that “white walkers” can have cavalry. The Walking Dead zombies thus far do not seem capable of turning animals and thus prefer just to eat them.
Survivability: White Walkers. I first must go on the general assumption that environmental conditions don’t seem to drastically effect either pair of zombies. They both seem to be able to survive in a harsh environment without too much food, water, or shelter. Therefore, this assessment is based on their survivability against humans. The Walking Dead “walkers” seem to have a severe vulnerability when it comes to the neck and head region. The smallest of hits to the head seems to render them obsolete. Additionally, their lack of intelligence seems to disable them on the crudest and simplest of “booby trap” type devices. With their lack of intelligence and agility, it seems that unless they attack in great numbers or surprise someone, they are killed relatively easily. However, the “white walkers” seem much more formidable and can also utilize weapons of their own. In Season 1 of Game of Thrones, it took two men to barely subdue a newly risen “white walker” – one that wasn’t even battle tested. Between this incident and the incident with the direwolf in the Season 3 premiere, it is clear that it is much harder to kill a “white walker” than it is to kill a normal “walker”.
The facts don’t lie. If I was leading an undead army or trying to avoid one, the “white walker” army takes the prize. The survivors of The Walking Dead had better hope there are no “white walkers” waiting for them around the Arctic Circle.