Plugged In has tracked plenty of correlations between entertainment and its influence on our real-world values. We’ve regularly looked at what scientists have to say about the potential links between our media habits and our choices in areas such as sex, smoking and alcohol usage.
But sometimes those links show up in ways that are less serious—and more … furry.
HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones features lots of different things—a byzantine plot and graphic sexual content among them. It also includes animals known as direwolves, which are wolves, only bigger. They look, kinda sorta, like bigger versions of Siberian Huskies.
You know where this is going, right?
It turns out that quite a lot of folks—at least in the San Francisco Bay area—are purchasing Husky pups. But when they grow to, erm, dire sizes, they’re subsequently being abandoned.
So GoT star Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, has teamed up with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to issue a statement urging fans of the show to think twice before purchasing one of these dogs. He said:
“Please, to all of Game of Thrones’ many wonderful fans, we understand that due to the direwolves’ huge popularity, many folks are going out and buying huskies. Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned—as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs.”
He concluded, “Please, please, if you’re going to bring a dog into your family, make sure that you’re prepared for such a tremendous responsibility and remember to always, ALWAYS, adopt from a shelter.”
Some may scoff at the suggestion that entertainment really influences our choices and values in the real world. And, admittedly, airtight evidence of actual causation is hard to prove.
Still, stories like this one suggest—anecdotally, if not scientifically—that many folks really are influenced by their entertainment choices in concrete, sometimes surprising, ways.