Sure, It’s Cold. But Is It Tauntaun Cold, or White Walker Cold?

Dubious and far-fetched ideas.
Jan. 8 2014 12:31 PM

Battle of the Weather Jokes

It’s cold, but is it Hoth cold or Beyond the Wall cold?

As temperatures plummeted this week and people’s hometowns bore increasing resemblance to the frozen wastelands of fantasy, thousands huddled around the flaming trash can of the Internet to quip about the “polar vortex” with allusions to their favorite fictional franchise. Some peered from their windowpanes and saw planet Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back. “I’m not saying it’s cold, but I spent most of the morning inside a tauntaun,” remarked Ana Marie Cox on Twitter. Others thought of the cold wildlands north of the Wall in Game of Thrones. “It’s so damned cold today, I’m literally sitting by the door wondering when the White Walkers will arrive,” tweeted freelancer Scott Neumyer.

Well, is the weather more like Hoth or more like Beyond the Wall? At the behest of Time columnist James Poniewozik, we applied a complex meteorological model to this question, counting the number of Facebook statuses that mention “white walkers” or “tauntauns.” Has the North eclipsed Hoth as our favorite frozen hellscape? Here are the results:

1389201574

Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons; Photo illustration by Derreck Johnson/Slate

The odorous tauntauns earned nearly three times more mentions than white walkers. Of course, there’s room for everyone in this cold snap, even wampas and wildlings and Frozen Jack from The Shining.

Chris Kirk is Slate's interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?