Here's something we bet you've never thought about before (we certainly hadn't): how shipping hazardous materials is eerily similar to the TV show "Game of Thrones." But thanks to a tongue-in-cheek press release from Labelmaster, a company that helps shippers comply with regulations governing dangerous goods (DG) and hazardous materials, our eyes have been opened. Herewith, Labelmaster's entertaining take on why "Game of Thrones" is like hazmat shipping:
1. They're both based on ridiculously long books ... Hazmat/dangerous goods transport is based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's Code of Federal Regulations, Vol. 49, which clocks in at well over 1,000 pages. "Game of Thrones" is based on George R.R. Martin's series "A Song of Ice and Fire," which averages 1,000 pages per volume.
2. ... which never seem to be finished. Regulators update 49CFR regularly, so you can never 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.
3. Flammable liquids play a prominent role. From alcohol to gasoline to house paint, Class 3 flammable liquids are some of the most common dangerous goods shipped. As for "Game of Thrones," ... suffice it to say that, if a certain wildfire-bearing ship in the Battle of the Blackwater had borne the correct hazmat labels, Stannis Baratheon would sit on the Iron Throne today.
4. Poisons, too. Class 6 poisons are among the more common types of dangerous goods shipped. Poisons are popular in "Game of Thrones," claiming the lives of Jon Arryn, King Joffrey, Princess Myrcella, and—almost—Ser Gregor Clegane. Assassins have also tried to poison Daenerys Targaryen twice.
5. Many of the rules seem arbitrary ... DG professionals may wonder why the borders on a shipping label can 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. "Game of Thrones" characters 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 OK to bash his head in with a rock.
6. ... but compliance is strongly recommended. Fines for hazmat shipping violations can be pretty steep, and violations can hurt sales, customer relationships, and a company's reputation. Still, that's small potatoes compared with 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. Hazmat shipping is 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.