1. They’re not just fantasy creatures.
Dude. Dire wolves were real. Not to be confused with direwolves (one word), which only exist in Westeros.
2. These guys are hard-core wolves, as in Big Bad.
Both the real and the fictional versions of the creature are much like normal wolves, but larger and more ferocious. The Game of Thrones kind is also more intelligent.
3. Game of Thrones’ direwolves grow to be as large as a small horse.
The real life dire wolves were about 25 percent larger than modern grey wolves.
4. Real dire wolves lived right here in the Americas from 1.8 million years ago up until about 10,000 years ago.
They are believed to have died out during the most recent Ice Age, most likely due to the extinction of their most common prey.
5. The dire wolf’s classification name is perfect.
The dire wolf is classified as “Canis dirus”—which means “fearsome dog.” Someone in the science naming department (that’s a thing, right?) does NOT beat around the bush.
6. Additional science words for the dire wolf include “hypercarnivore” and “megafauna.”
Which are awesome words, first of all. But in addition to sounding badass, hypercarnivores are animals that get more than 70 percent of their diet from meat. Megafauna is science for animals that are really freaking big. Think: Elephants.
7. Even Westeros, most average citizens believe them to be mythical or extinct.
Direwolves only exist in the most northern parts of the kingdom—even the Stark’s region of Winterfell is more south than they typically venture. Most, reportedly, live outside the wall.
8. After Sansa’s direwolf Lady was put down to appease Prince Joffrey in season one, Sophie Turner adopted her furry on-screen counterpart.
She’d always wanted a dog and her parents didn’t, she said. And hey, it’s sure to scare off intruders.
9. Dire wolves are also the topic of a Grateful Dead song.
Which was aptly named “Dire Wolf.” Take a listen.