05/23/2014 11:10 EDT | Updated 05/23/2014 11:59 EDT

So, Direwolves Are Basically Real

That is one very, very large canine.

For comparison


Real-life arctic wolf

The night really is dark and full of terrors.

In all seriousness though, Game of Thrones author J.R.R. Martin did not invent the direwolf. It was a very real species that went extinct roughly 10,000 years ago. They could weigh as much as 174 pounds.

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