I have a question about a statement made recently by Neil deGrasse Tyson about chains in tension (contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7 finale):
Bad Physics in #GameOfThrones: Pulling a dragon out of a lake? Chains need to be straight, and not curve over hill and dale. (@neiltyson, 24 Sep 2017.)
Tyson seems to suggest that in order for an object to be pulled, that the multiple people pulling at the rope must be on a straight plane. Why? Obviously if there were one puller, at the very end of the rope, a rope curving across the land wouldn't make sense, because generally speaking, it would indicate that the rope was not taut.
But if you have many pullers at each step, then as long as the next puller is still applying a force vector partially in the $x$ direction, wont there still be a net increase in force? Obviously the $y$ component of force added will be a waste, and the puller behind will have to compensate either for additional downward force on the chain, or will have to hold the chain down to prevent the the additional upward force from pulling it up off their shoulder (depending on whether the puller in front is above or below them), but as long as they're not completely orthogonal, isn't this still physically possible?
If so, then wouldn't the given image make sense? Forgive me for any glaring oversights, I'm not very versed in physics.