Game of Thrones – a question of celestial bodies

August 15, 2015


JUST about everyone seems to be talking about the HBO smash hit series Game of Thrones and the unfinished novels on which it is based (five published, two more promised by author George R R Martin).

For a couple of years I have found strangers in bars and in offices talking about the latest happenings in Westeros.

Indeed, I have encouraged friends, co –workers, acquaintances and people I have just met to buy the box sets or pick up the books.

Theories abound on who the rightful monarch of Westeros is: Daenerys, Stannis, Joffrey, Renly, Jon Snow, take your pick.

But the more I watch, read and re-read the more I am bugged by something seemingly trivial in the grand scheme of all these theories.

The seasons.

Not as in television seasons, I mean winter and summer which can each last for years at a time. There is no set length of a season and no pattern to the span of seasons.

This is referred to often in the narrative, but it is all a matter of fact. No character questions why, it is just accepted.

What I know about seasons is to do with the tilt of the earth as it spins around the sun. Predictable.

How can a planet as we understand it have unpredictable seasons, wouldn’t an unpredictable spin have made it difficult for life to evolve? I don’t know tonnes on this subject, but from what I remember, it just doesn’t add up.

But then I saw the series and it all made sense, to me at least.

I have read many times the author has told the series producers names the secrets of the books. It is assumed this covers the fate of the characters and who will sit on the Iron Throne at the end of the series.

Perhaps, he has also revealed what the deal is with those odd seasons.

Certainly I watched the credits for the show roll a few times, each time thinking there was something I was missing in them.

Then it struck me.

The maps show curvature, as you would expect from what we know of planets, but it is the wrong way.

Let me say this again: the world containing Westeros and Sothoryos curves the wrong way.

With the attention to detail in the show and the books, something like this cannot be by mistake. And it seems like just the sort of trickery which would appeal to Martin – hiding such a thing in plain sight.

This celestial body is not a planet, but a Dyson sphere – this is where the habitable surface is inside the sphere not outside.

See Babylon Five, which was itself a Dyson cylinder, on a small-scale. Or Relics the episode of Star Trek the Next Generation where a full-scale Dyson sphere featured.

Another telling clue about the seasons is also in the credits, the sun is shown, not that far above the ground and tiny in comparison to how large a sun should be relative to a planet.

Ian M Banks has a variation on the idea of how “planets” function in one of his Culture novels, where there are tiny suns called roll stars which follow irregular paths across the “sky” creating uneven seasons – although in these books the seasons are predictable, due to the superior knowledge of how they work.

The star in the GoT credits reminds me of those little stars in that Banks book and if one understood the route it was following, the seasons would be wholly predictable.

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One Response to “Game of Thrones – a question of celestial bodies”


  1. I always assumed that Westeros had normal seasons like we have based on axial tilt during Planetos’ orbit around their sun, but for some reason, it’s plaqued by mini-ice ages that can last years, then receded for years, then return. Then possibly have a longer ice age.

    I’m not saying I’m right or you’re wrong, it’s just how I work in the seasons.

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