I have a thing that’s been kind of bothering me ever since I started getting into Game of Thrones that seems kind of dumb, but it’s kind of a bedrock issue so I feel like it’s kind of valid but I haven’t found anything that’s answered it satisfactorily.

I feel like it’s a bedrock issue because it concerns some of the core conceits of the story, like the fact that shit happens to people when they’re insanely young, the fact that it’s supposedly a less handwavey story than other fantasy epics (with the super-detailed politics and the fact that magic doesn’t just happen, there’s a cost and some pretty specific shit you have to do to get the desired result), and the whole Winter is Coming meme.

Long story short, I’m wondering what kind of planet the story takes place on, and how do they define a year?

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We define a year as (roughly) one full trip around the sun, with the seasons being determined by what angle the sun is hitting that part of the world at a given time. Distance from the sun doesn’t necessarily factor in, as the Earth is slightly farther away from the sun during the northern hemisphere’s summer than it is during the southern summer, but the temperature is still pretty similar. For winter to be as drastically different on GoTplanet, you’d need a highly elliptical orbit that takes it to the outer reaches of the goldilocks zone where life of our kind can thrive. If they define a year the same way we do, winter should be coming a lot more consistently and predictably. Even if they define a year in some weird way, winter should still be coming and lasting way more consistently than they’ve said it does. There’s no evidence so far that they’re in a binar (or trinary) star system that could play havoc with the planet’s orbit in a way that explains what’s going on. Given that a year obviously isn’t defined the same way on GoTplanet as it is here (unless somehow “winter” doesn’t mean winter), I don’t see the problem with casting older-looking actors to play GoTplanet-younger characters. Depending on how they are defining a year, Ned Stark could have died at age 20 and it could still totally make sense.

I can think of one way this miiiiight kinda work, which is if GoTplanet is experiencing semi-regular ice ages. If that’s happening, though, shouldn’t there be a metric fuckton more volcanic activity going on to release the kind of CO2 and other gases needed to change the climate that drastically on anything less than geologic timescales? That kind of works if all the other continents never mentioned outside the tiny area where political shit happens are basically supervolcanic wastelands and that’s why nobody bothers even making expeditions there for natural resources. I say “kind of works” because it all falls apart when you consider that that much ash being released would completely fuck the air quality to the point where nobody would need to kill anyone else for the throne because they’d all be too busy coughing to death.

This might be a question better left till both the book and the tv show are finished, because as far as I know the best answer is “an explanation could be coming later on”. It’s just something that struck me as weird as soon as I got into the whole thing, and it’s a little harder to maintain suspension of disbelief if it seems like something as basic as words not meaning the one thing they definitely mean is going on.