How was time invented?

DarkWings

Dark Words
Joined
Mar 26, 2011
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8
#1
Ive been thinking about this on and off throughout reading this series. its been bothering me alot.
on earth we have a YEAR based on the moon and seasons, but in the books the seasons seem to last random amounts of time. i dont remember where i read it but i believe i read a quote "summer lasts for years, Winter lasts a lifetime" or something like that.
so if they have no astrological symbols telling them how long a year is how are they keeping track?
the only thing i could come up with is that the culture decided on a system purely based on how many days it took for someone to die of old age and then split it up into more convienient chunks (years).

maybe im just making this too complicated somehow or maybe im missing something... i tried searching for this topic but didnt find it.
anyone have any thoughts?
im currently reading ASOS right now for the first time, so maybe later in the books there are clues for this.
I dont mind a few spoilers btw, just dont go overboard :)
 

Werthead

Lemming of Discord
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#2
The moon. One orbit of the moon around the planet is a month, twelve orbits is a year, regardless of the season.

There is also a hint that the seasons were not always random, and Westeros's calendar was originally more like ours with four seasons a year.
 

DarkWings

Dark Words
Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Messages
8
#3
with the seasons being normal at some point i can obviously see the year being made that way.
but i wouldnt buy the idea that they would randomly decide on 12 rotations of the moon to be a year without some other frame of reference.
thanks for answering my question :)
 

viZion

Arrogant Bastard
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
730
#4
with the seasons being normal at some point i can obviously see the year being made that way.
but i wouldnt buy the idea that they would randomly decide on 12 rotations of the moon to be a year without some other frame of reference.
thanks for answering my question :)
But you can buy that some chick walked into a big fire and came out with dragons? I think maybe this calendar thing might be something you should just accept because it makes it easier for readers to relate to the passage of time when it's in unit we already understand ;).
 

southron sword

Master of none
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498
#5
But you can buy that some chick walked into a big fire and came out with dragons? I think maybe this calendar thing might be something you should just accept because it makes it easier for readers to relate to the passage of time when it's in unit we already understand ;).

Yeah. This is fantasy. I'm not so sure trying to bring a scientific explanation into it really works. Like how The Wall stands. Just does. Yes, the series is somewhat believable with the characters, but being fantasy there's that unexplainable element. "It just is" is sometimes the best answer....
 

The Imp

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5,377
#6
But you can buy that some chick walked into a big fire and came out with dragons? I think maybe this calendar thing might be something you should just accept because it makes it easier for readers to relate to the passage of time when it's in unit we already understand ;).
Any plot device that does NOT employ Deus Ex Machina is fine by me. GRRM could have had that event happen in any number of ways. He wrote it to be dramatic and have a little touch of magic. It wasn't as if he cut the Meereenese Knot with a magic sword (so to speak).

As for time, I've always thought that the used a lunar calendar, but I haven't given the matter a lot of thought. I do think though that The Others will end up having something to do with the length of winters, but that's pretty much a no-brainer.
 

viZion

Arrogant Bastard
Joined
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Messages
730
#7
Any plot device that does NOT employ Deus Ex Machina is fine by me. GRRM could have had that event happen in any number of ways. He wrote it to be dramatic and have a little touch of magic. It wasn't as if he cut the Meereenese Knot with a magic sword (so to speak).
I wasn't trying to say that the Dany scene was stupid. I know it's a fantasy. I have no problem with it. I don't have a problem with anything in the books, to be honest (well, Bran chapters...). Just trying to point out that of all the things not to buy in the series, Westeros just happening to have a 12 month calendar like we do should probably be pretty low on the list ;).
 

Clansman

Lochaber Axeman, QC
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#8
I think that the wacked out seasons are something that is tied to the destruction of Valyria. Just my guess. We'll probably never know...
 

The Imp

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#9
I wasn't trying to say that the Dany scene was stupid. I know it's a fantasy. I have no problem with it. I don't have a problem with anything in the books, to be honest (well, Bran chapters...). Just trying to point out that of all the things not to buy in the series, Westeros just happening to have a 12 month calendar like we do should probably be pretty low on the list ;).
I in no way was assuming or implying that you thought that. Sorry if that's how I sounded.
 

Mesanna

Glad to be Geek
Joined
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Messages
556
#10
I think that the wacked out seasons are something that is tied to the destruction of Valyria. Just my guess. We'll probably never know...
That's a really interesting idea!

You know, I must confess that I never really thought too much about the seasons. I just accepted that that was the way it is in Westeros. Just like cold wintery weather can start in October and end late March some years, and start in December and end in February other years. I just assumed the seasons in Westeros varied like that (though obviously over a much longer timescale).

Did it mention somewhere in the books that the seasons weren't always like this and I've completely missed it? Anyone know?
 

The Imp

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#11
That's a really interesting idea!

You know, I must confess that I never really thought too much about the seasons. I just accepted that that was the way it is in Westeros. Just like cold wintery weather can start in October and end late March some years, and start in December and end in February other years. I just assumed the seasons in Westeros varied like that (though obviously over a much longer timescale).

Did it mention somewhere in the books that the seasons weren't always like this and I've completely missed it? Anyone know?
I remember it being talked about that long summers equal long winters, and vice versa. GRRm has said that the seasons will be explained and the explaination will be they are "magical" in nature. My feeling has always been theta the long winter is going to be related, or maybe already is, to the rise of The Others.
 

Wiggum

S.M.R.T.
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883
#12
Women have "moon's blood" or somesuch, right?

Biologically time clock wise that would establish a lunar month similar to ours.

That, and chocolate cake.

I'm not sure how, but I'm pretty sure chocolate cake fits in here somewhere.
 

The Imp

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#14
Is that because GRRM will probably just never finish?
The odds of GRRM finishing may dramatically improve when ADWD is published. I'll be sticking to the story that GRRM will definitely finish until ADWD proves to be out of control. I think it will be the opposite though.
 

Werthead

Lemming of Discord
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#15
The original blurb to the series, found on some 1996 editions of AGoT, states that a 'preternatural event' has thrown the seasons out of balance, which indicates at some point that Martinworld had 'normal' (or at least Earth-like) weather and something has upset that. It wasn't the Doom of Valyria, which was only 400 years before the start of the books. The long seasons have been going on for far longer than that.

The earliest reference we have to out-of-control seasons is when the Others first emerged 8,000 years ago. There's a reference to the 'Long Night' and a winter that lasted a generation, during which the War for the Dawn was fought and won. The implication of that is that the seasons were normal before the Long Night (which may be comparable to winter in far northern climes when darkness falls for weeks or months at a time at midwinter), then the emergence of the Others threw them into confusion. It's possible the Others, who appear to only be active at night, used magic to blanket the world in cold and darkness and the out-of-control seasons were a side-effect of some kind. Perhaps the final defeat of the Others will return the seasons to normal?
 

xLORDSNOWx

Winter Is Coming
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#16
Since we have already seen the snow starting at the end of AFFC, it will probably start getting a little heavier by the time ADWD ends, due to the overlapping and subsequent story continuation past AFFC during it's finale. This means that the remaining two books will take place during winter just based on their titles "a winds of winter" and "a dream of spring".

Also, I wonder why no one in the south, especially those who have lived through previous winters don't seem too concerned (at least based on their reaction to the fact that winter is actually upon them). Were the Starks and the Wall that good in their defense of the others that the rest of Westeros was left unmolested. Did all of the great lords of the south stay in their strongholds? Now that the wall is undermanned and Winterfell has fallen, will the rest of Westeros even have the slightest clue how to defend against them. The new recruits of the nights watch are just realizing what weapons to use against them. Will the green lands water source freeze up and prevent the islands from moving?

Apologies for the ramble, they say your best thoughts happen when you first wake up. This may dispell that theory!
 

Mesanna

Glad to be Geek
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#17
The original blurb to the series, found on some 1996 editions of AGoT, states that a 'preternatural event' has thrown the seasons out of balance ....
Wow, great explanation Werthead! Thanks. And thanks Imp for your reply too. I should have known that those pesky northern vampires were behind it! :)

@LordSnow I'm guessing the folks in the south aren't so concerned because they don't believe this winter will be much different from previous ones, which they survived. The main problem lies in the fact the land has been ravaged by war with most of the food stores destroyed and little chance to grow more. The Others haven't actually passed beyond the wall in recent memory and I believe most southern Westerosi believe them to be a myth. Boy are they going to get a wake up call!
 

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