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Alternate world or Earth?


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31 replies to this topic

#1 Jaclyn Bywater

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 08:40 PM

I am about 3/4 of the way through COK. I have been wondering if this is supposed to be set on another planet, or is supposed to be in medevil times?

Also, does anyone know when season 1 will be out on dvd?

#2 Horza

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 08:47 PM

Not Earth.

#3 soob

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 12:40 AM

It's like one of those Nazi planets from Star Trek. Close but not exactly the same.

#4 Jaclyn Bywater

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 03:50 PM

It's like one of those Nazi planets from Star Trek. Close but not exactly the same.


This is what I was thinking.

The only thing I have found about a release for the dvd is speculation it will come out in time for xmas. I didn't start reading the books until the first season was already over. I found episode one on youtube, but no other episodes.

#5 Sarge

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 10:47 AM

GRRM has answered this question: (be careful the link may contain spoilers since it's an interview done after the release of ADWD).

This may be a silly question, but: When you think of the world you’ve created, where seasons last for years, where is it? It is another planet?
It’s what Tolkien wrote was “the secondary world.” It’s not another planet. It’s Earth. But it’s not our Earth. If you wanted to do a science fiction approach, you could call it an alternate world, but that sounds too science fictional. Tolkien really pioneered that with Middle Earth. He put in some vague things about tying it to our past, but that doesn’t really hold up.


Edited by Sarge, 28 October 2011 - 10:52 AM.


#6 Aedan Stormrage

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 11:10 PM

Well, it could be easily argued that Tolkien's world could in fact be more of our world than Martin's. Tolkien's world was supposed to be an imaginary time period, whereas Martin's, although it has serious similarities with our world, it most certainly depicts another one. The two continents are known entirely and if they are to represent Old and New World then it doesn't fit that such a culture as the Westerosi inhabited it. In fact in Westeros we even see some influences of some Old World civilizations.

In Tolkien's world there are definite hints that point towards a very ancient past of our world, being one instance the Rohirrim and their banner, the white horse in a green field.

#7 Knight of the Old Code

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 05:44 AM

Isn't a big factor in this the fact that the seasons are so different? Summers & winters last years in Westeros.

#8 Werthead

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 07:19 AM

Years ago, Martin said that the planet was not Earth and that it was in fact larger than Earth. He referenced Jack Vance's Big Planet and its sequel as an example (though presumably not in the same league; Vance's 'Big Planet' was 2-3 times the size of Earth, Martinworld is clearly close to Earth's size due to the climate variations over distances being similar).

More recently he seems to be saying it's more of an alternate/secondary Earth. I'm not sure why, possibly to try to head off all the SF explanations for the weird seasons he constantly gets sent?

#9 Aedan Stormrage

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 01:14 PM

Isn't a big factor in this the fact that the seasons are so different? Summers & winters last years in Westeros.


You speak truth, I forgot all about that, but I would dare say it's the biggest issue supporting the idea that it's not our Earth or a secondary Earth. Very good point. One never does pay real attention to how long seasons last in books, even though for Tolkien this was of paramount importance and taking that into account and the math he used to calculate the faces of the moon and so on, Tolkien's world is clearly our Earth.


Years ago, Martin said that the planet was not Earth and that it was in fact larger than Earth. He referenced Jack Vance's Big Planet and its sequel as an example (though presumably not in the same league; Vance's 'Big Planet' was 2-3 times the size of Earth, Martinworld is clearly close to Earth's size due to the climate variations over distances being similar).

More recently he seems to be saying it's more of an alternate/secondary Earth. I'm not sure why, possibly to try to head off all the SF explanations for the weird seasons he constantly gets sent?


A decisive argument. If that is so, case closed. I reckon he started to slip away from Big Planet in order to come closer to fantasy models as you hint in your post. As I meant before, clearly Martin's is not our Earth in an imaginary timeline, but rather a whole different thing. Though heavily influenced in our Earth and with alterations that, although different, can pass as normal. For example praying for an "endless Summer" I think you could see people doing that even here where seasons are so predictable (or getting unpredictable?), also the enemy from the steppes and the East clearly echoes Medieval Europe, as the Realm which is starting to break up and so on. These are all ideas not totally alien to us.

Edited by Aedan Stormrage, 08 November 2011 - 01:15 PM.


#10 EddardStarkForever

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 03:25 PM

This is what I was thinking.

The only thing I have found about a release for the dvd is speculation it will come out in time for xmas. I didn't start reading the books until the first season was already over. I found episode one on youtube, but no other episodes.


you can watch all ten episode of game of thrones via youtube, if you dont mind putting up with annoying spanish subtitles (for dothraki scenes you'll have to find those clips without subtitles, also on youtube). for the link for ep 1, part 1 see http://www.youtube.c...h?v=fuaEtsew1AI ps: not my vids, not endorsing anything :L for rest of the vids just click on the link on the side, dotto17 has them all, only annoying thing is subtitles, otherwise, AWESOME! /drunk.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':drunk:' />

#11 soob

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:17 AM

The west/east/narrow sea thing is a cross between Europe and Asia (not modern Europe and Asia but Greece and Persia) and England and the continent.

#12 gilby

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:42 PM

I have a pet theory that westeros is in a hollow-earth type world where the surface of the world is concave and the sun/moon etc are contained in the middle like this http://en.wikipedia....llow_Earths.svg
I think so because the horizon looks like that in the intro to the tv show (http://www.youtube.c...h?v=iN8PKcNGcuI) and because the seasons don't make any sense if they're caused the same way ours are.

#13 Blue Sun

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:02 PM

It's not hollow. The explanation for the seasons is magical.

#14 Ser Malthred Storm

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 06:52 PM

It may be "an alternate Earth" but it still seems to get a lot of inspiration from our Earth. For example, the Dothraki are described similar to the Mongols, in war and appearance.

#15 Aedan Stormrage

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 09:50 PM

It may be "an alternate Earth" but it still seems to get a lot of inspiration from our Earth. For example, the Dothraki are described similar to the Mongols, in war and appearance.


I don't think that is so. I think that's not what's more similar to our Earth. The Mongols had kingdoms and created empires, they were highly respected. Take for instance the Moghul empire, they were not merely horselords that had no cities... I think you are thinking on some other barbarians... such as the Huns.

#16 Ser Malthred Storm

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 08:17 PM

I don't think that is so. I think that's not what's more similar to our Earth. The Mongols had kingdoms and created empires, they were highly respected. Take for instance the Moghul empire, they were not merely horselords that had no cities... I think you are thinking on some other barbarians... such as the Huns.

Oh, I'm sorry, I get the two mixed up a lot /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' /> . There are other examples borrowed from our Earth, however. Such as The Poor Fellows who are pretty much the spitting image of the Templars. Their purpose (at the start for Templars) are the same, and even the names are similar The Poor Knights of Christ/The Poor Fellows.

Edited by Ser Barristan Stark, 19 December 2011 - 08:19 PM.


#17 LuisDantas

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 09:29 PM

Geographically, it is obviously a completely different planet.

Culturally, however, it is not even an "alternate". It IS our Earth. It's history doesn't diverge from ours in any significant way.

When GRRM mentions Tolkien and his talk of Middle Earth being an "Alternate Past", I gather that he means that he wants to deal with concepts that aren't at all alien, yet at the same time reserve the right to a minimum degree of artistic license (so as not to get caught in historical dates and other details that are not relevant to the themes he wants to explore).

In that respect, the world of Song is far more similar to ours than Middle Earth ever aimed to be.


#18 Aedan Stormrage

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 09:47 PM

Geographically, it is obviously a completely different planet.

Culturally, however, it is not even an "alternate". It IS our Earth. It's history doesn't diverge from ours in any significant way.

When GRRM mentions Tolkien and his talk of Middle Earth being an "Alternate Past", I gather that he means that he wants to deal with concepts that aren't at all alien, yet at the same time reserve the right to a minimum degree of artistic license (so as not to get caught in historical dates and other details that are not relevant to the themes he wants to explore).

In that respect, the world of Song is far more similar to ours than Middle Earth ever aimed to be.


I think you got that wrong... I don't see Martin's being OUR Earth... there's no Ghiscari, no Valyria... yet they have a 1400-ish civilization. Also the geography couldn't be ours if you don't break the world apart. And there are no explicit references to our world... while Tolkien had the "white horse" of Britain.

#19 LuisDantas

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 11:43 PM

Culturally, it simply lacks any meaningful variations from our Earth. It behaves and works exactly like ours, far too closely to allow a classification as an "alternate Earth", at least by traditional sci-fi standards. Their mindsets are simply not at all alien.

Sure, the geography, history and bestiary are all wrong. But that is of only the most marginal importance conceivable. It doesn't affect the story at all.

By comparison, Tolkien's Middle Earth can only be reconciled with anything resembling Earth by a very literal Deus Ex Machina. It is such a different place that I don't think it can be said to be made of the same matter.

#20 Aedan Stormrage

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:14 AM

Culturally, it simply lacks any meaningful variations from our Earth. It behaves and works exactly like ours, far too closely to allow a classification as an "alternate Earth", at least by traditional sci-fi standards. Their mindsets are simply not at all alien.

Sure, the geography, history and bestiary are all wrong. But that is of only the most marginal importance conceivable. It doesn't affect the story at all.

By comparison, Tolkien's Middle Earth can only be reconciled with anything resembling Earth by a very literal Deus Ex Machina. It is such a different place that I don't think it can be said to be made of the same matter.


I agree with your point about sci-fi standards, yes, I was not thinking about sci-fi.

I don't agree with what you say about Tolkien, in any case, it's closest to our Earth than anything you can read in fantasy. A very ancient time, but it could fit very well, I tell you the white horse that appears in England and is a mystery is explained by way of the Rohirrim. Also there's a lot of philological play and playful explanations of names.