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Alternate world or Earth?


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30 replies to this topic

#21 LuisDantas

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:24 AM

And yet it is a completely alien world, particularly from an anthropological perspective. Middle Earth is Earth-as-Tolkien-wished-it-could-once-have-been. He is entitled to his artistic license, of course, but nevertheless the end result is nothing like our Earth.

I'm not sure what you mean by an "very ancient time". Maybe it could be seen as a previous cycle, an Earth that eventually met its end and gave way to a new origin? That could work, but it is still just a specific case of a completely different Earth. As a true past, it just doesn't fit at all.

#22 Aedan Stormrage

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:37 PM

And yet it is a completely alien world, particularly from an anthropological perspective. Middle Earth is Earth-as-Tolkien-wished-it-could-once-have-been. He is entitled to his artistic license, of course, but nevertheless the end result is nothing like our Earth.

I'm not sure what you mean by an "very ancient time". Maybe it could be seen as a previous cycle, an Earth that eventually met its end and gave way to a new origin? That could work, but it is still just a specific case of a completely different Earth. As a true past, it just doesn't fit at all.


Why alien? I don't see it, there are humans, they live and die, have children, I see nothing alien. Their names can be translated to ours, nothing alien. They feel cold and warmth, they have seasons like ours, a sun and a moon like ours, the moon has faces like ours. I don't see anything alien. The elves and magic don't even account as alien, our real world already has that, you can believe it or not, but there they are.

Why doesn't it fit for a past at all? Do you know what happened since men evolved to Homo Sapiens until writing existed? At least 100,000 years of history are unknown to us. How many civilizations did rise and fall before Egypt, they even said so. You may say: where's proof? Ok, but tell me... Didn't the romans destroy Carthage? What know we of them? Their libraries? Not a single book, we don't even know their language. What about Dacia? A culture so sofisticated as the greek it was said... We don't even know their language, only a few words... Their myths? Stories? Nothing! Dacia is now Rumania... Romans ravaged it beyond knowledge. So I ask you... How many times did this same thing happen? How many cultures? How many "worlds" did die and we could know nothing about them?

Edited by Aedan Stormrage, 20 December 2011 - 05:38 PM.


#23 red fork

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:58 PM

Interesting topic!

It occurred to me that the pick'n'mix historico-geopolitical hotch-potch that is westeros and essos might be more that just GRRM lifting liberally from our history books then slicing and dicing... it could be deliberate, if this is meant to be a parallel dimension - or even earth as could-have-been with slight different physics and cosmology after an earlier (later?) big bang in a universe that expands then collapses forever.

That's probably overthinking it to be fair, but the wealth of similarities does invite the speculation. Either that or GRRM is an inveterate pilferer /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#24 Aedan Stormrage

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:08 PM

There is no "stealing" there's ambient recreation. It's not "picking" since you can't put your finger on things that inspired it. In any case, he recreated the "taste" of some parts of history, not explicit facts or happenings.

#25 Fred Storm

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 06:50 AM

I don't see the point in this discussion - Martin's world is just a fictional one. Even the technology they use in let's say their armies and such is comparable to such of the late medieval ages. Hence medieval fantasy genre /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' /> Of course much is inspired by real world stuff, but one of the fundemental things in fantasy writing is the creation of a fictional world that the reader can recognize, but at the same time find different and I dunno, mysterious or something.

Edit: I just wanted to edit my answer to clarify my point /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' /> I think the writers creates this fantasy world as part inspired by ours so that we may recognize ourself in it, but part different to create something new and foreign to us (That's what fantasy is about isn't it? Escape the reality of OUR world) - so Martin's world is similar to ours but clearly NOT ours /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />

Edited by Fred Storm, 29 December 2011 - 06:58 AM.


#26 Ygrette

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 04:36 AM

I think being a biologist, I cannot help but dividing this topic into several viewpoints.

Geographically and from a climate standpoint, it's a completely different planet and even a different solar system or unknown galaxy (length of seasons while still being the same class planet as earth, with water, ice, deserts etc).

Culturally, it may be an alternate version of earth, a path humanity may have developed into, had there been magic on earth. Well, maybe there has been magic on earth, but personally I have yet to meet a fire breathing dragon. /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

Biologically however, it is not very likely that so many species (humans, dogs, horses, cats, pigeons, boars, lions, rats, quails, barley, pomegranates, apples, onions, wild garlic, etc pp) have developed exactly the same as they have on earth without somehow having derived from earth in the first place.

So, here goes my completely unnecessary theory - as I don't think we actually need an explanation to be able to enjoy the story as it is:
The story is based on a time in our far, far, FAR future where humanity has somehow managed to settle on a planet in a different galaxy, but complelety lost their technology and had to start from scratch - probably due to a war, climate change or other phenomenon. Maybe all the wonders of the past Valyrian empire is partly our future technology, like the legend of Atlantis on earth.

But please, I'm just throwing this in the air for fun purposes, I don't really believe this is the case and I don't really need any confirmation from GRRM for this silly theory. I just enjoy making up somewhat credible-ish explanations and used to enjoy finding plausible explanations for errors in Star Trek. /biggrin.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':D' />


Greetings,
Steph

Edited by Ygrette, 08 February 2012 - 04:40 AM.


#27 Snow Ghost

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:57 PM

It's a alternate reality, very similar to our Middle Age in some aspects, and yet very different in others

#28 FukDuk

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:44 PM

It's not on Earth. But it's based on medival earth

#29 johnnyonthespot

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:33 PM

Having only read the first book, having looked at the "Quartermaester.info" map, and having seen seasons 1-3 of the TV show (don't worry, I won't spoil seasons 2-3 here), I got the impression that GRRM's world was a rough analogue of European and Eurasian geography.

 

In my rough estimation:

  • I see Westeros as being Britain, with the Wall in the north being Hadrian's Wall, the wildlings and hill people being "barbarians," and King's Landing being London.  The overall shape of Westeros is very similar to Britain and the family names sound more British than anything else.  I also see the arrival of the Targaryens being like the Norman conquest in 1066.
  • I see Pentos as Portugal and Bravos as Spain.  This may be quite a leap of logic, but Syrio of Bravos behaves a bit like a romantic Spanish swordsman though his name sounds vaguely Arabic (Spain was occupied by Muslim conquerors up until 1492).
  • I see the far eastern portions of Essos as Eurasia.  Though it is shifted a bit to the west, the Dothraki Sea represents the Mongol Empire.  There are tons of unmistakable analogies between Mongol culture and Dothraki culture.  And, (tiny spoiler for book 2/season 2), Qarth is a bit like Constantinople.

Edited by johnnyonthespot, 15 July 2014 - 08:53 PM.


#30 zeppelincheetah

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 11:34 PM

I remember somewhere George was asked what has caused the slow seasonal change and he struck back with "IT'S FANTASY"  I have never had an issue with this.  It's as different as it needs to be for creativity but not too different from our world in order to need to have to create whole new world orders, technologies, flora and fauna.   I think for the medium of books in particular, seasons that last years is great.  Once the whole saga is finished I could see myself re-reading the whole thing in one autumn at a leisurely pace, coinciding with the seasons.  Start reading AGOT in September, then finish A Dream of Spring in January.



#31 John Suburbs

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 02:27 PM

Here's how Planetos could be Earth:

 

We're not reading about an alternate past, but the future. This would after an apocalyptic event destroyed our current society, but not before we developed the genetics and engineering and sources of power that would account for much of the strange beings and magic in the story: dragons, others,  glass candles, shadowbinders...

 

The society is destroyed, but the genetic mutations lived on throughout the millennia, along with humans and animals, etc, so all knowledge of their creation was lost. They're just there.

 

Valyria started to make a comeback but was destroyed, my guess is by the CotF who also have the ability to alter the weather. Has anyone else noticed that no one outside Westeros talks about long winters and summers? It seems to be a uniquely Westerosi phenomenon.

 

Anyway, it's all crackpot, but that's how it could be done if it ever became necessary for the story.