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Waters Gate

Dragons and technological innovation

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Has anyone ever contemplated how Planetos would look like if it could continue to evolve with dragons around, like say well into the industrial revolution? Dragons have huge potential for industrialization, but how does that relate to evolution in the books? Perhaps it's arguable that the presence of dragons stunts technological evolution in Planetos for the reason that Dragons become to prominent in being managed, studied and employed by the elite. Too easy a tool in fact that humanity looses some of the "alternative ideas"

 

Westeros appears for all intents and purposes technologically stagnant over a fairly long timespan. People in the books have artefacts they could not even reproduce. There appears to be few construction or dynamics in science and socially the continent is predominantly gripped by serfdom with some nobles playing some games above their heads. Essos and other continents might holds some innovations (for example the ocean going ships of the summer islands) but were not exactly in the age of exploration yet and noone seems to have heard of gunpowder so far.

If ever there was an apparently more advanced civilization, then it obviously must be Valyria, they certainly left legends and artifacts. The thing about the Valyrian advancement in it's time though seems that it was all very "dragon centered". The Valyrians used their dragons to build their empire, and then build roads and constructions in their empire which were of a superior quality. It's perhaps not at all surprizing that dragons would be very usefull in construction though, perhaps just arguable that if you had dragons you simply would be capable to build better things easier. Perhaps they were just as important in forging valyrian steel?

Perhaps it's even so that in most area's you would want to innovate in this "era", that youre sollution would become all to easily: dragons! Need to explore? Some Valyrian lady tried to explore Sothorys with a dragon. Need more firepower in warfare? Yeah, dragons! Need more production out of youre steel furnaces? Dragons! Need some source of power, mechanical or energy for steam power? Dragons! Want to invent something that allows humans to fly? No need, we have dragons. No need for the dragon elite to develop cannons, guns, ships that can explore oceans, or dream about the possibilety of flight.

Looking at Valyrian society, it seems apparent that the maintance cost of dragons must have been a fair sum. Quite posibly taxes on the empire were used for a large part to just maintain more dragons. Quite possibly you had a society that was very much serfdom too with most of it's wealth directed to Valyria itself. With other words, it might be questioned to what extend the persuit of dragons creates a society where people will have plenty of time to innovate, quite possibly the only ones with time left to innovate are the dragonlords and the are more likely to delve into anything dragon related and the potential arcane associations with them, if only for the reason that for the dragonlords atleast the dragons solve much of the problems that they would require innovation for, it's just that the dragons can only serve an elite and it never becomes widespread enough.

 

 

Edited by Waters Gate

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Valyrian society, even the dragon bits, were all based in magic. Dragons themselves are magical beings. Now if we think of "magic" as just another form of science with which we're not familiar, then it makes sense to say that the Valyrians might have been technologically advanced. However, since magic in this series seems to mean "magic," I tend to doubt that. There is no doubt though that they used what they had to the best of their ability and created things no one else had done before, or has done since. It's a shame any and all of their records were destroyed in the Doom.

Westeros actually has fairly advanced medical knowledge. And GRRM invented a sea snail that the Tyroshi cultivate which allows much brighter and more brilliant dying. Worlderos does fall behind on everything else though. 

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