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The Knight of Flours

So how do days, weeks, months, work in Westeros

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Apart from mentions of 'name-days' and 'years of Aegon landing' there seems to be very little mention of days of the week and months in ASOIAF.

How do you think it works? Does somebody have a name-day on (the equivalent of) May 21 and the celebration is dependent on whether they're in the middle of a long summer or a cold winter?

I can't even remember if the term 'month' is even used in any of the novels.

Anyone have opinions on how the Westerosi calendar might work?

PS - tried to search to see if there was similar topic, but it's kaput as usual.

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They seem to keep a "standard year" unrelated to the seasons. I would like some more info on this as well.

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they operate by a lunar system i think because there always refer to it as a moons turn. so yeah roughly like our calender what suprises me is that theres no major event days like christmas or easter

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they operate by a lunar system i think because there always refer to it as a moons turn. so yeah roughly like our calender what suprises me is that theres no major event days like christmas or easter

Sucessfull harvest?

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Sucessfull harvest?

Both Christmas and Easter originate from season-related pagan festivities (celebrating the Winter solstice, when days start getting longer again, and celebrating Spring.) It makes sense that you wouldn't have those if there are no seasons.

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Both Christmas and Easter originate from season-related pagan festivities (celebrating the Winter solstice, when days start getting longer again, and celebrating Spring.) It makes sense that you wouldn't have those if there are no seasons.

Makes sense, but didn't the books mention a celebration in Winterfell because of the harvest was done, that might be a thing. They probably have something to celebrate the end of a long winter.

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they operate by a lunar system i think because there always refer to it as a moons turn. so yeah roughly like our calender what suprises me is that theres no major event days like christmas or easter

They seem to use the days and moon turns, an example is given in the preview "The Princess and the Queen", where it is stated that King Viserys I died on the third day of the third moon. So that is how they count in Westeros, I believe. They use the moon turns as we use months, and simply count the days until another moons turn comes around.

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I'd like to know more about that as well. We know that time in measured in moon's turn but we don't know how many days it takes for the moon to turn completley or how many monn's turns there are in a year. After all, a different length of years might be a good explanation for the youth of many characters (maybe 14-year-old Robb and Jon are, IDK, 17-18 by Earth standard, that sounds a bit more reasonable)

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I agree with Rhaenys Targaryen here. They likely count by moons. So Joffrey's nameday would be, let's say, the ninth day of the eleventh moon.

Even with the weird seasons, keeping track of the moons is useful for farming, controling the tides, menstrual cycles, etc.

Franz95,

George has said multpile times that a year in Westeros is exactly as long as our year. You can be assured that a turn of the moon is the same too.

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I always thought this was one part where the world building wasn't up to par on GRRM's side. It simply does not make sense for people to use year's as the main unit of time passage when there is no natural cycle to go along with it. I could only understand this if either a) there had been regular one-year seasons at one point in history, and the term and usage of year dates back to that, or B) the season's cycle takes one year on average or c) there is a weak one-year seasonal cycle with small changes in temperature that is superimposed on the irregular and larger changes of the longer westeros "seasons"

B) seems unlikely given what we know from the novels. There is no evidence at all for c)

I think in a world where the seasons are random, people would keep referring to moon turns (the longest repetitive cycle) as the longest unit of time. They might bunch them together to dozens to describe longer intervals, and that would be quite close to a year, but there is no reason to have the "year" be 365 days and not 12 lunar cycles which would be 354. I also don't see why people would celebrate name-days if there was no natural cycle to go along with it...

However, I do understand that the book would have become incredibly clumsy if GRRM had followed through with this and omitted the word year altogether, so I fully agree with his decision to turn a blind eye on that corner of the world building process. Imagine sentences like "Robb was only 15 dozen moons old when the war started" or "in the 3600th moon after Aegon's Landing King Joffrey wedded Margery of house Tyrell"....

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I always thought this was one part where the world building wasn't up to par on GRRM's side. It simply does not make sense for people to use year's as the main unit of time passage when there is no natural cycle to go along with it.

I don't agree. Even without the passing of seasons, the yearly cycle around the sun would be easily noticeable by everyone in Westeros.

In the real world, the civilizations that appeared in the equatioral zone and thus had no noticeable seasons (such as the Incan Empire) had calendars that used years as a unit.

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I don't agree. Even without the passing of seasons, the yearly cycle around the sun would be easily noticeable by everyone in Westeros.

In the real world, the civilizations that appeared in the equatioral zone and thus had no noticeable seasons (such as the Incan Empire) had calendars that used years as a unit.

good point!

so, that means Westeros would be more on the c) side of my previous post, where there are very weak seasons that are kind of swallowed by an irregular, larger temperature difference cycle. I agree that in that case years make prefect sense.

Is there any evidence for Westeros being like that? I think I always just assumed that the orbit of Planetos around its sun was also irregular. I think I came to that by the mention that the day's length is short during winter, and the worst one was "the long night" where the sun didn't rise at all. That sounds a lot like sun's movement and seasons still being tied, but both being very much irregular in their cycle. In such a scenario, I don't see how people can tell the passing of a "year" (=365 days)

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No evidence at all. GRRM probably hasn't given any thought making up an astronomical explanation to the weird seasons.

There was once a thread in the old forums where some experts on the matter concluded that there was not real viable explanation besides "it's magic". I didn't understand half of it, and the other half I won't be able to recall correctly, but apparently the fact that there are fixed stars with a constellation always marking the North invalidated most of the more imaginative theories such as irregular orbits or tilted axis.

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IIRC GRRM has flat out said that the seasons are explained with a "fantasy reason" i.e. magic, rather than an "SF reason" like irregular orbit, variable star etc.

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I heard about the "it's magic" explanation.

With "irregular orbit" I did not mean some fancy shaped path around the sun, but a regular one with irregular velocity. I thought basically the orbit and axis tilt and everything work quite like here on Earth, so that you have the Ice Dragon's tail pointing north, longer days in winter etc. etc., but planetos basically gives the big old stinky finger to Kepler's laws of how fast it should move around the sun. Sometimes it slows down a lot, so seasons take "years", sometimes stuff is normal. (another, but very similar explanation would be the direction of the tilt axis of the planet changing irregularly over time, like precession, same effect) disproven by "north star"

In such a scenario, I don't see how people will find out the length of a regular year, because that's what keeps changing all the time. That's why I reasoned people would stick to moons.

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I heard about the "it's magic" explanation.

With "irregular orbit" I did not mean some fancy shaped path around the sun, but a regular one with irregular velocity. I thought basically the orbit and axis tilt and everything work quite like here on Earth, so that you have the Ice Dragon's tail pointing north, longer days in winter etc. etc., but planetos basically gives the big old stinky finger to Kepler's laws of how fast it should move around the sun. Sometimes it slows down a lot, so seasons take "years", sometimes stuff is normal. (another, but very similar explanation would be the direction of the tilt axis of the planet changing irregularly over time, like precession, same effect) disproven by "north star"

In such a scenario, I don't see how people will find out the length of a regular year, because that's what keeps changing all the time. That's why I reasoned people would stick to moons.

If the planet speeds up a slows down in a irregular fashion durins its course of orbit with its star, it may as well be magic (whats causing it to speed up and slow down?). Gravity from some nearby object could pull the planet out of its orbit, but then something would have to pull it back in ... the orbit would be wildly unstable ... it wouldn't be "Winter" and "Summer", but more like "Venus" and "Mars" - I don't see an iron age civilization being able to deal with a sitatuion like that.

The only natural explanation I can think for variations in seasons that don't correlate with orbit, is some period variation in the planetary albedo (i.e., an increase cloud and/or snow cover can cool a planet down), or possibilty a reduction in greenhouse gases somehow.

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Maybe the star that Planetos orbits changes its output sporadically? IIRC earth's seasons are caused by its tilt relative to the sun. Winter happens in a particular area when less radiation reaches the surface due to more radiation bouncing off the earth's atmosphere. You could get a similar effect if the sun simply put out less energy for years at a time. This would yield global simultaneous winters instead of earth's hemispherically opposite seasons.

I think you'd also have to say that Planetos is not tilted like earth is in order to avoid our regular annual seasons. We are still left to explain the variation in the sun's energy but at least we have more factors and potential causes to play with than just orbital motion.

Surely this has been discussed before and I assume debunked ...? Any thoughts?

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The two explanations above (change in albedo or change in solar output) would not explain that the days are shorter in winter even in Westeros.

This has indeed been discussed before, and we shouldn't derail the thread, although I do think this is quite on topic here.

I think it's fun to go over the facts again.

What we know:

) days, i.e. the amount of sunshine per rotation of the planet, are shorter in winter, longer in summer.

) there is an equivalent to our north star, and it seems to have been around for a while

from those two points, we can exclude several options for the cause of the irregular season. albedo or solar output fail to explain the first point. A change in the direction of the planet's tilt axis fail to explain the second point.

for me, the next logical explanation is that the planet does indeed go around its sun in a regular orbit (path), but with irregular speeds, so that it sometimes lingers a very long time in the corner that is winter (for the northern hemisphere). It would actually also suggest that long summers are followed by long winters if the velocity change is somewhat gradual and not totally abrupt.

I for myself am happy to turn the logic switch off at this point and accept "magic" as the reason for the irregular speeds (i.e. a total lack of respect for Kepler and his second law). I can't think of a physically sound reason for the irregular orbital velocities.

To get back to my original thought, I doubt that people would arrive at a time measure called "year" if there wasn't any single stable repetitive process with that period.

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There is no scientific explanation for the variation in the seasons. At least, GRRM never had one in mind when he came up with the idea and hasn't tried to look for one subsequently. If a reader comes up with one that works for them, great: but in canon, it's magic and that's all there is to it.

People in equatorial climes see relatively little variation in the seasons, by the way, but still have the concept of years and months: this idea that the only possible origin of the concept of 'years' comes from observation of the seasonal cycle is slightly questionable. If you can see the sun, the stars and the moon, that's all you need. In practise, I think it's more or less a sure thing that the 'long seasons' of Westeros contain some variation - 'mini-seasons', if you will.

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Erratic orbital velocity makes no sense and contradicts GRRM's statements about years being equivalent to earth years. I'd rather just call it magic. Though calling it magic implies that some agency caused to it happen.

Actually I'd rather just accept it as part of the framing of the story without need of explanation, like we do many of other inexplicable things such as how a large number of creatures exactly similar to those on earth came to live on a non-earth planet.

Anyone know the textual refs for shorter days in winter?

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