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Vaolor

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  1. So we already know Asoiaf is fantasy and despite many people's claims that it is "realistic" George R.R. Martin has said he is not a historian and it clearly shows as such in his writing especially his depiction of feudalism, and the way societies of Essos operate(Remember Yunkai's circus of slave soldiers and their commanders?) and so much more. One of the things that really stuck out to me was the destruction of the Riverlands and how unbelievably unrealistic it was. So, throughout the books the way the war in the Riverlands is described it's as if every village has been plundered, every town razed, every man killed and woman raped and then killed but the thing is that the Riverlands are fucking massive and encompass a land area greater than France or Germany. My main gripe is that the Riverlands are devastated so quickly. To put into perspective how unrealistic it is, imagine the 30 years war in the HRE and how millions of people died with some regions suffering a drop of 50% in population and having similar destruction and death happen in a greater area condensed in only months or at most a year. The 30 years war was so devastating due to extreme famine and disease outbreaks over the course of three decades of brutal war that would see many villages razed which would only exacerbate famine due to less food production and less men working fields due to them being used as soldiers and due to widespread malnutrition outbreaks of disease were also much deadlier. The Westerlands somehow achieve this devastation with a measly 20-35,000 men in an area larger than France which would have millions of people living there and somehow with that amount of men they can devastate so much in only months or at most a year during the War of Five Kings. If such devastation happened in a smaller subregion of the Riverlands or over the course of a decade or two then it would be believable but so many of the POV characters show that this much destruction has encompassed the entirety of the Riverlands is so unrealistic to me. What else in the books is as unrealistic as this?(Disregarding obviously supernatural things)
  2. Another thing that should be noted is that the Old Tongue itself would also change from its origin when it appeared in Westeros. If anyone has heard of Proto-Indo-European(PIE) it would be a lot like that. PIE is a reconstructed language from looking at the languages of europe and northern india and languages in between and they all have commonalities showing that all descend from a single common language that existed before writing. This would mean that the Old Tongue would not have been an unchanging monolith but would have also diverged when groups who spoke it would go and settle different areas and their language would diverge. The Old Tongue would realistically have diverged so much that the First Men would have spoken languages as different from each other as the modern languages which all descend from PIE such as French, German, Albanian, Russian, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, English, Serbian, Spanish, Sanskrit, Farsi, Hindi, Greek, and Kurdish. To put that into perspective if the Old Tongue was still spoken as it was when the First Men arrived at Westeros it would be like if today everyone in Europe, from the mediterranean all the way up to the north sea and as far east as India still spoke a single language that hadn't changed in thousands of years.
  3. That's not comparable though. The reason English is so widespread is because of modern mass media and standard education along with mass communication all of which serves to homogenize a language. Westeros has none of this though. In the actual medieval period there was an extreme amount of linguistic diversity, so much so that a person from southern France could hardly communicate with another person in the north of France. The reason for this is because most people would live their entire lives in a 20 mile area and only ever communicate with nearby villages during harvest festivals or trading. This would result in a dialect continuum where the further you went away from some place the less and less intelligible dialects would be. Even medieval England had more language diversity than Westeros and England was 20-30x smaller. The dialects in midlands and northern England were heavily influenced by Norse settlers while southern England didn't have much Norse influence. This goes without saying that Scotland spoke a completely different language which wasn't even Germanic same as Wales, and Cornwall which all spoke Celtic languages and even then these languages weren't entirely intelligible with each other and had dialects of their own. EDIT: A more apt comparison could be the spread of Latin during the Roman Empire but even then Latin was not so homogenous a language that everyone in the Roman Empire spoke it. Latin even diverged with time such that Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian are all descended from Latin which would have realistically happened to the "common tongue" if it was brought to Westeros by the Andals 4 or 2 thousand years ago and North shouldn't even speak the "common tongue" because they were never even conquered like the First Men of the south.
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