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About DominusNovus

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  1. Not recently, but I am aware of that general model. Also relevant is if Antarctica were connected by a land bridge to South America (or almost), then its currents would be forced into warmer waters, warming the Antarctic. Which is basically what Westeros is - a continent that spans the North Pole down to, at least, the tropics. Less of an issue for the Others before the Arm broke.
  2. It isn't so much about the ocean themselves, but the climate of the land that ocean borders. With the Shivering Sea colder prior to the breaking of the arm (which it pretty straight forward: mix cold water and warmer water, you get water in between the two temperatures), the lands bordering the Shivering Sea (the eastern side of Westeros and the north and west parts of Essos) would be colder as well. If Westeros is colder, that is more suitable to the Others.
  3. My theory is that these were actually attempts at engineering the climate. Notice that the breaking of the Arm of Dorne and the attempted breaking of the Neck (man, that sounds dark when I say it like that) don't just isolate land, they also connect oceans. When the Shivering Sea was isolated by Dorne being a contiguous land bridge, it would certainly have been much colder. Allowing the warm waters of the Summer Sea to mix with the cold waters of the Shivering Sea would warm the latter up considerably (thats basically what powers ocean currents in real life). If the Sunset Sea was added, as well, it could have sped things up even more. It would have had the unfortunate effect of also cooling the Summer Sea - which is likely why so much of Essos is dry but has evidence of having been warmer in ancient times.
  4. Cattle are explicitly referenced - check out the link in my opening post. Not only do the Westerosi have cattle, they even managed to keep Auroch around. Thats probably a function of population density more than anything else, though.
  5. That is a pretty broad description that could be applied to agriculture anywhere from ancient Sumeria to early 19th century America. Given that the North, at minimum, explicitly experiences famine whenever winter gets bad enough, it is clear that there is not enough produced to meet the demand. Further, I don’t think there has ever been a society in history that has ever ‘just produced enough to meet demand,’ because nobody ever knows how much that will be. Even with our non magical seasons, we still have enough variation that there were famines in even the most prosperous societies. Farmers produce as much as they possibly can - especially of those crops that they can reliably store.
  6. Slash and burn may be effective, but my gut says that the erratic seasons would diminish its effectiveness. Not because I think the winters would make the technique itself less effective, but because I think they may make it redundant - the long winters in the North give the land so much time to recover that such techniques might not be necessary. That said, I could definitely see it being used after particularly rough winters, just as a way to clear out abandoned land that would almost certainly be reverting back to nature quickly. There's probably plenty of that every time the North has a rough winter and there aren't enough people left to cultivate all the land - the best land is maintained, but more marginal land gets abandoned until the population recovers. By then, the weeds and brush have probably beat them to it, so a quick burn would be the most obvious solution. But it doesn't strike me as a regular way of doing things. And since we're on the topic anyway, I'm a bigger fan of slash-and-char, for any group that can manage it. A bit more work, but if you can do it right, you get some fantastic soil.
  7. Possibly. Presumably, the long winters necessitate leaving the land fallow in much of the continent for a variable amount of time but almost certainly always longer than the 3 months or so of temperate climates on Earth. This might enable farmers to be comparatively intensive during those years that the climate is warm enough, knowing that the land will recover somewhat when the snow is preventing them from doing anything with the land. Winter is pretty good at regenerating the soil in certain ways - all that snow insulates the soil and its microbes and invertebrates, and, of course, its just water.
  8. Just a general grab bag discussion of agriculture of all sorts in Westeros. Techniques, crops, livestock, everything. How they cope with the unnatural and erratic seasons (besides just storing as much grain as possible). As a primer: https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Plants https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Bestiary Something I've noticed between the wiki and search is that there is no mention of clover anywhere. This could imply that the farmers of Westeros only use a 3 field crop rotation (as would be expected for a feudal society). Presumably, most land is cultivated under the manorial system, which makes more sophisticated crop rotation difficult. What other information do we have about farming in Westeros? What other suppositions can we make with some degree of confidence?
  9. That sounds like a reasonable number to throw out there, but I'd adjust your latter year a bit further out. Winter's just started, and despite how screwed everyone seems to be, it will take awhile for that to set in. Of course, if we look too far out, then you have the Others causing further... demographic fluctuations. Well, depending on what you count wights as.
  10. The urbanization rates are totally screwy, I agree. Westeros is very unurbanized (possibly implausibly so). That said, I do think that the US is a fair comparison, even though it is an industrial society by 1870, because so much of that land was utterly untouched. There is no Alaska in Westeros, not even the North. Heck, in 1870, most of the West was barely settled (not to dismiss the American Indians, but their numbers were quite low). Do we have anywhere in Westeros that is regarded as barren? Pretty much Dorne, and thats it. I think that the US could support that same population at a lower technology level. After all, Europe, combined is only slightly larger than the US (10.1 million km^2), and in the middle ages, it tended to have a comparable population to Westeros. If you'll permit me using wikipedia (I know, I know, but all the other sources are in the same ballpark): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_demography We see the population ranged from 56 million to 90 million between 1000 and 1500, per that source. Others vary, but not by a large degree. I would say that that has more of an impact on the urbanization rate. The population is far more diffuse than would otherwise be likely. Which means that the population is more protected from the harsh winters - it is easier to feed a small village than a great city. Its also quite possible that the population is far more volatile than our world. Actually, not just possible, almost certain. Winter probably kills off more, but summer allows for more bounty and more growth, and the simple fact that while the population is more likely to be trimmed during hard winters, the infrastructure isn't, not to mention that in the areas with the hardest winters, its the oldest that tend to die first ('gone hunting' and all that). I expect every spring and and early summer to be something of a mini-baby boom. Also likely is that the population will see something of a material improvement come each spring, as property gets freed up - think something like the Black Death in Europe (which Europe recovered from in a century). My guess is that Westeros' population graph would zigzag quite a bit, but if you average it out over each seasonal cycle, you'd probably get a value not too far off from that common estimate of 40 million.
  11. I know there has been plenty of discussion about whether or not the demographics of Westeros (south of the Wall) make sense. Generally, opinions seem to be less than positive on that account. However, I was looking at some of the numbers, and I think they're not as bad as is sometimes argued. First, I started with the size of Westeros, and found this analysis fairly convincing: https://www.quora.com/How-large-are-the-seven-kingdoms-of-Westeros https://www.quora.com/How-big-is-Westeros-compared-to-our-world/answer/Sunil-Kumar-Gopal Which puts Westeros in at just about 9.3 million km^2, just a tad smaller than the United States. As for population, the most common consensus seems to be around 40 million, with a fairly wide margin of error. Interestingly enough, the US population in 1870, the first census after the Alaksa purchase (meaning the first census after the US reached something similar to its present total area) has the US population at 38.9 million, of whom, the overwhelming majority (38.2 million) lived in states, rather than territories. So, overall, the US of 1870 was about as densely populated as the Seven Kingdoms when the books start. Now, obviously, the US was much more urbanized and technologically advanced. That said, it also included Alaska, which was (and is) far less densely populated, and really skews the US's numbers. And the majority population had settled there only in recent years. I think its reasonable for a Westeros that had been inhabited, more or less, by the same basic population (First Men, Andals, and Rhoynar, all coexisting mostly in similar political arrangements) for millennia, to have a stable population that is in the same range.
  12. Plus I think Cat's judgement that Littlefinger must have moved on since then is sound, since there's no reason to assume he's a sociopath that is nursing grudges and crushes from 2 decades prior. Lets see.. I can't even remember the people I had grudges against back then, and only remember maybe one crush from that time, and I'm just a little older than he is in the books.
  13. Not necessarily shortly after, wasn’t it after Baelor’s reign that the Sept of Baelor was built and the High Septon relocated to KL? Thats pretty much halfway through the Targ dynasty’s rule of the 7K.
  14. I think this discussion really serves to demonstrate just how alien Westerosi and pre-industrial values are to us, even if they are entirely valid in their context. Yes, Ned and Cat likely could have done a better job with their children, but they likely did not expect to have to prepre their children for life in KL. I always had the impression they expected their children to marry into northern (maybe riverlander) families, and did their best to prepare their children for that: dealing with social inferiors that depended on their favor, rather than equals and superiors that would take advantage of them. Imagine if Sansa had been betrothed to a Manderly or Karstark (hell, even Domeric Bolton) and imagine how her upbringing - incomplete as it was - would have served her in White Harbor or Karhold. I would imagine she would have handled that perfectly.
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