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On 6/24/2018 at 9:55 PM, Lord Thunder said:

What are the units of time used in the books? Are they same as the real world like minutes, hours and seconds?

Yes. GRRM has said he didn't have the patience to work out completely different units of time and measurement, so they're all the same as ours. The only thing that's somewhat different is he settled on a firm conversation of 1 league = 3 miles, which  was not always historically the case (it's the same conversion Tolkien uses, which is why I suspect he went for it).

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There are no weeks in ASOIAF, or days of the week, I have noticed.

There are fortnights, but I've not seen any mention of a week. Which is surprising, since a week has seven days, and the south has seven gods. They could call Sunday or Monday Father's Day, and Wednesday or Thursday Maiden's Day, but for reason they don't. Beats me.

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Posted (edited)

It's odd that a year is even a thing, with the way the seasons work. You can still have months, based on the phases of the moon, but why do they even care about "years"? Sure, the Maesters at least could use the stars to keep track of how many revolutions around the sun are happening, but there's no reason for anyone else to care about it, and instead they'd just use months for ages, maybe counting them by the score for brevity, so instead of a man being "six and twenty" he'd be "fifteen score and twelve".

Edited by Damon_Tor

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Because the seasons used to be normal and were unbalanced by "some preternatural event" (almost certainly the Long Night), so it's a hold-over from then combined with the maesters keeping track of the planet's orbit.

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On 7/1/2018 at 1:43 AM, Damon_Tor said:

It's odd that a year is even a thing, with the way the seasons work. You can still have months, based on the phases of the moon, but why do they even care about "years"? Sure, the Maesters at least could use the stars to keep track of how many revolutions around the sun are happening, but there's no reason for anyone else to care about it, and instead they'd just use months for ages, maybe counting them by the score for brevity, so instead of a man being "six and twenty" he'd be "fifteen score and twelve".

 

Because humans care about tracking time.  Tracking the movement of the stars was one of the earliest ways to do so.  We used to build megolithic monuments just to help keep track of them.  As long as Planetos still has a year cycle, even if its unrelated to seasons, it makes a great deal of sense to track time via an easily measureable unit like a solar rotation.

 

Since the seasons don't seem to correlate to the years, the maesters would never make the conclusion that they should, so seasons wouldn't be related to time measurement.  Especially since their lenghts are vague and unreliable.

 

Has GRRM ever come out and said why the seasons are the way they are? 

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30 minutes ago, argonak said:

Has GRRM ever come out and said why the seasons are the way they are? 

Magic.

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6 hours ago, argonak said:

Because humans care about tracking time.  Tracking the movement of the stars was one of the earliest ways to do so.  We used to build megolithic monuments just to help keep track of them.

But they only learned to care about the stars because they could use the stars to track the seasons. Tracking the moon's phases is simply much more accessible. If something is going to be Incorporated into day to day life its got to have some kind of impact on day to day life.

What's more, because days get shorter in winter and things like glass gardens being south-facing, we know the planet itself is tilting to cause the seasons, we just don't know the mechanisms by which this happens. This means the stars wouldn't even move predictably throughout the year, there positions would be relative to both the axial tilt and the position in the orbit, meaning depending on what season it is during a given year a given star will appear at a different time. It would be impossible to build a structure like Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids to align with the stars because the alignment would always be different.

The only reasonable answer is that "year" is nothing more than a word meaning "12 months" much like our week is simple "seven days" but then we'd need an explanation for why they picked twelve instead of a number of more cultural significance to them, like 7, or as suggested earlier in the thread, a score (14)

That leads to its own problems. Our year isn't "12 months" because we stretched out our months to fit 12 to a year for basically no good reason. Each year actually contains 13 "months" with a day left over so we're left with the problem of why they stick to a 365 day year despite there being no reason for them to do so.

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On 8/9/2018 at 4:08 PM, Damon_Tor said:

But they only learned to care about the stars because they could use the stars to track the seasons. Tracking the moon's phases is simply much more accessible. If something is going to be Incorporated into day to day life its got to have some kind of impact on day to day life.

What's more, because days get shorter in winter and things like glass gardens being south-facing, we know the planet itself is tilting to cause the seasons, we just don't know the mechanisms by which this happens. This means the stars wouldn't even move predictably throughout the year, there positions would be relative to both the axial tilt and the position in the orbit, meaning depending on what season it is during a given year a given star will appear at a different time. It would be impossible to build a structure like Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids to align with the stars because the alignment would always be different.

The only reasonable answer is that "year" is nothing more than a word meaning "12 months" much like our week is simple "seven days" but then we'd need an explanation for why they picked twelve instead of a number of more cultural significance to them, like 7, or as suggested earlier in the thread, a score (14)

That leads to its own problems. Our year isn't "12 months" because we stretched out our months to fit 12 to a year for basically no good reason. Each year actually contains 13 "months" with a day left over so we're left with the problem of why they stick to a 365 day year despite there being no reason for them to do so.

Ok that's a great point about day length changing during winter, I didn't remember that.  That would imply that Westeros is indeed wobbling about on its axis, rather than having a set angle within its orbit like we do.  And now that I think about it, star tracking doesn't help with the solar cycle at all, so I was completly off base.  They'd need to be tracking solar movement during the orbit to do that.  So if Westeros has a constantly changing at an irregular rate axial tilt, then there's no way to do that.

I'm convinced you're correct.  This has huge implications for navigation as well.  Westerosi should have a terrible time navigating by the stars, because polar north is contantly fluctuating at irregular intervals..

 

The Lunar Cycle shouldn't be signficantly impacted however, so that would be the logical place to put time tracking like you're saying.  But the moon is never going to be consistently located.

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2 hours ago, argonak said:

And now that I think about it, star tracking doesn't help with the solar cycle at all, so I was completly off base.

No it does, and you weren't wrong: that's the whole reason we have a zodiac, because different stars show up in different times of the year, because in December our night sky is pointed towards galactic north and in June its pointed towards galactic south, so we see different stars depending on the time of the year. This would still be partially functional on a world like "Planetos": on the first day of their "year" they'd see more-or-less the same constellations they always do on day 1 and on the 180th day they'd see more-or-less the same constellations they see on day 180. The uncertainty would come from the "wobble" in the tilt: just like they see slightly different stars in Egypt as they see in Norway, Longitude matters, and their longitude relative to the stars is entirely unpredictable. And these differences would mean that the appearance of a certain star might occur on day 5 on one year but on day 25 in another because the tilt of the planet has changed. It would still probably appear, unless the star was very far to the north or south, or if the change in the tilt is particularly extreme like it must have been during the Long Night, but its appearance would lose any value in determining the passage of time precisely.

Quote

I'm convinced you're correct.  This has huge implications for navigation as well.  Westerosi should have a terrible time navigating by the stars, because polar north is contantly fluctuating at irregular intervals.

Very true. Maybe that's a part of the reason the journey beyond the sunset sea is one of no-return unless you're riding the skins of dolphins or whatever nonsense it is the Farwynds are doing out there. I wonder if a magnetic compass would work on Planetos: there's no reason to assume it wouldn't. It would be somewhat amusing if the "magical" navigation ability attributed to Euron Greyjoy is simply a compass.

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 10:18 PM, Damon_Tor said:

It would be somewhat amusing if the "magical" navigation ability attributed to Euron Greyjoy is simply a compass.

Reading this thread with interest and had a thought. Complete speculation, but perhaps his magical navigation ability comes from Euron actually knowing the secret of what the hell's going on with Planetos's relationship with the stars? As in, due to whatever mystical training he's had, he knows about the Long Night, knows why the seasons are messed up, and therefore what's going on with the axis/orbit etc.

Just a thought.

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