Artwork by Zontal

Artwork by Zontal

Over There, have a post about complaints about The Whiteness of Westeros. If Hollywood diversity, or Game of Thrones, is your thing, feel free to check it out. You can comment about it here if you prefer. Over here I wanted to talk about something I glide over in that post.

Ross Douthat has a mini-tweetstorm about some of the less “realistic” aspects of Game of Thrones. The whole thing is below, but this is the one that sets the stage for most of what is to follow:


Ultimately, you just have to ignore the scale. Everything he says about the amazing homogeneity for a place of that scale is true. But that’s only the beginning of the problems that it presents.

Though he goes on to talk about the remarkable political stability of the dynasties on Westeros, that’s only a part of the dynastic problem. The bigger problem is that there is simply no way for one royal family to maintain control over a land more than twice as large as the US (including Alaska) without an army of dragons. As soon as the dragons died off, everything would have crumbled. Since the Targaryens didn’t intermarry much, they wouldn’t have even been able to count on that sort of loyalty. The Barratheons might have had a little more success, but most likely as soon as the Targaryens were gone they’d be looking at a formal confederacy (where the king is trying to stay in the good graces of the regions rather than the other way around) or perpetual war as they tried to hold on to multiple would-be kingdoms breaking off at once.

Many other aspects of the story also wouldn’t have worked, with trips taking days or weeks in Westeros that would have taken years across South America. There are so many things about the story that work with something roughly the size of Great Britain that don’t work with something the size of South America that by far the path of least resistence is to assume that the there was an error in translation.

The size serves next to no purpose story-wise other than feeding into Martin’s sense of gradiosity. The figure itself was derived by calculating the size of The Wall. It’s easier to simply imagine that the size of the wall was a miscalculation.

And here’s Ross’s tweetstorm:


Category: Theater

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