Why does Westeros have such long winters, and why is their length and severity impossible to predict? The answer, of course, is magic. But that’s not good enough for some people, including the folks who make and maintain Universe Sandbox 2. Working from a dubious scientific article that tried, and failed, to model the orbital configuration of the planet in Game of Thrones, they think they’ve found a model that sorta works. OK, I’ll bite.
So the problem that both the original article and Universe Sandbox developer Giant Army run into is that there is no model that can generate the completely unpredictable nature of summer and winter in Westeros.
“We could, however, create a system that has variable winter and summer intensities on regular predictable intervals with a large northern polar ice region,” the write. “Though our results didn’t exactly match those in the paper, we managed to recreate similar seasonal patterns to what the authors describe in their paper.”
While I have my doubts that records in Westeros are particularly great, given the kind of political upheaval that is routine there, it does seem like the people who live there would have figured out their season intervals by now if there were any kind of pattern. The fact that you can have summers that last for ten years and winters that go on for longer, but nobody knows when they will happen? Whatever is going on, it’s not something to do with planetary orbits.
Still, it’s a clever attempt to inject some kind of scientific grounding to a very well-imagined fantasy world. The fact that White Walkers show up in the first chapter of the first book, however, probably should have served to dissuade anyone from looking to the stars for an answer about why Westeros is lousy place to build a civilization and has weather that could termed “scary”.
I swear, if any bored med students try to publish an article about Beric Dondarrion and a theory about what R’hllor really is, I’m going to lose it.