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Forums: Index > Watercooler > GoTWiki Small Council meeting 1: Timeline and Current Date

Other wikis have Administrator-only policy discussion threads, so I'm making one here. It's impossible to "sticky" them to the top of the forum, but activity isn't very high so we should be able to keep track of them.

An issue came up which I feel is important enough that the Admins should gather to decide what to do.

So just as Wookiepedia has its Senate, this will be a "GoTWiki Small Council" post, aka the Administrators' Council.

Timeline and Current Date

I've written about this extensively on the Timeline article:

A change in adaptation which came up since the very beginning is that two years were added to the TV continuity's timeline, between Robert's Rebellion and the start of the narrative with the death of Jon Arryn. Instead of a 15 year gap, it's a 17 year gap.

This was done due to UK television censorship concerns specifically regarding Daenerys's sex scene in the first episode. Daenerys was born immediately after the end of the rebellion, and her father died at the end of the rebellion, so her birth was intertwined with the timeline: she had to have been born only a few months after the war ended. Well in the books she was thirteen in the first novel, but the TV show apparently changed this to being not only "15" but "15 going on 16" if not outright "turned 16 just recently". Actually three years instead of two.

Another point is that characters ages might be off for any one given statement in dialogue, but they have leeway of one year in either direction, because they might be off by only a matter of months (i.e. maybe it's just not Sansa's nameday yet, she's possibly "14 and 10 months", at certain points.

At any rate, adding two years to the narrative created a bit of a problem: we have no idea what the current date is within the TV continuity.

In the books, Robert's Rebellion lasted about two years, from 281 AL to 283 AL.

There are basically two options:

  1. Robert's Rebellion happened two years later, from 283 to 285 AL.
  2. Robert's Rebellion began two years earlier, from 279 to 281 AL.

The practical results of this problem, as some of you have seen already, are that we haven't been able to apply dates to character births and deaths, as A Wiki of Ice and Fire does. We have to fumble around with "Robb Stark is 16 years old in Season 1" without just giving a date (Robb was conceived at the beginning of the war).

Efforts to flag down Bryan Cogman to ask about this have been in vain.

New developments

Jorah's Pardon

Jorah's pardon

Now for the first time, I've been able to find an image of one of the prop-letters used in the TV series, that actually has a current date written on it.

The genealogy book in Season 1 included dates but they were only listed for things from the reign of Daeron II, circa 190 AL.

However, the blog just posted an image of Jorah Mormont's letter of pardon, explicitly signed during Season 1 ("the year I met you"), and it clearly says "298 AL".

This is the first time any date has been mentioned with certainty post-Robert's Rebellion. Anything else we had was just relative ages.

Therefore it seems that - assuming that the TV producers actually gave as much thought to this as we do - they went with Option 2: that Robert's Rebellion happened 2 years earlier.

Dating the TV series

In the books, everything between the start during the feast at Winterfell, and Joffrey's death at the Purple Wedding, lasts only two years. The Lannisters specifically held Joffrey's royal wedding on the first day of the new year, 300 AL, to "usher in a new glorious Lannister century" etc.

Yet while two years pass between the start of book 1 and more or less middle of book 3, the TV series has added more time.

First, they aged everyone up by, on average, two years (with some exceptions such as making Joffrey four years older, other Lannister age tweaks, etc.; separate issue).

Second, from what we've seen, they're following the rule that "one TV season equals one year of story time", probably due to the fact that the child actors age at a normal rate. Renly mentions in Season 2 that it has now been "18 years" since Robert's Rebellion, and in Season 3 Talisa explicitly states (right before the Red Wedding) that the war has lasted for 2 years now.

Third, splitting the third novel into two halves between Season 3 and Season 4, by the logic of one season = one year, added an extra year.

Putting all of this together, we get the following:

  • Both the first novel and first TV season occur in the year 298 AL.
  • Robert's Rebellion occurred two years earlier in the TV series, from 279-281 AL instead of 281-283 AL as in the books.
  • Time is moving slightly more slowly in the TV series, and one year needs to be added for each season after Season 1. Season 2 thus occurred in "299 AL", Season 3 in "300 AL", and Season 4 in "301 AL".
    • This means that Joffrey died in 301 AL instead of 300 AL. Though we'll always be off by a few months. He says it's been several weeks, at most, since the Red Wedding (late Season 3) until the Purple Wedding (early) Season 4. There are concerns about this but it's easier to follow the rule of "take current Season number" (four), "subtract one" (4-1=3), and this is how many years have passed since Season 1 (year 298), and adding 3 to 298 gives us 301.

There are a few other events that got moved around in the timeline a bit, many involving Lannister ages, and also that, generally, even *mentioning* that a 13 year old had sex is apparently avoided on the show, so Tyrion was changed from being 13 at the Tysha incident to 16. Also they aged-up many of the “adult” characters, though this usually doesn’t matter much (people who were in their mid-30’s are now in their mid-40’s, because life expectancy was shorter in medieval times but modern audiences would think this unusual). Thus book-Tywin is about 58 years old at Joffrey’s wedding but TV-Tywin is stated in dialogue to be 67 in Season 4.

Meanwhile, the Greyjoy Rebellion in both books and TV series was “nine years” before the start of the narrative, to keep Theon’s age consistent. But that’s relative to Robert’s Rebellion, not a fixed point. So because the “start” of the narrative is still in 298 AL, the Greyjoy Rebellion in both the books and TV series still occurred in 289 AL. There might be some other minor changes which affect recent history which we will need to watch out for. A separate but related issue is the removal of King Jaehaerys II; the War of the Ninepenny Kings was fought during his brief three year reign (the Blackfyres were trying their luck after Aegon V died); but because he was removed in the TV series, we can’t tell if it was at the end of Aegon V’s reign or the early years of Aerys II’s reign. Many of the older, grandfather-aged characters took part in the war; Brynden Tully, Barristan Selmy, and as it turns out, even the young Tywin Lannister (Tywin was like Robb Stark’s age at the time, it’s where he first got blooded as a warrior; then he came home and won the Reyne Rebellion).

Policy decision

Adopting an official dating system is a MAJOR decision, which I felt merited convening an Administrators meeting to formalize it.

It is entirely possible that the writing in books and letters, created by the art department (Jim Stanes) actually isn’t reviewed by the writers themselves – and that the writers, in four seasons, have simply never revised a basic timeline to take into account the extra two years they added to Robert Baratheon’s reign. This would be annoying. Frankly I suspect that the names that Stanes makes up in books (minor Umbers, for example) will turn out to be non-canon. Or that the writers don’t feel beholden to them.

Nonetheless, I think we should adopt the view that “unless they later explicitly contradict themselves, this is the system we’ll use”.

Currently, there *is* no reliable dating system for the TV continuity. Even if adopting this new dating scheme turns out to be wrong, it might, eventually, encourage the writers to produce a revised, official TV continuity timeline. So this “gets the ball rolling”.

It has become too cumbersome to use ages relative to Robert’s Rebellion. Theoretically, I suppose, we could have adopted a “After Robert’s Rebellion” dating system (similar to the “After the Battle of Yavin” dating system of the Star Wars Expanded Universe). But that wouldn’t quite make sense because we know the characters within the show have their own, fairly simple dating system – it just hadn’t been revealed to us. A side point is that, starting in “The Princess and the Queen”, we’ve seen a shift in and out of universe to an “After Conquest” dating system…the numbers remain the same, but they shift from being “After Landing” (AL) to “After Conquest” (AC). As I explained on the Timeline page, this is sort of like how “BC” changed to “BCE” (Before Common Era), because if you think about it, Jesus was probably born several years before 1 CE, perhaps 4 BC (medieval monks introduced dating errors). So the numbers didn’t change, but it shifted to a more accurate name. Aegon actually landed in “2 Before Landing”, because the War of Conquest lasted two years, and Aegon always dated his reign from the end of those two years, when he won the conquest and was coronated by the High Septon (it was the *fulfillment* of the conquest).

AWOIAF has been quick to adopt the more sensible AC system. However, I think we should hold off on this, because all dates shown in writing on props within the TV series still use the “AL” dating system. We will switch to the AC system only when the TV series itself does.

The TV continuity dating system

So, based on the dates seen on prop-letters, the new rules I feel we should enact as policy are:

  1. Both the books and TV series begin in the year 298 AL.
  2. The TV series changed the length of Robert’s rule from 15 years to 17 years, and it achieved this by making Robert’s Rebellion begin two years earlier than in the books. While the war lasted from 281-283 AL in the books, in the TV continuity it lasted from 279-281 AL.
  3. Time moves a little more slowly in the TV series. While about two years pass between the death of Jon Arryn and death of Joffrey in the books, the TV series follows the rule that “one TV season equals one year of storyline”. The current year can be found by taking the current season (ex: “Season 4”) subtracting 1, for the amount of time elapsed since Season 1 (ex: 4-1=3) and then adding this number to 298 (ex: 298+3=301). Thus Season 4 is the year 301 AL, although Joffrey died on new year’s day, year 300 AL, in the books.

--The Dragon Demands (talk) 00:46, June 6, 2014 (UTC)

Yeas and Nays

  1. Yea.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 00:46, June 6, 2014 (UTC)
  2. Yea QueenBuffy35 Crown New Red 14:17, June 6, 2014 (UTC)
  3. Yea.--The-Boy 09:53, June 9, 2014 (UTC)
  4. Yea.--Gonzalo84 (talk) 04:45, June 12, 2014 (UTC)
  5. Yea.--Greater Good 10:30, June 15, 2014 (UTC)

Alright then, it is policy. Unless or until the writers give us any official indication that they're internally using a different system.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 00:49, June 16, 2014 (UTC)