Major Issue 1 - Current Calendar year?
The first novel begins in the year 298 AL. Due to moving around the date of Robert's Rebellion the TV series has avoided stating specific dates.
This became cumbersome when we couldn't assign dates to events in the TV series itself, etc.
Eventually, for lack of anything better, we settled on the principle that Season 1 also began in 298 AL. This is based on the fact that props which appear in Season 1 such as Jorah's pardon letter list the date "298 AL" -- even though, in all probability, the TV scriptwriters didn't coordinate with the props masters at all, who were merely copying what the year was in the first novel.
Whatever the case, we were faced with a choice between "use 298 AL as a placeholder" OR "screw it, abandon any attempt to list what the current year is"....leading to a cumbersome "two years after the beginning of the series" set of descriptions. Having to choose SOMETHING, we're sticking with 298 AL.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 21:06, April 4, 2016 (UTC)
On the use of AL and BAL, contrasting with George RR Martin's own system.
Based on the sample from The World of Ice and Fire George R. R. Martin has released on his site here , It appears he uses the terminology AC (After the Conquest) or BC (Before the Conquest). This being dates counted from his crowning as king in Oldtown, 1-2 years after his landing in Blackwater Bay. Should this timeline potentially be updated to account for this? -- IronSean (talk) 12:43, May 6, 2014 (UTC)
While the "AC" notation is superior, props within the TV show still use "AL" - so we will use "AL" until the TV continuity introduces props that say "AC" on them...at which point we will drop "AL" like a dead weight.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 01:18, August 27, 2014 (UTC)
Major Issue 2 - changing Robert's Rebellion from 15 to 17 years ago, aging up the cast
Robert's Rebellion occurred "17 years ago" in the TV series instead of "15 years ago" as in the books; having established that Season 1 is 298 AL (just as in book 1) this means that Robert's Rebellion occurred "two years earlier" in the TV continuity. So while Robert's Rebellion occurred from 282 AL to 283 AL in the books (it lasted about one year, stretched across two calendar years), in the TV series continuity Robert's Rebellion was from 280 AL to 281 AL.
As explained in the article, the writers directly stated that the main reason the change was made was because Daenerys has a sex scene in Season 1 episode 1 when in the novels she's only 13 (they dismissed concerns that Robb Stark also has sex at a young age in a subsequent novel - that was distant and potential, what the censors had a problem with was specifically Daenerys). Daenerys's birth is tied to the end of the war because her father died at the end of it, so this pushed back the time since the war ended, and affected the age of other characters like Robb and Jon (technically it didn't need to affect Sansa and Arya, but they were consistent)...
Not every character, as a rule, was aged up by exactly two years. Sansa is 13 instead of 11, and Arya is 11 instead of 9, but Bran is 10 instead of 7 (all of this stated in on-screen dialogue). So we shouldn't just assume it was exactly "two years" unless otherwise stated (once and a while we might fudge it slightly i.e. Shireen was the same age as Arya in the novels so we'll leave a footnote saying "Shireen was stated to be the same age as Arya in the book version, we have no guarantee this is exactly the same in the TV continuity, but we tentatively assume it until we get any evidence to the contrary".
This being established, we've had some problems with new editors coming on and putting approximate ages in for characters like Eddard Stark. This is absurd. You only put in character ages in their infobox if we have an exact number to work with. We shouldn't assume "adult" characters are the same age in the TV continuity (indeed, the TV continuity actually changed Tywin's official age considerably).
So for the most part, character age calculations are for younger character for whom age is an issue - difference between nine and ten is big, difference between 39 and 40 is not nearly as significant.
So we're only working with characters for whom actual numbers have been given (and with one or two child characters such as Sweetrobin Arryn or Shireen, we're fudging it a bit by half-guessing their relative age to the Stark children in the books, but also noting that we're not sure if the age relationships are necessarily the same in the TV series). --The Dragon Demands (talk) 21:08, April 4, 2016 (UTC)
Evidence for character ages
The following is a list of points when character ages were directly stated, and when these statements were made. It makes no attempt to calculate how old they are in subsequent seasons, only when their age was directly stated (often in Season 1, so the progression of time won't be discussed here):
- Robb Stark - similar to the novels, they've explained that Eddard impregnated Catelyn on their wedding night (or at least) before he left south for war, and Robb was born while he was away on campaign. His birth is tied to the date of the war. Because the war was pushed back two years, Robb's age is simply increased by two years, from 14 in the books to 16 in Season 1 of the TV series. This wasn't directly stated, but it was heavily implied if not assumed, due to Daenerys, his age being tied to the date of the war, etc.
- Jon Snow - similarly, in the novels no one knows exactly how old Jon is (I'm not sure if Eddard ever told him his actual nameday, even)...but he was born during the war. Or at least, even if Eddard isn't his actual father, people think it plausible that Eddard impregnated a woman early in the war, then nine months later Jon was born, and he arrived at Winterfell as a baby. Either way, most think that Jon is a few months younger than Robb, but the same numerical age - both are listed as 14 in the novels. Again like Robb in the TV series, we simply increase this by two to get 16 in Season 1.
- Sansa Stark - directly states that she is "13" to Cersei in Season 1 episode 1.
- Arya Stark - Directly states to Syrio in Season 1 that she is 11 years old (not sure which episode). Arya was two years younger than Sansa in the books, it would be logical that she is two years younger in the TV series.
- Bran Stark - directly states he is "10" to Jaime in Season 1 episode 1, instead of 7 as in the novels (or the anticipated 8 years old).
- Rickon Stark - Robb directly states that he is "6" in Season 1 episode 2, instead of 3 years old as in the novels (or the anticipated 5 years old).
- Daenerys Targaryen - born towards the end of the war, after her father died in the books (think late 283 AL). Because her birth is tied so heavily to the date of the war, like Robb Stark, we simply add two years to the TV date: Daenerys is stated to be 13 years old at the very beginning of the novel -- though she apparently turned 14 relatively early in the first book -- it's directly stated when she learned she was pregnant with Drogo's child on her 14th nameday - corresponding to early Season 1's "Lord Snow" (Season 1, episode 3). Thus Daenerys was "15 going on 16" in Season 1, turning 16 by episode 3 or so - due to the UK's rules about sex scenes, when the age of the character portrayed matters, not the actor's age. But the reasoning on this seems clear given the writers' statements: her birth is tied to the date of the war, they increase the time since the war by two years, so we increase her age by two years.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 21:22, April 4, 2016 (UTC)
- We could choose to avoid confusion and just list her as "16" in Season 1, given that I think people reading the first novel might list her as "14" given that she turns 14 VERY early in the long novel. The difference of a matter of months gets confusing. It took a few months while queen Rhaella was waiting on Dragonstone for her to be born, but the war was held to have already "ended" when the Mad King died, explaining the discrepancy. So given that casual readers would see "hey, war ended 17 years ago with her father's death, wouldn't that make her 16 due to 9 month pregnancy?"....yeah, I'm open to fudging it and saying she was "16" in Season 1, rounding, due to spending most of Season 1 at 16 years old. But this is arguing semantics.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 21:22, April 4, 2016 (UTC)
- Tywin Lannister - Tywin was 58 years old when he died in the books (AWOIAF did the math and figured out he was born in 242 AL, and he died in 300 AL; he was stated to be in his "mid-fifties" when introduced in 298 AL - keeping in mind that medieval people didn't tend to live as long and aged more quickly, TV-Tywin is still slightly older than him in appearance) ----The TV series, however, directly stated that in Season 4 Tywin was 67 years old - making him nine years older than his book counterpart.
- This gets complicated due to his age being stated in a later season, raising the issues about the progression of time.
- Cersei and Jaime Lannister - twins, in the books both were around 33 years old when Tywin died in 300 AL. AWOIAF did the math and they were born in 266 AL. The books give no specific statements about Cersei's age, but she is Jaime's twin, so we have to base her age on his age because they match. Jaime is stated in the White Book to be 15 when he was raised to the Kingsguard, not 17 as in the TV series. Jaime was formally inducted into the Kingsguard during the Tourney at Harrenhal - the same Tourney at which Lyanna Stark caught the eye of Rhaegar Targaryen; Robert's Rebellion began one year later, and lasted one year, thus Jaime was 17 when he killed Aerys II at the end of the war, "15 years ago". During the Battle of the Blackwater (about a year later, 299 AL) Tyrion recalls that Jaime was named to the Kingsguard "18 years ago" - 15 + 1 (events of books 1 and 2) + another 2 (the time between the Tourney at Harrenhal and when Jaime killed the Mad King) gives us 18.
- The TV series has changed their ages: it is stated that Jaime was named to the Kingsguard at 17, and that Cersei became queen at 19 (right after the war ended)...the White Book's entry on Jaime mistakenly lists him as 16 at the time, but on-screen dialogue supersedes this. These numbers entirely fit - about a year passed between when Jaime was named to the Kingsguard and when the war began, and the war lasted about another year, so Jaime and Cersei were 19 when the war ended. If Jaime and Cersei were both 19 when Robert's Rebellion ended "17 years ago", that makes them 19+17= 36 years old in Season 1. This makes them about four years older than their book counterparts; 19 instead of 17 when the war ended, and then an extra two years added so it's been 17 not 15 years since Robert's Rebellion ended.
- Tyrion Lannister - Cersei states in "Blackwater" that she was only four years old when her mother died - giving birth to Tyrion. In the novels, they were both actually 8 years old. So TV-Tyrion is four years younger that Jaime and Cersei, thus making him about 32 years old in Season 1. I think they changed this to acknowledge that Dinklage is in fact older than the actors playing Jaime and Cersei, they can only say he's so much younger than them (I wave it away as due to his infamous ugliness as a dwarf). But this seems straightforward.
- Joffrey Baratheon - stated to be 17 years old in Season 2; reasonably sure they meant him to therefore be 16 in Season 1 (based on Renly's line that indicates one year has passed between Seasons 1 and 2). Of course they probably didn't juggle in that invented character of Cersei's black-haired son, but okay, let's say she marries Robert 17 years ago, immediately gets pregnant, baby dies, then gets pregnant with Joffrey, making him born 18 months after Robert's Rebellion ended - one "calendar year" after it. Fudging the numbers but we can make that work.
- Tommen Baratheon - stated to be 10 years old in Season 1, up from 7 in the novels - however, when they recast the character in Season 4 they apparently retconned how old he actually is. He is stated not to have a regent anymore (plus consummates his marriage), which would mean he's at the age of adulthood - 16 in the novels, possibly increased to 18 in the TV series? (as per Samwell's comments). This is a separate issue, but hey, recastings come with age retcons, I understand that.
- Myrcella Baratheon - not directly stated. IF one year passes each season, Joffrey would have been 20 years old in Season 5...matching that youngest child Tommen seems around 18...and thus middle child Myrcella would be around 19. That fits, it's not implausible. But not direct evidence....
- "Sweetrobin" Arryn - stated on-screen in the Season 5 premiere that he's 13 years old. IF the principle is that one TV season equals one year, that puts him around 9 years old in Season 1. In the novels he was 6 years old in book one (age-up puts him around 8-9 in Season 1 too?) This seems to fit the idea that one TV season equals one year, but that's a separate issue.
- Theon Greyjoy - In the books, Theon was taken from Pyke nine years before at the end of the Greyjoy Rebellion, when he was 10 years old, making him 19 in book 1. He's actually about five years older than Robb Stark in the books. Now the TV version did state that the Greyjoy Rebellion also happened "nine years ago" at the beginning of the narrative -- thus if we say that Robert's Rebellion occurred two years earlier than in the book continuity, Balon Greyjoy just waited two more years to start his rebellion. Otherwise we haven't really been given a firm number for Theon's age.
- Samwell Tarly - in the books, Sam's father Randyll threatened to kill him if he didn't join the Night's Watch on the morning of his 15th nameday...inexplicably changed to his "18th" nameday in the TV version...which makes no sense. Did they want to change the age of majority from 16 in the books to 18 in the TV series? Well and good. But why have Randyll say "You're almost a man now"...on the ACTUAL DAY that Samwell legally became a man? Why not his 17th nameday? In which case, should this have been his 17th nameday, and it's just a dialogue error? (most other characters got aged-up by exactly two years...). Ack. Well, those are the numbers given for Samwell in the TV series. Samwell is 18 years old in Season 1.
- Walder Frey - just as in the books, it is said that Walder will be taking a new wife "by his 90th nameday", and then we see him with a new wife when we reach the Twins near the end of book/Season 1, after he has turned 90. Early in book 3, it is also said that Walder will be turning 92 "soon". So he apparently has a nameday in the middle of the year. Given that he tends to appear near the end of seasons I wouldn't clutter this, so the simple way of saying it is that he is 90 in Season 1, and thus 93 in Season 4. Thus placing his birth, as in the books, in the year 208 AL.
- Lyanna Mormont - said to be "10 years old" in both Season 5 and Season 6. I suspect the writers just plain weren't paying attention. On the other hand, we ran into this issue before with Sansa: two years were stated to pass between Season 1 and Season 3, and she stated she was 13 in Season 1...only to then say she was 14 years old on her wedding night in Season 3. The functional answer is that maybe Sansa just hadn't passed her birthday yet that year - differences of ONE year or so in age (10 or 11, 14 or 15) can be waved aside as being due to a matter of mere months. Because other things happened in the North storyline (i.e. Walda's pregnancy, though the start date is uncertain) which sort of imply that a more significant amount of time has passed. OR, Jon and Stannis were simply mistaken about her age when speaking of her in Season 5, but Lyanna corrected Jon in person in Season 6 (if we're going for in-universe explanation).
Major Issue 3 - The rate at which time progresses in the TV series
In the novels, book 3 A Storm of Swords takes place about two years after book 1. The first novel began in 298 AL, and Joffrey's wedding to Margaery was timed to be on New Year's Day 300 AL (to ring in the glorious new Lannister century). Walder Frey turned 90 in book 1, is stated to have turned 92 in book 3, etc. Moreover, the Appendices between book 1 and book 4 list characters as about two years old (Arya goes from 9 in book one to listed as 11 in book four...or the start of book four, at least). Books four and five take place simultaneously (more or less).
The TV series split the events of book 3 into two full TV seasons, Season 3 and Season 4, making the events seems more stretched out. Events from books 4-5 are simply presented in order. Originally, Martin wanted to make a 5 year time jump between book 3 and book 4, but later decided against it. Otherwise, there haven't been any explicit large time jumps in the novels (of a year or more; obviously weeks or months sometimes pass between POV chapters).
We have no official word on the rate at which time progresses in the TV series.
Some pieces of evidence:
- In Season 2, Renly switches to saying that Robert's Rebellion was 18 years ago, not 17 years ago, indicating that one year has passed.
- In late Season 3, just prior to the Red Wedding, Brynden Tully remarks that the war has lasted for about two years at this point.
This sort of indicates that time moves more slowly in the TV series than the novels, at least in the case of splitting book 3 into two: a lot of events happened in rapid succession in book three, the TV series split this into two full seasons.
Sansa says she's only 14 years old in Season 3, however...one year older than in Season 1? Ignoring the fact that Brynden said that the war has otherwise been going on for two years? Maybe she just didn't pass her nameday that year yet.
Cersei incongruously says in Season 4's "First of His Name" that she has been queen for 19 years...she was queen for 17 years in Season 1. A difference of a few months or so, as in the case of Sansa, are hard to judge....they said "two years" near the end of Season 3, Cersei says this at Tommen's coronation in Season 4 which is still not that long after the Red Wedding and Joffrey's death. So who knows, maybe they're rounding.
Generally, what we can firmly establish is:
- One year elapses between Season 1 and 2
- One year elapses between Season 2 and 3
After the Red Wedding, our timing gets tricky: the central question is, did the rate at which time progresses slow down without the writers making it clear?
- In Season 4, Littlefinger says Robert's Rebellion occurred "20 years ago". Yes, he could have been rounding....but if a "one TV season equals one year" rule is still in effect, that means it's 3 years since Season 1, when the war was 17 years ago....indeed, making it exactly 20 years ago.
- Myrcella is stated to have been in Dorne for "years" in Season 5, and she left for Dorne in Season 2. Yes this could possibly refer to as few as two years - in which scenario one more year confirmed to pass by Season 3, thus all events of Seasons 4 and 5 within a single year? Not sure. The context sounds more like "years" as in "three years", but this is arguing semantics.
Gilly's baby, born in Season 3, stubbornly remains a baby after 3 TV seasons, despite the fact that younger characters such as Arya Stark are also physically aging.
- 1 - It generally seems that the TV series follows a "one TV season equals one year of story time" principle.
- 2 - On-screen dialogue confirmed that two years pass between Season 1 and Season 3.
- 3 -...we can't be sure if the rate that time progresses suddenly slowed down in Season 4 onwards.
- 4 - While the TV series does seem to be following a one season = one year principle, I don't think the writers are doing a good job of keeping track of it (again, what the heck's the deal with Gilly's baby?)
We're sticking with the one TV season equals one year principle, until proven otherwise (if someone can build a list of citations to quoted dialogue from throughout the TV series building up an alternate timeline).
How Time Could Work In The Game Of Thrones Universe
Hello, this is concerning the way time works in the Game Of Thrones Universe, I believe that it has been about a year and a half since Season 1.
- I concluded this with simple math and statements given by the characters, one of the most defining one was given in Season 3, when Sansa Stark, or somebody else talking about her said she was 14, the subject mater came up when they were discussing her upcoming marriage to Tyrion Lannister It had already been started previously during a conversation in the beginning of Season 1 between Sansa Stark and Cersei Lannister that she was 13, so that means only a year had passed since the beginning of Season 1, and the ending of Season 3.
- Another statement I can refer to was given by Jaime Lannister also in Season 3 he states that he has been locked up for almost a year, I counted back from that episode to the episode Jaime was captured, it had been about 18 episodes since then.
- In the second episode of Season 1 Catelyn Stark said something along the lines of "I've been sitting here waiting for a month." After that I came to the conclusion that two episodes equaled a month.
So from the proof I have given you, you can plainly see it's only been two and half years since Season 1. At the most we can say that it has been around 3 years since Season 3, can somebody please just contact the creators of the show and ask them? I think that all the ages should be changed, that the timelines are changed, and anything to do with age or time are fixed properly. Thank you, if you have further questions, or need my to change ages, timelines, etc. myself please contact me about it on my user talk page-http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/User_talk:DaniellaP!nk, or further the discussion here. ---DaniellaP!nk (talk) 07:31, April 5, 2016 (UTC).
As stated above, Sansa saying she was 14 at her wedding was incongruous with other statements about time in the TV series.
- Brynden Tully states right before the Red Wedding that the war has being going on for two years - late Season 1 to late Season 3. Thus, Seasons 2 and 3 last two years.
- This is corroborated by Renly saying 18 years instead of 17 years since Robert's Rebellion - one year passes between the start of Season 1 and early Season 2 - a season lasts a year (at this point at least).
So no, at the very least, it is impossible for it to be a year and a half since Season 1.
...also when you say "it has been"....do you mean Season 6? I'm confused. You're saying you think Season 6 takes place a year and a half after Season 1?
What episode in Season 3 did Jaime specifically say he'd been locked for for a year, with cited dialogue? -- In fact I think he was locked up for a year....from late Season 1 to when he was released in late Season 2.
...when Jaime says "I was a prisoner for a year" (or something to that effect)....he said that months after his release. The same as if during *Season 5* he said "the Starks held me prisoner for a year". Not the immediately preceding 12 month period from the point he uttered that.
You also didn't explain the start and end point of these "18 episodes": Jaime was captured in Season 1 episode 9 "Baelor". You didn't cite what episode he said "I've been a prisoner for a year" in...but let's see...9 + 18 = 27 --- episode 7 of Season 3. Checking a transcript, Jaime didn't say anything about how long he was held prisoner in that episode.
Using simple math...Jaime was taken prisoner in Season 1 episode 9 "Baelor", and was released by Catelyn in Season 2 episode 8 "The Prince of Winterfell" ---- meaning that he was prisoner for 9 episodes, not 18 episodes. How did you arrive at 18 episodes?
Next, "counting backwards" might not be entirely accurate: while "one TV season equals roughly a year", it apparently isn't evenly spaced between every episode, or for every character. You based it on one comment Catelyn made that "I've been waiting here for a month" to decide that a month passes between two episodes....you didn't demonstrate that this is a consistent pattern. Some episodes start immediately after the preceding one - others state that weeks or months pass between them --- but you have to prove that it's a consistent increment of time between each of them (and we've seen that it isn't).
- You cited exactly one instance when it was stated that a month passed between two episodes (for Catelyn specifically) and concluded from this that "one episode equals one month".
- You say you took a point when Jaime said he'd been prisoner for "one year" in late Season 3...despite the fact that he'd been freed in late Season 2, and was referring to a past event.
- You then "counted backwards" for how many episodes there had been since this comment in late Season 3 to when Jaime was captured in late Season 1, and arrived at 18 episodes. You then assigned one month to each episode (more or less) to arrive at 18 months, half a year, by "now".
- In fact, Jaime was prisoner for 9 episodes...generally fitting the principle that a 10 episode TV season equals roughly a year (give or take a few weeks). Which indeed, indicates that about one year passed between late Season 1 and late Season 2.
- .....you only counted "it's been a year and a half" to when Jaime SAID THAT at the end of Season 3....then you say that it has been "two and a half years" since Season 1 by "now" -- you mean Season 6? So you're saying that Season 4 *and* Season 5 both lasted only one more year? Which going by your "one episode equals one month" concept would be 20 months, and far closer to two years?
Now going by your edits to the main page just now, you think:
- Season 1 - 298 AL
- Season 2 - 298 AL
- Season 3 - 298-299 AL
- Season 4 - 299 AL
- Season 5 - 299 AL
- Season 6 - 300 AL
I.e. that the first five seasons span about two and a half years.
We can be sure with reasonable confidence that Season 3 ends about two years after Season 1 ended, meaning 3 years pass between the start of Season 1 and the start of Season 4. Now I will allow that maybe Seasons 4 and 5 "slowed down" without the writers making it clear, in which case time isn't progressing at a constant rate. Even so, you're saying everything from Joffrey's assassination to Cersei's walk of shame - not to mention Tyrion's journey to Meereen - all took place in a six month time period?
"At the most we can say that it has been around 3 years since Season 3, can somebody please just contact the creators of the show and ask them?"
What do you think we've been trying to do?
They ignore such Q&A requests. Last month, I even attended a live event at Herald Square with a press pass, but writer Dave Hill left without taking questions. I e-mailed in a list of Q&A to HBO Media but they wrote back saying they categorically aren't accepting any and wouldn't even forward it.
"just contact the creators"....when was the last time you can specifically point to of an online interview on a news site or whatever in which the TV writers responded to such Q&A? Over a year, closer to two, in the case of Bryan Cogman, while Benioff and Weiss notoriously don't give Q&A.
We wouldn't be stuck guessing the timline like this if we could simply ask.
I'm sorry about all of this, I really am, but we're kind of stuck :)
Rethinking The Timelines
Okay, for starters sorry, I made a slight mix up when I was stating facts and other stuff, what I meant to say was it's been three years since the beginning of Season 1, and that during the beginning of Season 6, or at the end of Season 5 we will soon be arriving, or have already arrived at 4 years. Sorry about the mix up about the dates of Jaime's release, I thought he wasn't released until' Season 3 Episode 6 The Climb, I later cheeked back and learned I was incorrect. I would also like to point out that in the episode First of His Name, Season 4 Episode 5 Cersei states that she hasn't seen Myrcella in over a year, I counted back from that episode to the episode Myrcella left for Dorne which was Season 2 episode The Old Gods And The New, I counted 20 episode that would mean two years if the whole a season equals a year thing applied because each season of Game Of Thrones has been 10 episodes long so far. That means that it hasn't been two years yet or Cersei would of said that she hasn't seen Myrcella in a two years, I personally believe it has been A year and 9 months since Myrcella left for Dorne. A person has pointed out something to be about what he believe the timeline may be like, he said...
"I always assumed it was something like this
Season 1 - one year
Season 2 - about 4 months
Season 3 - about 4 months
Season 4 - a month or two
Season 5 - about 5 months
The one season = one year thing this wiki uses is just ridiculous. Arya and Sandor didn't spend a year travelling from the Twins to the Eyrie, nor did Sansa spend a year at Winterfell with the Boltons."
If he is correct that means it's been somewhere around 3 months and two years since the beginning of Season 1, I do feel that it may have been longer then that, as I said before I think we could be soon reaching 4 years in the beginning of Season 6, or we already reached it at the end of Season 5. I think it could be something more along the lines of each season being 6 months long, with one of the season equaling a year, probably Season 1. Or it could be 20 episode = around a year and a half to a year and nine months. Thanks for listening --DaniellaP!nk (talk) 21:02, April 5, 2016 (UTC)
No. The general idea is "one season equals one year", but not that each episode is an equal increment of time...given that some episodes begin one after another and others skip weeks.
Cersei said "over a year" since she saw Myrcella...yeah, verging on two -- it's vague enough it proves nothing.
To reiterate: YES, the TV writers aren't keeping good track of this. Particularly that when they split book 3 in half it lengthened the back half interminably in Season 3 (Arya and Sandor). But they're not all consistent.
We're provisionally using the one TV season principle...and will drop it like a dead weight if the TV writers ever specify anything. YES this is near the top of our list of Q&A. But they don't give interviews.
We can't just make up "this feels like six months"....we have to go by actual statements about the passage of time.
And again: even if that it is the case in Seasons 4-5, we know fairly solidly that "one TV season equals one year" held true in Seasons 1, 2, and 3. Though the writers may later say the story slowed down, we can't invent an answer.
For the sake of argument, what if Season 4 slowed down? Then how long would you say it was? Six months? Why not five why not seven? Why not ten weeks or ten days?
We have to say something, we can't just leave it vague and unanswered (which is apparently how the TV writers were ignoring the issue).....and all you've really said is "it feels like six months". We go by citable evidence.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 16:45, April 6, 2016 (UTC)
- No, we really don't. The wiki has no mandate whatsoever to invent a dating system. Just stick to the facts as they are presented. Sansa is 12 in season one, Olyvar is 25 in season four, etc. - 17:10, April 6, 2016 (UTC)
- "Abandon any attempt at a dating system" is not an option. "One TV season = one year" will be used provisionally until the instant a writer ever says otherwise. I can't really say any more.
- I hope to keep using "one TV season = one year" on a provisional level...but I'll defer to whatever the other Admins conclude. I sympathize with your frustration, Xanderen.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 22:30, April 6, 2016 (UTC)
- Can I ask why not? Why is simple honesty such an unpalatable option? It's like me saying - "Let's start referring to Sandor and Gregor's father as "Rodrick Clegane" (A name I just invented). The show writer's mention him, but don't provide a name, so... We have to say something, right? People come here for information!" Obviously, it's an absurd position to take, just as yours is. Your dating system just doesn't mesh with events in the show... take season four, for example - The Purple Wedding takes place less than two weeks after episode one (Margaery says so)... for your system to be accurate Tyrion would have to have been imprisoned for a whole year! Clearly he was not incarcerated for anywhere near that long... he doesn't wash or change his clothes, and his hair and beard don't grow. It's a ludicrous argument that we should knowingly provide false information rather than just stick to what we actually know. - 12:03, April 8, 2016 (UTC)
Fat Walda Bolton's child in Season 6:
Minor note that occurred, not that it solves anything:
Roose Bolton said he was betrothed to marry Walder Frey's daughter Fat Walda at the Red Wedding, at the end of Season 3. Walda says she's pregnant in mid-Season 5 (though not how far along she is), and she gives birth in early Season 6.
If nothing else...early Season 6 cannot be less than 9 months after the end of Season 3.
Council to Decide the Television Continuity Calendar
There has been a lot of debate about the timeline of events presented in the TV series, at what rate time passes. Particularly with regard to character ages, such as Tommen, Gilly's son, etc.
We know with reasonable certainty that Season 2 is one year after Season 1, and Season 3 is one year after Season 2. Season 4 onwards things are less sure. At the very least due to Walda Bolton's pregnancy around a year or so passes between early Season 4 and early Season 6.
At the moment, this is not the "Council to decide the TV Continuity Calendar", but announcing that it is coming and setting a date.
Originally I intended to just keep using the assumption that 1 TV season equals 1 year until proven otherwise, possibly in the hope this would draw attention to the problem. Instead this is only leading to more debate, because it needs the attention of the TV writers, not us.
The point is we're wasting finite time resources arguing about it.
So here's what's going to happen now:
- 1 - We're busy enough handling new Season 6 material as it is so we can't really launch a new major overhaul right now.
- 2 - We have seven more episodes of Season 6, in which they might give some more statements about the passage of time. Thus we might as well wait for them to finish - also because we really can't do more until they finish.
- 3 - In the aftermath of Season 6, in a matter of weeks during June or July once things have settled (not September)....if nothing else has been confirmed about the timeline by then...we'll hold a council/vote to formalize adoption of a new dating system.
- 4 - This dating system will be neutral: instead of referring to something which occurred in Season 1 as occurring in "298 AL", we will instead refer to it as occurring in...."Season 1", in the infobox itself. We'll treat the name "Season 1" as itself a date. This shifts the burden to the main Timeline/Season page instead of having to update each individual page. This only affects events within the TV series itself; prior events such as the Greyjoy Rebellion will be treated as occurring in "289 AL", because we're still treating Season 1 as occurring in 298 AL.
This does not solve the issue of character ages such as Tommen, or even Arya.
For some characters such as Arya, we'll simply put "stated to be 11 years old in Season 1", and make no attempt to guess at her current age.
Tommen is very much an exceptional case, and we'll leave a big note-tag explaining how "he was stated to be 8 in Season 1 but we really think this was retconned when he got recast" etc.
The point of this message is that I've agreed to shift from a position of "use 1 TV season equals 1 year until proven otherwise" to "unless we hear anything new, yes, we'll switch to a neutral dating system after Season 6 wraps up".
When the hype from the finale has simmered down a bit we need to readdress this. Lyanna Mormont is still ten years old in season six, which means "1 season = 1 year" is demonstrably false... well, more so than it already was. - 08:32, June 27, 2016 (UTC)
Not dealing with this now, but:
I said we'd abandon all attempts at a timeline if Season 6 gave no new statements about the passage of time. Edmure's comment that "years" have passed since the Red Wedding (i.e. at least 2...if not the 3 which would be one per season).
Lyanna still being 10 was odd....as was Sansa being only "14" in Season 3, stated to be two years after Season 1.
On top of this, the writers bluntly said they aren't putting much effort into episode-scale timelines. You'd think they'd at least have season-scale timelines, one season to the next.
Or are they truly that lazy? In which case what to do.
If anything I thought Season 6 actually reaffirmed that they're actually following a general sentiment that one TV season equals one year, they're just sloppy about it.
Passage of Time in the TV series
I think Season 6 actually affirmed a basic principle that one TV season equals roughly one year of story time - on average, across multiple seasons taken collectively.
A basic point we need to take into account is that we're not just puzzling out the timeline the writers intended in staff meetings; the TV writers themselves are not doing a good job of keeping track of dates. They've outright said they're not worrying about passage of time too much on the episode scale (I wouldn't either); but the season scale cannot be ignored. Any numbers we impose are therefore provisional, BUT the writers have been so vague that we're not exactly contradicting any statements they made.
Now the clear evidence is this:
- Season 2 is stated to take place one year after Season 1 (i.e. Renly shifts to saying that Robert's Rebelion was "18 years ago" from "17 years ago")
- Season 3 is stated to take place two years after Season 1 (Brynden Tully directly states right before the Red Wedding that the war has been going on for two years).
- Two full term pregnancies occur after the Red Wedding (Walda Bolton and Roslin Frey) which produce children by Season 6 (Roslin conceived at the Red Wedding but gave birth some time ago off-screen, while Walda gave birth in Season 6 but may have conceived some time after the Red Wedding itself; said she was pregnant in Season 5 but no way of confirming exact start date). Thus, rounding out a few months for other story elements, Season 6 has to take place at least one year after Season 4 or so (broadly speaking).
- Myrcella in Season 5 said she's been in Dorne "for years" plural since Season 2, i.e. at least two, maybe three.
- Most intriguing, Edmure Tully stated that he'd been a prisoner of the Freys for "years" since the Red Wedding, years plural - thus at least two, maybe three.
The actual amount of time under discussion therefore only varies from between 1 to 3 years, more probably around 2 to 3 years, so this isn't as drastic as it first appears.
I've seen some on messageboards and blogs even arguing that more than three years need to have passed between Season 6 and Season 3, to explain how characters travel such large distances - I wave this aside as absurd. Yes they've had some travel issues but that's a case of transportation and distance moreso than time (due to other interlinked factors). Moreover, Gilly's son was born in Season 3....and he's visibly not like a five year old in Season 6! (haha). They did recast him so he's played by a two or three year old, not another actor-baby, but tactfully avoided saying exactly how old he is.
So, again, we're really only dealing with a minimum figure of 1 year, maximum of 3 years (if each TV season equals roughly one year)...and, per Edmure's comments, leaning more towards 2-3 years.
Certain things like Lyanna being described as 10 years old in Seasons 5 and 6 might be explained as out of universe script errors, and in-universe, either mistakes or her birthday just not passing yet (as happened to Sansa in Season 3, even though Season 3 has firm dates).
Yes, the point about Lyanna Mormont's age given in Season 6 is an issue....but I don't think it can single-handedly disprove "one TV season" anymore than Sansa being 14 in Season 3 did.
The major issue with "one TV season equals one year" appears to be Season 4 - given that Season 4 was actually the second half of book 3 and its events aren't meant to be separated by a very long amount of time. Seasons 1 to 3 we have firm figures for. Seasons 5 to 6 - correct me if I'm wrong - but the way the subplots unfold for any one set of characters, each TV season could plausibly last around one year - Daenerys, Tyrion, and Arya in Essos...yeah in either of those two seasons they can last a full year. Jon Snow at the Wall in Season 5 as well. There's no ticking clock of imminent attack. King's Landing, similarly, appears to stretch some time. Correct me if I'm wrong about Seasons 5 and 6 or forever hold your peace.
So we turn to Season 4....issues include:
- The Purple Wedding is only a few weeks after the Red Wedding (two months would be too generous I think), but Tyrion then spends the rest of the season in a prison cell awaiting trial - what would they do, put off a trial for over 8 to 10 months?
- Jon Snow's storyline: the advanced wildling raiders led by Tormund and Ygritte are already active in the Gift. What did they do, just putter around with light raids for nearly a year before working their way up to Mole's Town? Yet the TV show did have to invent filler stuff for Jon's storyline at Craster's Keep so it wasn't exactly "imminent"...
- Bran Stark and his companions can't take all that long to get from the Wall to the Cave of the Three-eyed raven it's about as far north as the Fist of the First Men or Hardhome, in the middle). Even if they are on foot and hauling a crippled boy. Plus this storyline interlinks with Jon's...at first. On the other hand Bran takes the year off after that so who knows how much time necessarily "passed" after he left Craster's Keep.
- Arya may or may not have taken a full year to get from the Twins to the Bloody Gate...though given that she was slowly moving on foot through hostile territory and explicitly avoiding the major highways, this isn't necessarily an issue.
Then when we got to Season 5, Myrcella said she's been there "for years" since Season 2...i.e. at least 2, possible 3 years (it would be 3 years if one TV season equals a year). Given that they already established that one year passes between Seasons 2 and 3, this puts a minimum of around 1 year between Season 3 ish and Jaime in Dorne in Season 5....though that proves nothing major, just matching Edmure's later comment that Seasons 4-6 together lasted "years" - around 1 year of story time clearly passed between roughly Seasons 4 and 5.
So unless anyone has objections, the only major issues with this principle are with Season 4...parts of Season 4.
Other storylines were moving a little slower, i.e. Daenerys in Meereen. But yeah...most of Season 4 seems relatively fast because of how they split up the third novel - Tyrion's storyline being the worst case, as his trial can only be plausibly delayed for so long (even Jon Snow's storyline plausibly could have lasted longer with a filler arc in it).
Also, in early Season 4 Cersei said she's been queen for "19 years" at Tommen's coronation...Robert's Rebellion was 17 years before Season 1, she married Robert at the end of that, so if "one TV season equals one year" that would be 20 years as queen...though we don't know the exact date of her wedding, timeline is merely a few months out of synch and the exact anniversary might not have passed yet, etc. (though the issues with Cersei's black-haired son by Robert and Joffrey's age at 17 in Season 2 means she needed to marry Robert immediately after the end of the war). Still, let's say that's off by exact months (always an issue).
Also, Littlefinger at the end of Season 4 says that it has been "20 years" since Robert's Rebellion....and indeed, three years plus 17 from Season 1 would equal exactly 20 years since the rebellion (unless of course he was rounding). And the Littlefinger/Sansa subplot in Season 4 interlinked with Cersei's so it's not as clear cut as before, instead leaning back to the idea that closer to one year passes.
But yet again, Edmure Tully says that "years" passed between seasons 3 and 6 (frankly leaning closer to 3 if the Red Wedding as at the end of Season 3).
Now if you look at Bryan Cogman's statements about Season 6 episodes, I fully agree: he outright admits that the storylines in different continents aren't directly synchronized chronologically, as they are presented due to episode format. As he pointed out, most of Arya's storyline in Season 6 from when she visits the play in episode 5 onwards must last only a matter of days. Yet in the preceding episodes, weeks or months passed by during the lengthy montage of her blindness training in the House of Black and White. And when Arya overhears in episode 7 a sailor saying "I heard that the ironborn fleet arrived in Meereen", that's because it has - Arya's storyline in Braavos was slightly ahead of how events were presented in Meereen. Which is well and good - they don't all take place on the same day at the same time. Now some were annoyed at this put on an episode scale, micro-timelines, I'm not that worried about it - even GRRM had to deal with this (as Linda said in Westeros.org's angry video review about it). But on a season by season scale, macro-timelines, that's different, that can't be abandoned.
So I was thinking on this and I realized that while certain character subplots aren't in synch with each other, they do synch up by the time they interact in later episodes: i.e. what we see Arya doing in episode 5 officially occurs many weeks if not months after what the Freys are doing in episodes 5-6, but episodes 8-10 then omit the weeks-to-months trip Arya made back from Braavos to the Twins, during which time the Frey subplot "caught up" with Arya's.
Thinking on this, I came to what I've been calling "The Rule of Averages" - or perhaps, the Corrolary of Averages. Basically the point about episodes not being entirely in synch from one to the next but synching up by the time they interlink...extraploated to the season scale.
In short, from all available evidence:
- One TV season usually lasts roughly one year of story time (explicitly Seasons 1, 2, and 3)
- Two seasons taken as a whole will collectively span two years of story time, averaging to about one year each as a result, thus matching the first rule.
One month of story time doesn't evenly pass for Arya in each episode in Season 1, but Season 1 overall lasted one year of story time (confirmed), thus if you average them, yeah each episode takes up about a month's worth of time (in a 10 month year of course).
Particularly in the case of Season 4, some subplots happened in short periods of time, but in order to synch them all back up with each other (and the passage of time), a longer amount of time could have occurred in Season 5. Tyrion's storyline in Season 4 took place in a very short period of time....then in Season 5, apparently took a much longer period of time, possibly over one year, as he was traveling a vast distance and there were major time jumps between episodes for him.
The name of the game here is heuristics - best fit solution. It might not be perfect, but on average, any two seasons taken collectively last for two years, averaging to one year. Season 4 took only a small amount of time, Season 5 appears to have lasted a little over one year - for certain storylines but not all of them - in order for them to all synch back up at the end.
So much like the episode scale in Season 6 (in which Arya was sometimes ahead then took time off).....Tyrion's storyline might not have lasted a long time in Season 4 but others did, then Tyrion's storyline slowed down, so both would collectively last "2 years" by Season 6.
As for how we would handle this in a dating system....well, on the character pages, we mostly use it for current ages, and this wouldn't affect Tyrion anymore because he's still alive and we're focused on his age now in Season 6. It might affect characters who died in Season 4, specifically Tywin, matter of months....but that's a matter of a few months, anything within one year's difference I'm not as worried about as a 2-3 year difference or more. And in the "Timeline" page we'd have a note about "the storylines weren't in synch but collectively Seasons 4 and 5 together still lasted about 2 years put together", and treating it as one year difference for each would be a matter of convenience (i.e. for the date of Tywin's death, the footnote would state "we're rounding to the nearest year because this subplot was faster than the others, which were out of synch at the time but synched up again later").
- 1 - The TV writers themselves aren't keeping very close track of the season to season timeline.
- 2 - Nonetheless, the TV timeline is not "unsalvageable", or even "a mess". Keeping in mind that it is very loose and will never extend to the episode level, only the season to season level. Tt still broadly fits certain parameters, so we shouldn't just give up on keeping a timeline of any kind.
- Seasons 1, 2, and 3 each lasted about one year, this is established.
- Walda and Roslin pregnancies establish that at least one year or so must have passed between Seasons 4 and 6.
- Age of Gilly's son is deliberately ambiguous, but by recasting in Season 6 he's visually about 2-3 years old in Season 6...confirming that at least one year has passed, but not something so high as five years.
- Edmure's comment about it being "years" since the Red Wedding by Season 6 also strongly implies that at least 2, maybe 3 years pass between Seasons 3 and 6.
- Myrcella's comment about being in Dorne "for years" implies that around 2-3 years pass from Seasons 2 to 5, and subtracting "1 year" (because we know one year passes from Season 2 to Season 3)...at least one, probably two years pass between Season 3 and Season 5.
- Sansa said she was 14 in Season 3, even though she said she was 13 in Season 1, and other comments established that in the southern/King's Landing storyline two years had passed.
- Answer: Either a dialogue error (out of universe) or her birthday just didn't pass yet.
- Somewhat similarly, Lyanna Mormont was described as 10 years old in both Season 5 and Season 6.
- This was probably just the writers not paying attention, but given the example of the Sansa issue even when we had a firm date...maybe her exact birthday just hadn't arrived yet. OR, Jon was simply mistaken about her age in Season 5. That's easier to retcon than the other and frankly more direct comments about passage of time, i.e. Walda's pregnancy (albeit exact date unknown).
- Many subplots in Season 4 probably couldn't take up a full year due to the back half of Season 3 being cut into a separate TV season. Some but not all subplots only took up a brief amount of time, particularly Tyrion's arrest and trial.
- Other comments indicate that the math matches, and around three years pass between Season 3 and Season 6 altogether. Thus we simply employ the rough Rule of Averages, that put together Seasons 4 and 5 took up about two years of screentime, given that storylines aren't always in synch with each other...but do need to synch up by the time they cross over. Thus when the timeline says "Season 4 is in year 301 AL" this is merely an average date for many disparate subplots (after all, even if Season 4 lasted a full year, did Joffrey die in exactly 301 AL? Did he die in their December instead of January? We don't know. The date was already rounded to the nearest whole number year). Given that we've moved past Seasons 4 and 5 this isn't as big of an issue as it used to be.
- This is similar to how Cogman outright said that Arya in episode 6.5 isn't happening at the same time as events in the Riverlands in that same episode, but much later, yet Arya travels to the Riverlands by the end of the season at which their timelines synch back up.
- We were never applying the "one TV season equals one year" rule too strictly after Season 3, and moving forward, we are simply using it under the tacit assumption that this is only a loose figure - we're not using exact startdates like in Trek or something.
- If the writers ever outright said "Season 4 lasts exactly one month (and the value of Pi is exactly 3.0!)"....we would have to accept it as a retcon. A ham-fisted, bizarre retcon that ignores continuity, but an "official" retcon all the same. The problem is that the TV writers have been outright avoiding timeline issues because "it's complicated and takes up too much time!" (dude, it took me the better part of one afternoon to figure out that even the Season 6 timeline more or less holds up). But they have said nothing, so we have no "official" alternative.
- We could abandon all pretense of maintaining any Timeline at all....even though the internal timeline through Season 6 - taken as a whole - is still fairly workable. I mean what's the alternative? There is no..."systematic" rival timeline to switch to.
- The possibility remains that future TV seasons won't necessarily equal one year each; it may be heavily implied to outright stated next year that Season 7 covers barely 2-3 months of story time. The writers may even announce this officially. But we will quite simply cross that bridge when we get to it, and so far the basic principle that "by Season 6 five years have passed since Season 1" basically stands.
Alternate timelines and time loops
Season 6 raised the issue of time travel within the storyline (well, mental time travel) and time loops, with Bran Stark's greensight/warg abilities. This has not become an issue yet, but in the event that we have to deal with alternate timelines, the first one will be referred to as "Universe 1", the second as "Universe A", the third as "Universe Alpha", and so on...
While there are some minor issues on several points, the basic point stands that overall "one TV season equals one year of story time" (or at least, that Season 6 is about 3 years after Season 3). We will therefore retain this principle for character ages in infoboxes and the Timeline article (unless new information contradicts this in Season 7, of course).
Thus "Season 6" took place five years after "Season 1", and therefore Season 6 takes place in "303 AL" (298+5). Robert's Rebellion, which occurred 17 years before Season 1, took place 22 years before Season 6, and lasted from 280 to 281 AL (not 282 to 283, as in the novels). Arya Stark, stated to be 11 years old on-screen in Season 1, is 16 years old in Season 1, and so on.