For new fans of the hit HBO series, “Game of Thrones” things might be a little confusing at first. Everything is foreign (unless you have read the series by George R.R. Martin) and you might need a refresher course on the series.
So, for those who need it: How the seasons work in the world of “Game of Thrones”
The weather is one the first things anyone ever mentions when describing the setting of the book or the series. This is mainly because the weather and seasons of the world plays such a huge role in the lives of everyone who lives there. “Winter is coming” is not merely a weather forecast by House Stark, but a phrase of foreboding and even terror for those who have never seen a winter.
The problem comes with that fact the seasons are hardly predictable. What we do know is that when it is summer in Westeros it is also summer for the rest of hemisphere. The southern hemisphere however, will experience the opposite.
It is unclear what causes the wild unpredictable seasons in the world but with the several theories out and about in the forums, the author of the series has stated simply that it is magic. It seems that magic causes some sort of planet wide force that affects the tilt of the earth or manages the seasons in erratic ways. While many dislike this answer, it is about the best we get for explanation.
When talking about the seasons of the world, the question of measuring years always comes up. Martin has stated that since a year is related by the completion of one revolution around the sun and the seasons are just a minor effect. It is reasonable to assume the Masters of the Citadel are doing a good job keeping up with time using their observations and data using the stars. While this is most definitely a daunting task, it makes sense since the Conclave of the Citadel goes over amassed records before they declare the start of a new season.
Another one of the most popular questions asked is how people are expected to survive a TEN year winter. And even more, how did people previously survive the Long Winter, which was rumored to have lasted a generation? It seems that we won’t know those answers. For starters we don’t know how long the Long Winter really was, but we do know for sure there have been several years long winters in recent memory not to mention they southern hemisphere is experiencing one currently in the series.
However, it seems unlikely that those of the poorer regions, would be able to survive without food stores that could last that long (considering even grain can only be stored for roughly 3 years), or get the proper vitamins and nutrients they need in years and years of winter. The rich and well off could make it, given that they have the resources in place for such winters. But maybe the easiest answer is just to say once again it is magic.
Basically, the famous phrase “Winter in coming” is a terrible omen of the hardships that are to come. Also don’t think too hard about the actually mechanics of the seasons, remember: It’s magic.