I wonder. I have a guess about George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy epic, given clues sprinkled throughout the books. I’ll lay them out here in numbered points. Warning: here be spoilers for all the books and the HBO series, but only in clues I think are there, not for my guess. I’m probably wrong. It’s just a little theory I’ve had for a long time.
I’ve read all the books — the first three twice over — but have seen only the first three seasons of the show (lack of cable television prohibits more for now.) I don’t visit online forums, so I’m not sure if this has been put forth by others. I’m told not, but that was nearly a year ago. I’m a fan of the books and put this down here as part of my admiration for the scope of the story. Again…
I wonder …
I wonder if the story is taking place on Earth in the far, far future.
The clues and guesses (page numbers from the hardback editions unless otherwise noted):
1. Well, for starters, right there on the front flap of the first book, A Game of Thrones, we learn that the out-of-whack seasons are not native to the world: “Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance.”
2. There is often mention of the “red wanderer” in the sky. Our word for planet comes from the Greek word for “wanderer.” Is the “red wanderer” Mars? One mention of the “red wanderer” is in A Storm of Swords, page 294. I recall mention of other wanderers or planets — five, I believe — that sounded like our solar system, but I can’t find the specific reference.
3. A Storm of Swords page 274: ” … and look up in the sky for the Ice Dragon. The blue star in the dragon’s eye pointed the way north ….” Is the Ice Dragon the Little Dipper? The Little Dipper could look like a dragon. Curiously, the pole star does change over tens of thousands of years. Eventually, before coming back to the Little Dipper, it will be in Draco, though not in a place that could be considered the eye.
4. Bran is said to be able to see into the past as well as the future. Perhaps Martin will reveal that we are on Earth through Bran at some point. He has said that he is writing the story backwards as well as forwards, a reference to filling in the world’s history as the story goes forward, but I wonder if that also means the revelation of this past being Earth, and revealing it through Bran’s special sight. Jojen, A Clash of Kings, page 393: “The past. The future. The truth.”
5. Is north and south Westeros North and South America? A Game of Thrones, page 644: “The old songs say that the greenseers used dark magics to make the seas rise and sweep away the land….” This can account for the coastlines being different from present day. The eastern lands look like our eastern lands, too, though similarity of land formation to our world is common in fantasy fiction.
6. Starfall. This is a city that as far as I recall has never been mentioned in the books, and yet it has been on the map since book one. Is it named for a distant memory of a meteorite crash, and that crash is the preternatural event that threw the seasons out of balance? Is that the source of the reference to the greenseers’ dark magics making the seas rise? Starfall is near Oldtown, a connection to the past. Curious that it has never been mentioned, but is always on the map. Of course, a meteorite crash that could do that to the seasons would likely destroy the Earth instead, but this is fantasy, so why not?
7. The Long Night. Is this a time period after the meteorite? It seems to be when the Others were powerful. It is mentioned along with other ages of the past in A Feast for Crows, page 80 (and is reproduced word for word in A Dance of Dragons, page 99, Kindle edition).
8. Is the Stranger, one of the seven aspects of God, a representation of an alien? A hint of this being Earth’s future, after an encounter with aliens? Are the Others, after all, aliens? A Clash of Kings, page 372: “… the Stranger was neither male nor female, yet both, ever the outcast, the wanderer from far places, less and more than human, unknown and unknowable. Here the face was a black oval, a shadow with stars for eyes. It made Catelyn uneasy.” And A Storm of Swords, page 532: “‘But no one sings of the Stranger….’ The Stranger’s face was the face of death. Even talking of him made Sam uncomfortable.”
9. Martin said in an interview that he could have written this as science fiction, a reference to how he could have had the different houses on different planets, but perhaps a hint that there is an aspect of science fiction to the story. He has proven himself a master of both genres, after all.
10. Finally, Martin has said a number of times that his favorite writer is Jack Vance, who wrote the Dying Earth series, which takes place far in the future. Is A Song of Ice and Fire his own version of telling the story of the Earth in a far distant future? If so, his patience at revealing it is incredible and the scope of his imagination is huge.
And another thing…
This has nothing to do with the above, just another little thought, but I think Varys will turn out to be the most interesting character of all. I think he and his compatriot across the Narrow Sea, who gave the dragon eggs to Dany, have been manipulating everything all along (probably obviously at this point) to get the dragons to stop the Others. Dragonglass kills the Others. A Song of Ice and Fire. Etc. There’s a scene in the television show in which the two of them are talking in whispers and pass Arya who is in hiding. Their dialogue hints at their scheming together.
And then this in A Game of Thrones, page 557:
“‘Tell me, Lord Varys, who do you truly serve?’
“Varys smiled thinly. “Why, the realm, my good lord, how ever could you doubt that? I swear it by my lost manhood. I serve the realm, and the realm needs peace.’
“Varys gave a long weary sigh, the sigh of a man who carried all the sadness of the world in a sack upon his shoulders.”
This exchange is also reproduced in the TV show, an episode written by Martin himself. I think Varys does carry the world on his shoulders and he’s trying to save all of humankind from the Others. I think by “realm” he’s referring to all people, not just who’s in power at King’s Landing. And if the Others are aliens, because this is Earth in the far future, then all the more reason to be focused on the “realm” of humankind.