blt333: Your point about how strange it was that Dragons were roaming around 170 years back from the books is interesting. It got me thinking that these histories really illustrate just how quickly and drastically things change. I mean 170 years ago slavery was being practiced in America. It's fantastic that Martin was able to build depth to the past that's just different enough but still feels like it's in the same universe.


That’s an excellent point, and one that’s obscured somewhat by the unnatural cultural/technological continuity present in the world of the novels. Family names have survived, allegedly, for thousands of years! And there’s no real advancement of technology, warfare, weaponry…there’s some tweaking at the margins, but that’s about it. I’ve seen it argued that magical circumstances like the Doom and the long winters may have a leavening effect on progress, and that makes some sense, but it’s not really enough to explain the stasis. The authorial hand, however, does the trick nicely. But yes, that aside, it’s fascinating to contemplate the genuinely major changes to the world that take place nonetheless. The Doom, the Conquest, the extinction of the dragons…these are big things that happened, basically, during a timespan equivalent to colonial America. Things that seem to have lasted forever or happened forever ago didn’t and didn’t.