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So I have never read any of the books but am up-to-date with Season 4 of Game of Thrones TV show. I have a few questions about the concept of a super-long winter within the show. I hope the readers of the books will be able to better answer this if I have missed some points already discussed in the show:

  1. How long does the summer last? How long does the winter last? Multiple years? Decades?

  2. Is it right to suppose that none of the Stark kids have seen winter at all?

  3. As far as the latest book goes, has winter already started in Westeros in the latest book? Or do we know when it will start?

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Shouldn't this be three separate questions ? –  Kalissar Jul 4 '14 at 16:51

1 Answer 1

up vote 14 down vote accepted

1. There isn't any specific duration. It varies. For example,the current summer has lasted 10 years; there has been a 7 year summer. Also, there is a mention of a 3 year winter etc. Usually they say that 'the longer the summer, the longer the winter'

2. If I remember correctly, none of the Stark children have ever seen a winter. In the books, the oldest kids (Robb and Jon) are 15 years old, so it is natural to not have seen one. I think they were born during the spring.

3. Winter starts at the Epilogue of the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons

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The white raven was "launched" by the citadel in order to announce winter –  Vinz243 Jul 4 '14 at 19:32
Do the Starks change their motto during winter? Is it "We told you so!" or something like that? :-) –  user24620 Jul 6 '14 at 4:45
@LordSnow No. Winter is always coming. In this case, the way I interpret it is that winter is not the physical season which they are alluding to, it is more like the coming of the Others. –  Mooz Jul 6 '14 at 20:58
@Mooz: So what happens when the Others do manage to break through the wall, and turn half the northerners into something worse than dead? Do the Starks then change their motto to "They're heeerrreeee..." or something? :-) –  user24620 Jul 7 '14 at 11:25
I think it's more of a figurative thing where winter can be interpreted as "hardship". Whereas summer is a time of prosperity (in both the books and in our own history), winter is a time of darkness and struggle. Therefore, the Stark words always server as a reminder to the other families - things might be good now, but there will always be hardship on the horizon. In a way it's a lot like a brag in its own right. Saying that you need to be tough to survive the winter. A bit like the Starks saying the rest of the families need to tough it up a bit. –  Neuty Aug 11 '14 at 19:38

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