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I had originally thought that the seasons were extended due to The Doom, which was 400 - 500 years ago. However, with The Long Night lasting a generation and being 8000 years ago, and the source of the season shift being "magic" (as explained in a related question), has there ever been a time that the seasons were normal? Is there any reference in the books to three month seasons?

  • There are seldom reference to how unusual the cycle is, but i do recall they exist, which suggests there was a time where normal cycles existed. However i don't know when. – yondaime008 Feb 12 '16 at 16:08
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    The Long Night took place in the time of the First Men, which is the earliest history that is recorded in any way - it's essentially a time of legend in Westeros, with no factually reliable records. If there is knowledge of an earlier time, it would probably be held somewhere in Essos - but so far, characters we've met there don't seem to speak much of history before Old Valyria. – recognizer Feb 12 '16 at 17:36
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    @yondaime008 I think they would consider their seasons unusual because they're inconsistent in length, even if they've never heard of a time of regular seasons. They know that other natural phenomena follow regular cycles, after all. – recognizer Feb 12 '16 at 17:37
  • Possible duplicate of Explanation of seasons in "A Song of Ice and Fire" – BCdotWEB Feb 14 '16 at 13:08
  • @BCdotWEB I wouldn't say this is a duplicate. The linked question asks why are the seasons the way they are, whereas this one asks whether they have always been like that – Shevliaskovic Feb 14 '16 at 13:42
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There were possibly regular seasons in ancient history, even further back than the Age of Heros. Writing and records were rare even back then and most of what we know from that time is legends passed on by story.

The Maesters have looked into the matter but have not been able to conclude anything as there is just not enough information from that long ago...

Though the Citadel has long sought to learn the manner by which it may predict the length and change of seasons, all efforts have been confounded. Septon Barth appeared to argue, in a fragmentary treatise, that the inconstancy of the seasons was a matter of magical art rather than trustworthy knowledge. Maester Nicol's The Measure of the Days—otherwise a laudable work containing much of use—seems influenced by this argument. Based upon his work on the movement of stars in the firmament, Nicol argues unconvincingly that the seasons might once have been of a regular length, determined solely by the way in which the globe faces the sun in its heavenly course. The notion behind it seems true enough—that the lengthening and shortening of days, if more regular, would have led to more regular seasons—but he could find no evidence that such was ever the case, beyond the most ancient of tales.

The World of Ice and Fire - Ancient History: The Long Night

So to answer your title question: The seasons may have been a normal length at one time but it is prior to recorded history.

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We don't have any relative information yet. So far in both the books and the show, there wasn't ever a mention that the seasons were normal (as we perceive them). Each season lasts many years and everyone considers it normal to have decade long summers and winters.

If I remember correctly, GRRM said at an interview of his that some of this kind of 'magic' season changing will be revealed at the end of the series.

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So Spake Martin:

I asked "Is magic coming back into the world because there are dragons, or are dragons coming back into the world because there's magic?"

George said, "Yes. Hmm, there's excellent cheese on that pizza!" (in combination with some of the stuff he said on a panel this morning, I take it to mean that the seasons, winter and summer, are magical in nature, and he's going to reveal what it's all about eventually, but not yet.)

See also this article by Linda Antonsson and Elio García (co-authors, with Martin, of The World of Ice and Fire):

It’s been a popular topic on the A Song of Ice and Fire forums, this whole matter of what causes the weird seasons. Suggested theories have ranged as far as suggesting dark planets in the near vicinity, perhaps a binary star, and more. But it’s rather fruitless; the author is prosaic on the topic and has provided the direct answer: it’s magic, trying to figure out a scientific, realistic explanation is bound to fail.

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    This explains why the seasons are the way they are, which is answered on the question you marked as duplicate, but it doens't answer whether they had always been this way – Shevliaskovic Feb 14 '16 at 13:44
  • @Shevliaskovic Agreed. The cause of the extended seasons is magic, though it's absence, or lack, in the beginning of the series didn't make the seasons closer to what we would consider normal. – Bram McConnell Feb 15 '16 at 18:58
  • Maybe they always were like that, it's a fantasy world – Shevliaskovic Feb 15 '16 at 19:25

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