While reading an unrelated blog, I came across a blurb that "16 years of summer have been the longest summer on record" in "Game of Thrones" books. I realize from that discussion (without having read Martin's books) that the seasons in Westeros are variable length.

Since there was a recorded longest summer, I was curious, what is the longest winter on record based on the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books?

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    I like the concept... but I wonder how possible it really is. Even if you had summer-like conditions for 16 years, you can't put away enough hay to feed livestock through an equally long winter. And I think the show mentioned a 5 year winter... even that's pushing it.
    – John O
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 17:11
  • @TLP - fixed thx Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 17:16
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    @JohnO - I was wondering exactly same thing... thus: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/22488/… Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 17:21
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    I am not sure that there has actually been a number set on "longest winter" anywhere in the books. Perhaps in one of Old Nan's or some Maester's stories there is mention of The Long Night, which supposedly was a very long winter.
    – TLP
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 17:21
  • @TLP - I'm sure there was SOME winter's length discussed. I'm not looking for the length of the longest winter ever, I'm looking for the longest explicitly mentioned (or calculatable from provided information) length. Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 17:25

3 Answers 3


I would say that the longest winter was the one in the Longest Night period, in the age of heroes (from http://awoiaf.westeros.org):

In this time, night seems to last for a generation, and the longest, coldest and darkest winter descends on Westeros. The ice spreads down from the north, and under the cover of darkness, the Others invade Westeros from the uttermost north, marching, killing and raising up the dead to be their servants in unlife and nearly destroying all men in Westeros.

Unfortunately, it is not known the exact duration, as it was 8,000 years before the war of conquest (year 1).

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    Please be sure to add citations when quoting other sources.
    – Beofett
    Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 15:06

I don't remember which book this was in, but i remember reading of a mention of a winter that last over 10 years. I believe it was mentioned by Old Nan.

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    I Just read the first two books again and I'm almost positive she didn't say this at any point. Cite this or i maintain that you are wrong. Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 18:59
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    There’s a scene in the TV show where Old Nan asks Bran if he wants to hear about the Long Night. Maybe that’s what you’re thinking of, @ArmOgeddon. Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 18:44

In The World of Ice and Fire, it says The Long Night was:

A season of winter came that lasted a generation -- a generation in which children were born, grew into adulthood, and died without ever seeing the spring

Given that Robb claims he's "almost a man grown" in AGoT at age 15, we can surmise the long night was at least 16 years of winter, and arguably much more, since a generation isn't defined by it's average age of maturity. Because it says a generation, we can likely say it wasn't more than about 30 years (the next generation starting when this generation's kids of of age).

I think we can assume it was in the ballpark of 20 years, given the above.

  • Your reasoning doesn't make much sense, a generation were born and died in the winter and people in Westeros have been known to live well past their 60s. Considering they'd likely die earlier in a long winter and not everyone will live into their 60s doubling your estimate would be better but still not accurate.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 8:00
  • @ThrLethalCarrot fair point, but I was going after the minimum time (hence: at least) that would satisfy the statement, which would presume the shortest time would be if the generation was born, lived to adulthood, then died shortly thereafter. Further, I don't think it's safe to assume that folks live into their 60s under those conditions, especially since we know real world medieval life expectancy was only around 30-32 years without wonky ice age climate stuff.
    – Paul
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 10:07
  • Aye I did say that in my comment but in ASOIAF (from the POV we see) characters generally have a lot longer life spans than what we had in our medieval world.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 10:18

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