For quite some time now I have been asking myself how the world of Game of Thrones is shaped and if the people living in that world know the shape.

In questions here on SciFi.Stackexchange concerning the unnatural seasons or the definition of a year in Westeros, it is often argued that the Westerosi can measure the duration of a revolution of their planet around the sun. But that only works if they know that they actually live on a planet.

In this answer it was said that people have been travelling in ships around the world. However, I cannot remember any passage in the books supporting this. Actually I only remember evidence for the opposite:

  1. During the Kingsmoot on the Iron Islands, there is a man called Gylbert Farwynd who promises the Ironborn treasures from lands far to the west, if they elect him as king. However, the POV character of that chapter (I think it was Victarion Greyjoy) does not believe him and sees the madness in Gylbert's eyes - as if speaking of travelling west is crazy.
  2. Later when he leads the attack against the Shield Islands, the Iron Fleet travels out of sight of the coast line. This manoeuvre is considered very dangerous and risky. If this is already dangerous, traveling even further west appears close to suicide.

In addition, there was a Brandon Stark who sailed to the far west and never returned.

A prior thread on this site establishes that the world is not a hollow world, but is not conclusive as to whether it is a planet.

Is there any evidence in the books that the World of Ice and Fire is a planet? Was it established that the Westerosi know the nature of their world?

  • 8
    In regards to point 1, the POV character thought he was crazy because the area he planned to sail to was extremely dangerous (nobody who had ever sailed there before had survived) rather than it being impossible to sail there. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 8:59
  • 2
    If I recall correctly, they'd planned to sail to Valyria. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 10:41
  • 1
    That was the plan of Euron Greyjoy. And indeed, the waters around Valyria are dangerous (but Euron claims that he returned from there). There was another man at the Kingsmoot who claims that he had travelled to the west and found rich lands there.
    – Till B
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 11:25
  • 10
    "But that only works if they know that they actually live on a planet" -- not true. Ancient Babylonians and Egyptians were measuring the year by the stars millennia before heliocentrism won out, and centuries before Eratosthenes measured the size and shape of the Earth.
    – sjl
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 22:31
  • 6
    "People who travelled too far to the west did not return, because they fell off the earth". Wrong. Sailors knew from ancient times that the Earth is spherical (just thought it sits still in the center of the Universe). A lot of people are mistaken about the bravery of Columbus. Those who did not trust in his plans about his journey did not doubt him because they thought the Earth is flat. They doubted him (rightly so) because the distance was much bigger than any ship of that time was able to cross. Columbus was wrong (and just lucky): he thought the Earth is much smaller than it really is.
    – vsz
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 6:23

6 Answers 6


George RR Martin confirmed in a recent interview that the world of Westeros is round, etc albeit slightly larger than our own.

"Interviewer : Is your world round? I mean if Dany traveled far enough east couldnt she come to the other side of westeros?

GRRM : Yes, the world is round. Might be a little larger than ours, though. I was thinking more like Vance's Big Planet.... but don't hold me to that."

For the record, the planet in Vance's "Big Planet" stories is described as being approximately 25,000 miles in diameter in comparison with Earth's 8000(ish) miles.

enter image description here

  • What about "and do the Westerosi know"?
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 1:31
  • 2
    @DCShannon See my answer for "do the Westerosi know?"
    – Möoz
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 1:40
  • 1
    @Mooz Yeah, I upvoted that (although technically you should at least mention the rest of the question). It would be nice if the accepted answer addressed more than half of the question, though.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 1:44

In regards to whether or not the inhabitants know, George R.R. Martin has said in an e-mail:

[Interviewer] Also, do the Westerosi have the concept of a round world, or do they think it's flat (maybe the maesters know this...)?
[GRRM] Interesting question. I suspect the maesters and more educated classes realize the world is round, but the common folk may still believe in a flat world.

It certainly is possible to sail around the world. This is widely believed to be what Quaithe was alluding to when speaking with Daenerys:

To go north, you must journey south, to reach the west you must go east. To go forward you must go back and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.
-A Song of Ice and Fire - Book Two: A Clash of Kings, Chapter Forty (Daenerys III).


Westeros world is a planet. It has a satellite (the Moon) and orbits around a star (the Sun); there is no other feasible explanation for this.

In Westeros world, a very long time ago, a year had 4 seasons as on Earth, but because a overnatural (and now forgotten) magical process, the season length changed. When, or why this process happened is a mystery, and has not yet been explained by the writer.

  • 2
    Please, could you link some references?
    – Vinz243
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 18:46
  • 3
    -1 for "there is no other feasible explanation for this". Sure there is. Some people still think our world is flat, and our world isn't even fictional.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 1:31
  • @DCShannon: I'm not sure the opinion of idiots and luddites means much. Do you have a source for a possible non-spherical world? And, by source, I mean... science. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 8:36
  • 7
    @EdS. We're talking about a fantasy world. The configuration put forth by the Flat Earth Society is close enough to making sense that it could easily be the reality in a fantasy world. In a fantasy world, just because a world has a sun and moon doesn't mean it needs to be spherical.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 20:20
  • 2
    Which is more likely: a flat world or fire-breathing dragons?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 18:58

It's interesting that Quaithe said to "touch the light, you must pass beneath the shadow" as Asshai is home to the Shadow Lands, but the most western point to Westeros is the Lonely Light. So she could mean that by traveling past the Shadowlands, following the Saffron Straits west, then Dany would reach the Lonely Light.


Is perfectly feasible that, as on actual earth's dark ages, much people on Westeros think that his land is flat, and that sailing west will make them fall from the border.

Surely magisters, brave sailors that had gone further than expected on his travels and scholars could know or suspect that they are living on a round planet, but that's a complex idea to assume by the ignorant mass that conforms the main population base.


This should be taken as a funny point, but if you look in the TV show, S02E01, there is a scene with a comet seen by Bran Stark et al in Winterfell. You can see that, compared to the trees, the comet is very high on the sky:

enter image description here

He then talks that dragons do not exist, and then there is a cut to Dany far east in Essos, with the comet much lower above the horizon:

enter image description here

If we assume that the cut was to illustrate "what is happening right now in Essos", which is what usualy we see in the show, then the comet has very different angles above horizon at different places at the same time. Which is strongly favouring round shaped planet :-) Yes, it is also possible in the flat planet model, if the "sky vault" is very small, however, to even think about flat planet models is ridiculous, because no one really works :-) Also, flat planet is extremely unnatural and unlikely to happen in the Universe as we know it.

However, as I said, it should be taken as a funny point because it's extremely unlikely that the TV show creators would think it through in such a detail :-)) They just took the shots as they saw fit :-)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.