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It has bothered me for a while now that the history of Westeros seems so long, and yet the people have stayed the same. Take languages: Modern English didn't exist even 1,000 years ago; its ancestor Old English is barely comprehensible to us modern speakers; and yet the Common Tongue appears to be as widely understood in all of Westeros, even the Mountains of the Moon, probably since the Andals came.

And then lineage. Can any family on Earth count their heritage at nearly 8,000 years old as the Starks can? Surely after enough time the family would have split or lost its name or died out. Take orders like the Night's Watch, also founded 8,000 years ago: Christianity as we understand it now has existed a quarter of that time. It's a wonder the Watch didn't dry out sooner.

Take technology; the historical allegory to Game of Thrones, the War of the Roses, ended in 1487. In 527 years, humans have gone to the Moon, invented the Large Hadron Collider and the Internet, established equal primogeniture in England, and thought about colonising Mars. As it stands, no one from Westeros has even discovered electricity.

This may read like a rant, but I promise there is a question here. The question is: is there any in-universe explanation for why Westeros is so rigid? Why technology hasn't progressed beyond quills and torches; why language hasn't split and stratified and evolved; why noble Houses are so long-lived; why women still have few rights and bastards far fewer?

marked as duplicate by user8719, Avner Shahar-Kashtan, Valorum, The Fallen, Anthony Grist Jul 27 '14 at 11:52

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    Interesting reading on the subject: Medieval Stasis (warning: TVTropes will draw you in for longer than Westeros' history) – Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jul 27 '14 at 8:35
  • Ah christ, I'm already getting lost in its tropey depths :') – Lou Jul 27 '14 at 8:42
  • There were other questions in mine that weren't addressed by the one marked as dupe. – Lou Jul 27 '14 at 13:02
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    When it comes to GRRM and time, it is not always good to over analyse. But you should consider that the First men used bronze tools, which is not so far off from our own bronze age, which (at a glance) was about 5000 years ago. As GRRM says, they only have carvings on rocks as records of those days, which is much the same here. That nothing seems to have happened is most likely just an illusion, because GRRM has not elaborated much on those days. – TLP Jul 27 '14 at 15:26