Westeros has been stuck in the feudal system for millennia for a good reason.
If you’re not watching the Alt Shift X videos you’re missing out Al. He does an excellent job of filling in what’s going on in each episode:
Actually… winter’s here, finally… that was the whole thing about last season’s finale =P
I’ve read elsewhere that guns, germs and steel are the drivers of civilization, but I don’t see why Westeros can’t manage a working loom, or the beginnings of a steam engine. It’s not just about the castles, no-one has invented anything new in hundreds of years. That’s a staggering lack of human innovation.
That is pretty interesting. I wonder if they were so reliant on magic for so long that once it vanished they had no science to fall back on. Probably doesn’t help that the Citadel keeps everything important locked away. Westeros desperately needs someone to create a printing press so that all of the knowledge doesn’t have to be controlled/protected by the Maesters and the less wealth can actually afford to be educated.
I wonder if this is part of where the story would go. They break out of their eternal cycle and actually make some progress.
I also wonder if the long seasons could be to blame. You have a winter that lasts years and it lays waste to the land and the people and you spend the next several years just trying to rebuild everything you lost and then make sure you’re prepping for the next winter that could come at any random time. Hard to innovate when the seasons seems to be working really hard to beat you down.
The Maesters simply collect knowledge. Sam went to the Citadel to gain and apply knowledge.
The Maesters are so afraid of losing knowledge that they keep it under lock and key. They have forgotten that the best way to protect knowledge from being lost is by sharing.
Inventions require the right economic conditions in order to be more than trinkets or toys. There were clockwork and steam powered devices back in Ancient Greece. They remained curiosities because the economic and social conditions at the time simply didn’t require them.
There could also be other factors at work in a world like Westeros. Gunpowder historically (and until recently) required saltpetre, a rare resource (a major part of India’s worth to the British empire was its extensive deposits of the stuff). Westeros may simply be lacking in certain natural resources.
Also keep in mind the vast number of inventions throughout history that happened through random chance- if you’re talking about alternate worlds, there may be selection bias at work- our world could simply be unusually lucky in that respect.
Finally, consider that until 150 years before the storyline, magic was commonplace- this would doubtless have a deforming effect on technological progress. They’ve basically only had a century and a half of similar conditions to our own.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. There’s been lots of necessary times in Westeros. There should be more for fighting dragons than just a bigger crossbow. Siege weapons should be incredibly advanced. The long winters suggest food management should be stellar too. Warfare seems like a way of life so you have military demands driving all sorts of innovation. Medicine should be more than leeches and opioids. And you have sophisticated trade routes between very different climates suggesting access to resources should be apparent. You even have a center of learning with each graduate assigned to each house.
I know it’s because fiction, but it’s always been a bug bear of mine. Same shit happens with Tolkien. It’s just a crutch for the fantasy genre.
And so Harry Potter went to a school!
If you took a man from England in 1066AD and dropped him in England in 1766 AD he’d cope. It was still an agricultural economy, still based on class, the wider world still fought regular wars with small states run by hereditary aristocrats, still had slavery. The biggest change would’ve been the Reformation.
Medicine was still leeches and opium and no-one new what a “germ” was. One of the last big outbreaks of Cholera in London was in 1854, everyone thought it was caused by “miasma”, bad air, until one pioneering doctor got the local pump water shut down.
That doctor was, of course John Snow.
After the Cholera was gone, they re-opened the pump. It was another ten years before the wider medical community really began to accept that miasma was a myth.
Progress isn’t linear and it isn’t always progress.
The Romans had better sanitation than any British period of history until the Victorians and the Romans didn’t know what a germ was either.
The big invention that Westeros lacks in the movable type printing press.
Billions of ideas have been written down once and lost. Moveable type made it faster and cheaper to reproduce information and multiple copies let more of it spread and survive.
And what did he know?
The quality of the episode is absolute shit, too.
Or so I’ve heard.
About 1:55 to go to S7e4!
And I avoided spoilers!
That’s what I call shock and awe!
The director of many an episode of “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia” did very well with this episode.