What Happened to Travel in Game of Thrones?

What Happened to Travel in Game of Thrones?

** Warning – Seasons 6 spoilers follow **

I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones, but since publishing NerdNav I’ve been much more conscious of the alarming way that the TV show’s producers have neglected the geography of Westeros and Essos. It seems as if a character, or an army, can move between any two locations with no thought to the distances involved. It’s almost as if there’s a teleportation device hidden just off camera.

There were several instances in Season 6 where I shouted WTF at the TV.

In episode 4 Littlefinger is in the Vale of Arryn, but in Episode 5 he’s in Mole’s Town, close to The Wall. There’s over 1,300 miles between those locations. How did he manage that I thought? But worse was to follow.

In episode 5 Yara and Theon flee from the Iron Islands after Euron is elected King. In Episode 7 they show up in Volantis. By my reckoning that’s about a 5,000 mile journey. I know they’re good sailors and that is a two episode gap, but come on, 5,000 miles?

And yet the worst was saved for last. In episode 10 Varys is in Sunspear in Dorne. Yet later in the same episode he’s on board Daenerys’ ship heading from Meereen to Westeros. Even if he sailed back to Essos and they picked him up at Volantis it’s still ridiculous.

When George RR Martin put together his map of the world he deliberately left off a scale and one of the reasons was to minimize the potential for fans of the books to get bogged down in the distances involved in the various journeys and the time it took to make them. NerdNav does the opposite, by showing you exactly how far it is between two locations (as the dragon flies), but the app’s intention is for information only and not to prove or disprove that a particular journey is possible in a given time.

While the TV show is fantastic it does seem to have sacrificed the needs of travel to ensure that the plot moves along at a specific pace. While I’ve enjoyed the results I wish a little more attention was given to the travel timescales.

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