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Old April 10 2012, 07:17 PM   #1
137th Gebirg
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Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Hey all - just recently got GoT S1 on BluRay - missed it on HBO but am now following it religiously and have started reading the books.

One of the things that strikes me about this world is the peculiar seasonal patterns, with years-long summers and winters. Now, I may be projecting a more science-fiction-y slant on something that is more likely of pure magic or some other supernatural cause, but the intro in particular seems to have the world placed in what could be described as a Dyson Sphere/Shell.

Things in favor of the theory:
- The intro surface is represented as being concave.
- The sun seems to be drifting about over the surface of the shell (or the shell drifting around the sun) - potentially explaining the odd shift of seasons for long periods of time.
- Apparently, in later books which I have not read yet, there are references to lost ancient technologies.
- While not evidence in favor, there could be some device or series of devices orbiting around the star to periodically block light, simulating night/day.

Things against the theory:
- The whole intro may be simply nothing more than a stylized and artistic tool for presenting the world to the viewer and prepping them for the places they will visit in any given episode (the cities shown change from week to week).
- The presence of stars & constellations.
- The existence of the "Sunset Sea" to the west of Westeros. Suns in Dyson Spheres never set - at least, not in the conventional way.

A paragraph in this article: http://www.artofthetitle.com/2011/05...me-of-thrones/ piques my interest in particular, but there doesn't seem to be much official info about why this is.
Angus Wall: It was Hameed Shaukat (Producer), Rob Feng (Art Director), Kirk Shintani (CG Supervisor) and I just talking about what the different things should look like. A lot of the solutions were just pragmatic ones. The fact that I wanted to be able to move the camera anywhere led us to the fact that this whole world had to exist on the inside of a sphere, which took us a while to figure out. I had initially thought, okay, the shape of this thing... imagine it’s in a medieval tower and monks are watching over it and it’s a living map and it’s shaped like a bowl that’s 30 feet in diameter and these guys watch over it, kind of like they would the Book of Kells or something... they’re the caretakers of this map. I quickly realized we were still going to shoot off the map. So the next thought was, what happens when you put two bowls together? You have a sphere. Next question was “how is it lit?” And obviously, If you have a whole world inside a sphere, what would be in the middle of that sphere? The sun! Or whatever the light source of this world is.
Other possible explanations for the weird seasons might include:
- Variable output/unstable primary star
- Highly eccentric and/or elliptical orbit

I know it's probably a moot point, but I still think it's fun to wonder about such things, to see if there's a greater meaning behind it all. Has any one had thoughts on this?
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Old April 10 2012, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

I think the intro is just a play on the title ''game' of thrones'' which in the intro appears to be a clockwork globe. I think it's represented on an interior surface purely for aesthetics and to show the world and cities in relation to eachother.

who knows what causes the weather patterns . . .
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Old April 10 2012, 07:33 PM   #3
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Apparently, in later books which I have not read yet, there are references to lost ancient technologies.
IIRC, it is mentioned in one of the books that the same cataclysmic event that destroyed Valyria, also messed with the seasons. It wasn't explained what was that event, but sounds like it was a giant volcano eruption or something like that. Magic was probably involved.
The whole intro may be simply nothing more than a stylized and artistic tool for presenting the world to the viewer and prepping them for the places they will visit in any given episode (the cities shown change from week to week).
It is.
The existence of the "Sunset Sea" to the west of Westeros. Suns in Dyson Spheres never set - at least, not in the conventional way.
One of the characters in later books claims to having traveled around the world on ship. There's no reason to assume he's lying (though he is a bit crazy).

Anyway, whenever someone asks GRRM what's the deal with the seasons, he answers "Magic". I don't think it will be explained "scientifically" ...
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Old April 10 2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Obviously Westeros and the other continents are on the planet of Ribos...

http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Ribos
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Old April 10 2012, 07:37 PM   #5
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Never seen Game of Thrones (yet), but just a random thought; wouldn't it be daylight 24/7 living inside a Dyson sphere?

Would life, plant or animal, be ok with that?
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Old April 10 2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Shurik wrote: View Post
One of the characters in later books claims to having traveled around the world on ship. There's no reason to assume he's lying (though he is a bit crazy).
Could you not travel around the inside of a Dyson sphere and not know otherwise?
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Old April 10 2012, 07:58 PM   #7
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

You wouldn't really be able to have a comet inside a Dyson Sphere...
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Old April 10 2012, 08:19 PM   #8
137th Gebirg
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Ethros wrote: View Post
Never seen Game of Thrones (yet), but just a random thought; wouldn't it be daylight 24/7 living inside a Dyson sphere?

Would life, plant or animal, be ok with that?
If there were some satellite network supporting a revolving hemisphere around the inner star, it could conceivably simulate a day/night cycle.

Lonemagpie wrote: View Post
You wouldn't really be able to have a comet inside a Dyson Sphere...
Actually, it could easily orbit around the star, but it would likely be visible more frequently than if it were traversing a normal star system and, as such, not the super-rare portent of destruction/dragons that the characters claim it to be in the book. But it is possible, I would think. I am curious as to why it is red - almost as if it is constantly illuminated by a dust-obscured sunset.

scnj wrote: View Post
Shurik wrote: View Post
One of the characters in later books claims to having traveled around the world on ship. There's no reason to assume he's lying (though he is a bit crazy).
Could you not travel around the inside of a Dyson sphere and not know otherwise?
Yes, but it would take one HELL of a long time. The theoretical shell should be approximately one astronomical unit (distance from earth to sun) in radius (variable, depending on the energy output of the core star but, by our standards, still super-massive), giving it the surface area of several million earths and support a population in the quadrillions. You may be able to sail it, but you would likely die of old age before you got half-way across, especially if you're relying on nothing more than the wind and sails to move you. The construct would be so big that you theoretically shouldn't be able to see the inner curvature through the aerial perspective/atmospheric distortion. Inhabitants would likely think the world was flat.
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Old April 10 2012, 08:21 PM   #9
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

scnj wrote: View Post
Could you not travel around the inside of a Dyson sphere and not know otherwise?
You'd never see stars. You'd always have daylight. You'd only have one season. Depending on the size of the continents on the opposite side, you might be able to make them out. A civilization that rose on the inside of a Dyson Sphere and didn't know that that was where they were wouldn't know what they were missing.

It wouldn't be as interesting as the view from a Niven Ring, though, where you'd have an arch rising from opposite horizons with the sun as the capstone.
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Old April 10 2012, 08:43 PM   #10
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
You'd never see stars.
Correct. Can't really work around that one. Unless, of course we get really hyper-teched and assume that the sphere builders have thousands of little satellites in heliosynchronous orbit around the star shining these absurdly powerful omnidirectional light bulbs simulating stars. Not bloody likely, but a cute idea nonetheless. If they can build a sphere, why not throw in a couple thousand star-satellites?

EDIT: Perhaps one of these satellites malfunctioned, causing the comet to appear all of a sudden?

You'd always have daylight.
Not necessarily - see my post above regarding an opaque revolving hemisphere.
You'd only have one season.
If the distance between the star and surface were consistent, that would be true, yes. If the star wobbles or the sphere itself meanders erratically around the star, it could cause bizarre seasonal patterns. Clearly some event happened in the ancient past to change this. It would be assumed that some kind of station-keeping technology should keep the distance constant, but perhaps whatever "doom" had hit the world many thousands of years in the past might have caused that system to malfunction without completely sending the sphere into the star, burning a hole in the surface and causing all the atmosphere to escape.
Depending on the size of the continents on the opposite side, you might be able to make them out. A civilization that rose on the inside of a Dyson Sphere and didn't know that that was where they were wouldn't know what they were missing.
Quite possible, yes.
It wouldn't be as interesting as the view from a Niven Ring, though, where you'd have an arch rising from opposite horizons with the sun as the capstone.
Agreed - that would be a site to see. Would also solve the stars/constellations problem, too.
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Old April 10 2012, 09:37 PM   #11
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Yeah, was going to suggest Ringworld as an alternative on that one. Easier than an entire sphere, but in any event the STAGGERING size of this thing means you're decendents would likely die of old age before completing an entire circuit.
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Old April 10 2012, 10:06 PM   #12
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

The tech is so involved that magic is an easier explanation ... who knows, maybe the resolution of the books will touch on that some more.
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Old April 10 2012, 10:15 PM   #13
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

From what little info I've been able to glean on the subject, GRRM will be explaining the wonky seasons in the final book - whenever that happens - and that it will likely involve a purely magical origin.

IIRC, their mythology mentioned something about a second moon that exploded near the sun, creating all the dragons as they drank in its fire. It's possible that that may have had something to do with the seasonal issues, shifting the orbit or some-such. Maybe the sun itself is some kind of ancient super-dragon. Who knows at this point? As much earth mythology could arguably be traced back to a possible real event or real people, it could be postulated that their mythology could also potentially contain some nugget of cosmological truth to it - some catastrophic event(s) deep in their history prior to their invention of the written word.

On a side-note, I don't recall if the world they're on has ever been given a name, other than "the world". Westeros and Essos are merely continents. I know there are a couple others to the west and northeast, but no mention of the world's name as a whole, unless it's mentioned in one of the later books. Couldn't find mention of it in any of the Wikipedia links, either.
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Old April 10 2012, 10:32 PM   #14
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

The wonky seasons are caused by the elliptical orbit of the Red Star. The Red Star is now approaching the GoT planet's orbit again, which sucks for them because three dragons ain't gonna cut it against the Thread.
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Old April 11 2012, 12:31 AM   #15
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Re: Game of Thrones - Is the World Actually a Dyson Sphere/Shell?

Does Thread freeze? Would the Wall and the Walkers stop it?
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