19. The long seasons of Game of Thrones are actually reflective of the bizarre weather patterns of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age which affected much of the known world during the Middle Ages
Despite geographically mirroring our own world, with Westeros evidently a slightly altered British Isles, the weather in Game of Thrones on the surface appears to be purely fantastical. Rather than our own predictable years consisting of four roughly equal seasons, Martin’s world enjoys a noticeably different seasonal cycle. Whilst the northern-most locations of the world are colder than those in the south, reflective of our own weather patterns, rather than lasting for approximately fixed durations the world instead endures seasons of varying lengths. At the beginning of the show, the world has been enjoying a nine-year summer which is coming to its conclusion.
Whilst there remains speculation this cyclical pattern is not natural, but a lasting remnant of the Long Night which allegedly occurred eight thousand years prior to the events of the show, the weather patterns of Game of Thrones, in spite of their fantastical elements, surprisingly mirror those of Medieval Europe. Lasting from roughly 950 to 1250 CE, the Medieval Warm Period saw the hottest prolonged recorded temperatures until the modern era. Following this “long summer”, the world was plunged into the Little Ice Age. Lasting from approximately 1300 to 1850, temperatures dropped precipitously as the world entered into a “long winter”.