Lost Magic, Westeros vs. Western Society
What I love most about this trilogy is how their world is so much like our own. There are so many myths and tales that have been lost over the years that now, the modern human has become very cynical. Even in Martin’s books, which is reminicient to the Medieval era, many characters just don’t believe any more. They often mention how there are no more dragons and how the children of the forrest were made up by some old maid. Magic was something of the past and is lost among men.
As the novels progress, we begin to notice that the magic really isn’t dead, but has just been hiding for a while. One moment happens and then many creatures and powers follow afterwards. Things that were thought to be extinct or simply made up slowly start to reveal themselves. Was it the moment the Starks found the direwolf pups? Or maybe when Daenarys’ dragon babies hatched in the fire? Whatever triggered it, it hasn’t stopped and before we knew it, Bran is controlling his direwolf’s mind, there’s a zombie army beyond the Wall, and there is a man who has died seven times…or is it eight?
Now, I’m not saying one day dragons will return, if they were ever here at all, but a thousand years ago and beyond… well we can’t really say what existed. This was a time where people looked at the sky for answers and certainly believed in magic. There were polytheist groups like ancient Egyptians and Greeks who had myths and remedies, but when Christianity was introduced it changed everything…
Looking back at history, the Middle Ages was also known as the Dark Ages. It was a harsh time, maybe the harshest era in history where religion mattered most and if the King commanded it, you were dead. Similar to the Game of Thrones novels, where the characters mainly believe in “the seven”. Knowledge of these seven gods is very important from the moment you can speak. Life as a royal is lavish, but strict. There is a lot expected of those who are in a royal family and even more who may one day sit the iron throne. It was the same for our history. A knight should fight gallantly in the field and protect the king at all costs, and a maiden must provide an heir. It wasn’t until the black plague that people began questioning this totalitarian view on life…
I suppose this is why the books and show have been so successful. The characters are relatable because that was us long ago…What is of course different about the seven kingdoms, is that the magic has returned. So were there ever really dragons, wargs, men with two faces? Who’s to say. We can never really know for sure, but maybe one day we’ll find out.