What is the Name of the World in 'Game of Thrones'? The Surprising Answer Isn't Likely to Come Up in Season 8

Game of Thrones is known for its expansive worldbuilding, with more than a hundred named characters and dozens of towns, holdfasts, castles, kingdoms and regions sprawled over multiple continents. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is even more in-depth, building out the fictional history of Westeros for hundreds of years. But for all we know about the world of Game of Thrones, there's just as much that remains mysterious, including the name of the world itself. So what is the name of the world in Game of Thrones?

The world of Game of Thrones includes three continents: Westeros, Essos and Sothoryos (and maybe a fourth, known as Ulthos), but everything beyond Westeros and the handful of cities the show's visited along the coasts of Essos is cloaked in mystery. Maps included in The Land of Ice and Fire only depict "the known world," essentially limiting the perspective on the world to what could be gleaned by the Maesters. Very few of the characters in Game of Thrones knows much of the world, with Sothoryos in particular a mostly unknown land.

The name of the planet itself is similarly mysterious and is never named in Game of Thrones, the A Song of Ice and Fire series, or even in Martin's compendiums of lore, like The World of Ice & Fire and Fire & Blood.

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The world isn't even named in "The Lands of Ice and Fire: Map's From King's Landing to Across the Narrow Sea." Random House

Instead, the name of the world in Game of Thrones has only ever been described in an unusual and likely non-canonical forum: by Martin in the comment section of his blog.

"Are you ever going to give a name to the World of Ice and Fire?" a commenter asked Martin in response to a 2017 blog post about the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff shows. "In the English-speaking world, we call our planet Earth. In the legendary period of Earth history written by Tolkien, the inhabitants call it Arda. Fans have, in the absence of such official names, dubbed the world of Westeros and Essos and Sothoryos 'Planetos,' but that obviously feels a bit tongue in cheek. Basically, if you were to sit down with a Maester and ask him what planet he lives on, he would have an answer, right?"

"He would probably call it Earth," Martin responded under his screen name, grrm. "Of course, it would not be that word, since he'd be speaking the Common Tongue, not English. But it would mean Earth."

Martin's answer is both definitive and slippery, since the same transliteration from the fictional Common Tongue into languages legible to our Earth societies would be true of any noun in Game of Thrones. Presumably, King's Landing is not called King's Landing in the Common Tongue, nor would Arya Stark pronounce her name that way in her own language. So the world of Westeros is named Earth, just as certainly as Sandor Clegane is Sandor Clegane, but there's still a hedge in Martin's answer that prevents us from simply naming the Game of Thrones planet Earth. This is probably because, unlike The Lord of the Rings and other fantasy series set in a fictional lost age of our Earth, Westeros is located on a different planet entirely.

Martin has previously described the planet itself while answering questions on an A Song of Ice and Fire fansite. "The world is round," Martin wrote. "Might be a little larger than ours, though. I was thinking more like Vance's Big Planet … but don't hold me to that."

By Vance, Martin means Jack Vance, an American sci-fi and fantasy author, most famous for his Dying Earth series (which is amazing). Martin has long cited Vance as a major influence, even editing (with legendary sci-fi editor Gardner Dozois) a tribute anthology called Songs of the Dying Earth. Vance's novel Big Planet introduces a world that's much like Earth, except larger and lacking in useful minerals and metals. Despite its colonization by spacefaring Earthlings, Big Planet is nearly medieval due to a lack of the natural resources needed for industrialization (the combination of fantasy and sci-fi is a Vance staple).

"Every time a new Jack Vance book came out, I would drop whatever else I was doing and read it," Martin wrote in a post commemorating the author after his death in 2013. "If you haven't read Jack Vance … well, I pity you, but I envy you as well. You have some amazing adventures ahead of you."

Martin's answer regarding the planet where Game of Thrones is set suggests it may be different from ours in several ways, but should be presumptively considered Earth-like. But while the characters call it Earth, it's unlikely to be referred to as anything other than simply "the world," either on Game of Thrones or in the remaining two ASOIAF novels, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

What is the Name of the World in 'Game of Thrones'? The Surprising Answer Isn't Likely to Come Up in Season 8 | Culture