As the Game of Thrones saga comes to an end this week, we’ve had an opportunity to look back at some of the iconic moments on the show that have transported us to another era, if only for an hour a week for the past decade. One of the aspects that is most striking on the show is having the awareness of all the components that make up our lives today versus what we see of that time – family structure, cultural norms, stereotypes, and none least of all – technology.
Given that George RR Martin – the author of the books the show has been based on – said himself that he drew inspiration from real historical moments like the Wars of the Roses to create his storylines, it’s safe to assume that if we were to set the Game of Thrones events on a real-world timeline parallel to our history, this would all be taking place roughly around the 15th century. This was the era of Leonardo Da Vinci, who would centuries later be recognized for his stellar contributions to so many different disciplines, and as such it was a time of learning and documenting, all of which would lead to some staggering advances, en masse. But, how were things done two centuries before the first industrial revolution?
In season 7 of the show as the war against the dead approached and the winter temperatures intensified, the armour for the soldiers needed to be covered in leather to shield them from the cold. As the situation intensified, weaponry needed to be made out of a foreign material that hadn’t been used in centuries called dragonglass, something that only experienced blacksmiths could’ve made possible – from the mining, to the melting, to the shaping of the weapons. Armor, helmets, weapons, etc. all were made by hand, and the process couldn’t be more time-consuming or physically demanding, as illustrated by this recent showcase of the effort that goes into making armour, piece by piece.
If at the time, the blacksmiths had counted on a tool to help them sort through the process of mining, melting and building a foreign material, as well as the technology to help them automate some parts of the building process, they would’ve had more time to focus on their defence mechanisms for the war to come. On the same token, all the seamstresses that worked on the clothing for under the armour, the shoes, and any garment necessary to help deal with the temperatures would have been greatly relieved by technology such as an enterprise resource planning solution.
In the era of the show, Westerosi agriculture is on its early stages of industrialization and trade. Different regions are known for their local cuisine, determined by the harvests they’re able to secure with their climate, and whatever won’t spoil in transportation by carriage is sent back and forth between the kingdoms. Most characters agree that the wine from Dorne (the southernmost part of the country) is the best in the land. Sansa’s love of lemon cakes makes it safe to assume the citrus is easily found throughout the country.
Highgarden seems to be one of the most geographically gifted lands in Westeros, and the Tyrell family has the deciding power of where the food goes. According to information from the books, Highgarden produces more food than its inhabitants can consume, with fertile farmland for hundreds of kilometres. Because of this, it is said that they are the main exporters of food throughout Westeros. For the period of time covered in the Game of Thrones show, the Tyrell family “maintain a complex but efficient network of distribution that can be as effective a weapon as any blade in times of war.”
We don’t know much about food in Essos, but we can infer that they have a harder time transporting it due to the large space of desert called the “Red Waste” that covers much of its territory. The country also seems much bigger in size than Westeros, and as we follow Daenerys along her journey, we can see that every city she conquers has incredibly different cultures from one to the next. When Arya lives in Braavos, she disguises herself as a seafood merchant selling the freshest oysters, clams and cockles to the people of the port. How does she ensure these are as fresh as she claims?
In the most recent episodes as they go into war, not being able to communicate about the size of the incoming armies (as messages via ravens could be intercepted), how long they’d have to host them or feed them for, being in the dead of winter with few crops and going purely off of their storage – all must have felt like an absolute logistics nightmare, one that the leaders had to face daily.
Living in such a connected world as we do today, it’s hard to put ourselves in the shoes of these characters, and both the book and show do a really great job of helping us time-travel to this era of relying only on experience, face value information and physical tools to get things accomplished. Transporting food via wagons across rough roads with the threat of thieves along the way couldn’t have been easy, and the shelf life of these items was shorter back then, so speed was of the essence. Can you imagine what they could’ve done with an ERP that could help them reduce production times, keep live inventory, increase compliance with ingredient declarations, etc.?
Technology throughout its historical revolutions has undoubtedly made our lives easier, and through immersing ourselves in the past is fun to do for limited amounts of time, there’s no bigger relief than being alive in this era, where innovation is our defining descriptor and we are able to take advantage of technologies that those characters couldn’t have possibly imagined. To all the Thrones’ fans: enjoy the finale, and when you’re ready to evaluate whether you’re stuck in medieval processes and how you can step into the next era of innovation for your business, contact us.
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