What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

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What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-05-17 07:33pm

In Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, we see people die, a LOT. However, we're mostly seeing the violent deaths. We're not seeing the deaths from disease, malnutrition, work accidents, etc.

So, what is the quality of life in Westeros, and the lifespan of the average peasant, noble, etc.?

Following that, how does this impact their culture? For instance, in medieval Europe, child marriages were a fact of life because mortality rates were so high due to plague, disease, etc, but do they have that in Westeros?

Discuss.
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Re: What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-05-18 03:45am

Actually from what I've read the actual average marriage age for non-nobles was around 18 or so (a bit higher for men and a bit lower for women), when men typically completed their apprenticeship or similar. Also in medieval times if you made to adult you had reasonble chance of living to be 60 or 70 even for non-nobles it was the child mortality rate that was high and pushes the average down. Actually it was the nobles among whom child marriages were more of a thing and even then it was more due to political reasons.

I've not read the books but from what I can gather from the films the "Small folk" should have typical medieval lifespans (that is 60 or 70 should they reach adulthood), though maybe a bit lower as Game of Thrones seems to subcribe to the myth that people in middle ages hated being clean.
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Re: What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-05-18 03:55am

It may be quite variable given the weird seasons when if you hit a long hard winter lots of people are implied to die off that would have otherwise have lived.
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Re: What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

Post by Knife » 2019-05-19 11:46am

They've pretty much depopulated the continent over the course of the story, so I'm saying about 8 years would be the average. :)
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Re: What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-05-19 04:23pm

There's a comment by GRRM that the Maesters have better medical... well, not technology per se; medical knowledge, I suppose, than IRL medieval people did. Of course, that's only really relevant to the upper classes; I don't know how much the Maesters actually serve the rest of the population. However we do see a number of nobles living quite long lifespans, IIRC Walder Frey is noted to have great-grandchildren, if not great-great-grandchildren though he's something of an extreme example (largely due to fecundity). Occasional bursts of conflict between the various nobles, periodic plagues, even tournaments and such would help keep the noble population pruned. Presumably the Maesters are familiar with basic birth control for exactly that reason as well, though given a higher rate of infant mortality, noble wives would be expected to reproduce early and often.

As to the smallfolk: show wise, they're meant to be your typical 'brutish and short' lives. Book wise... they do live long enough to travel considerably across Westeros sometimes, there are occasional peasant revolts and people get away from those all over the place. The church of the Seven has a popular revolt across most of the continent in response to the Targaryens' incest. GRRM is unfortunately highly unclear (as usual) about the legal status of his peasantry; we don't know whether they are tied by feudal obligation to his lords, or whether they're free to leave. This is all from my own memory, mind you. It does seem obvious given how many lords and regions there are in Westeros that there are probably different legal traditions depending on where you live, and conceivably some lords would be harsher rulers than others.
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Re: What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

Post by Broomstick » 2019-05-19 06:53pm

If people just know to wash their frickin' hands it would go a long way towards improving mortality and morbidity over the actual Medieval centuries.
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Re: What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

Post by Jub » 2019-05-19 06:55pm

Broomstick wrote:
2019-05-19 06:53pm
If people just know to wash their frickin' hands it would go a long way towards improving mortality and morbidity over the actual Medieval centuries.
Not shitting in the water you bathe in would also help a lot, though cesspits weren't exactly a great alternative.

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Re: What's the lifespan of the average Westerosi?

Post by Esquire » 2019-05-20 11:47am

They're actually not that bad, as long as they don't communicate with drinking water supplies. That means lined with something impermeable/downstream/very very far away from where you get your drinking water, ideally all three, and with a boil-water policy in areas where waterborn disease is endemic. The London cholera outbreak famously solved by the IRL John Snow was caused because a cesspit wall collapsed, leaking contaminated sewage into groundwater and thereby a nearby well - otherwise it'd have been fine.
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