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There is one thing that is still bothering me about Game of Thrones and I forgot to ask until now. The White Raven in the Season 6 finale was sent to mean the Winter has come, right? At least it's what they said.

But in Season 7, they keep talking about preparing for the winter which is coming. So... Is the Winter here or not?

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    Winter isn't instant, it's here it's just not in full blow yet. So when they say preparing they mean preparing for when it gets worse. At least that's my take on it. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 22 '17 at 13:39
  • @TheLethalCoder Well, I just think its weird. The whole show starts from the premise that Winter is Coming and sh**'s getting real and everybody is preparing during the whole show. When it comes, and there is that whole Oh F*** cliffhanger moment with the White Raven, seems like a lot of time already passed after that, and it still seems like its just a regular winter. – LeonX Aug 22 '17 at 13:44
  • @TheLethalCoder I think you're right. I'll upvote if you posted it as an answer. – madmada Aug 22 '17 at 13:46
  • @madmada I think his answer is convincing and all. But it seems like another of the show's stalling weapons. – LeonX Aug 22 '17 at 13:48
  • @LeonX It's not a stalling weapon it is reminiscent of real life. It would have made sense for them to have started Season 7 in more of a "wintery" state but they couldn't do that because of the Dany/Lannister story lines. Well I mean they still could have but they wanted the focus to be on the war not winter. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 22 '17 at 13:57
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It appears to be that winter is not an instant process, the same as is usually true in our world. When the white raven comes it is the start of winter but that doesn't mean it's going to get crazy straight away.

The reason they are still preparing is that they still have the time to, they don't have to stop until they are forced to and so that is what they are doing. They are preparing for the worse parts of winter.

To back this up note that down south, though we don't quite know if the current timelines are the same, it appears to be summer still. Yet up north it is snowy and pretty "wintery". The further you go, i.e. beyond the wall, it get's even worse i.e. the Blizzard in Season 7 Episode 6.

It appears that the winter comes down from north to south as well so those that are further south have more time to prepare and will also make the most of it.

  • +1 Because its seems reasonable, but I'm still not entirely convinced. The weather seems similar everywhere since the start of the show. except that there is more snow in the north. But I liked that the north got more snow during the progression of the show which IMO was already an indication of the proximity of Winter which seemed to affect only the north. – LeonX Aug 22 '17 at 14:00
  • Plus, I assume quite sometime has passed since the appearance of the White Raven, I figured that at this point it could start getting a little colder in the south. – LeonX Aug 22 '17 at 14:00
  • @LeonX It does appear to be getting colder elsewhere but I do agree that it seems to be taking it's time. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 22 '17 at 14:01
  • I don't think the blizzard in s7e6 is a good argument for it getting colder the further north you get, given that it was brought by the White Walkers being near. – caird coinheringaahing Aug 22 '17 at 15:36
  • @cairdcoinheringaahing I wouldn't say that the bear blizzard was brought by the White Walkers though it could have been. Though it was just an extra point it definitely appears to get colder the further North you go. Also winter sort of appears to be linked to the White Walkers though I'm not 100% on that. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 22 '17 at 15:38
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You're conflating the literal and figurative meanings for "winter".


Winter is already here.

By this, we mean the season of winter. This has been confirmed by the maesters. I forget which episode it is (I'm looking for the quote now, but have not found it), but the maesters specifically confirmed the advent of winter.

To paraphrase what was said (in absence of a direct quote).

The maesters all agree, winter has come.

In other words, winter is already here. It will of course still grow stronger, but the current season is now winter, not summer.


Winter is coming.

This is a much more figurative statement. It is the words of house Stark. This isn't just talking about the season. When a Stark says "Winter is coming", there are a lot of possible interpretations:

  1. Summer is not permanent, it will be winter at some point.

This does address the meteorological season. However, the emphasis is on the need to prepare for winter.

  1. This happiness will not last. Life can become harder in the future.

This similarly emphasizes the need to prepare for hard times. Though not speaking about the season, but figuratively using "winter" to mean "hard times", the intention is very similar.

There is a third reason, which is the most applicable for your example, but it requires a lot of ground work to be laid to justify its meaning:

  1. The Walkers will rise up against us. They have not been permanently defeated, and this peace will not last.

This interpretation isn't actively observed by the Starks when the show starts. Ned Stark is clearly shown to not believe the Ranger who claims to have seen the Walkers. Ned ends up executing him, if he believed the threat to be real, he would have kept the eye witness around for testimony.

However, the Starks have historically been the defenders of the North, and therefore also the main line of defense against the Walkers.

  • Brandon Stark built the Wall. Though there is an argument to be made for the Wall being created magically, Brandon "the builder" Stark was at least involved (maybe building the castles rather than the wall itself) and is credited for doing so.
  • The Starks have always been the major house in the North. Even if not kings (due to bending the knee to the Iron Throne), they have functionally always ruled the North. The North is the main defense against the Walker threat. Therefore, the Starks will be expected to lead the defense against the Walkers, and will logically be incentivized to keep reminding people that the Walkers are real and not permanently defeated.

It makes perfect sense for the Stark ancestors to have chosen their words to be "Winter is coming". Maybe they acknowledged that people will stop believing in the Walkers if they haven't been seen for centuries, and therefore chose "Winter is coming" to (hopefully) always remind their descendants of the very real Walker threat.

The fact that "Winter is coming" is good advice for three separate but very real reasons, makes it highly commendable as words of wisdom.


Thematically, it also paints the Starks as good guys. All the other houses are focused on describing themselves:

  • House Baratheon - Ours is the Fury.
  • House Greyjoy - We Do Not Sow.
  • House Martell - Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.
  • House Tully - Family, Duty, Honor.
  • House Tyrell - Growing Strong

But the Starks' saying is not meant for self-aggrandizement. It isn't meant to paint the Starks as great people. It is a selfless warning to all people that they must unite.
Comparatively, the Starks are the only house whose saying inspires unity rather than distinguishing themselves from others.


That's a lot of ground work. But here's the application:

When Jon and the Northmen speak about "Winter is coming", they mean to say:

The Walkers and their army of wights are coming for us, and will be on our doorstep soon.

They are not talking about the season, they are talking about the Walkers, who thematically embody the season.


Summary and direct answer to your question

"Winter" has many meanings:

  • The actual season of winter
  • Hard times
  • The White Walkers

But in Season 7, they keep talking about preparing for the winter which is coming. So... Is the Winter here or not?

Meteorologically, winter (the season) is here. But the White Walkers are still marching for the Wall, and are therefore not there yet.

In that sense, "hard times" are also still on the way, since an attack from the White Walkers will somewhat obviously bring hard times.

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    +1 I actually like your answer a lot. Excellent conclusion and observations. I just figure I'm seeing some inconsistencies about how long it is taking for the Winter actually hit in. It seems a long time has past since the White Raven, in it just seems to have gotten a little extra chilly, and just in the north. – LeonX Aug 23 '17 at 12:09
  • I'll give some more time to see if it gets more answers. If not, I'll accept yours. – LeonX Aug 23 '17 at 12:09
  • @LeonX: I seem to remember an early season of GoT mentioning that the South (notably King's Landing) doesn't get particularly cold or snowy (also note that Gendry has never seen snow before and he should have experienced at least one previous winter), but their crops do stop growing (maybe just less to harvest rather than nothing to harvest). Presumably, it just gets a bit colder and darker without resorting to snow or freezing. – Flater Aug 23 '17 at 12:15
  • Well. I didn't expect to snow or anything. But I think some heavier clothes or something in that general direction... But nice reference about the crops. – LeonX Aug 23 '17 at 12:19

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