Game of Thrones writer explains how characters travel so quickly


For Game of Thrones purists, a nagging problem has plagued the show throughout most of its run: the question of how certain characters seem able to jump from one end of the map to the other in the blink of an eye while others take a long time to get from Point A to Point B. Not every fan is an expert in Westerosi geography, even if the opening credits every week are a 3D map, but some trips are downright astounding.

This problem has grown more pronounced in recent years. No one has been guiltier of fast-travel than Littlefinger, so much so that many joke that he must have a teleporter tucked away somewhere. Consider how, earlier in Season 6, he left the Vale in the middle of “Book of the Stranger,” the fourth episode, and arrived at Mole’s Town in the beginning of “The Door,” the fifth. That means he traveled between the Vale and Mole’s Town far faster than Sansa and Brienne traveled between Winterfell and Castle Black, a much shorter distance (it took them three episodes). Hell, that’s a lot faster than it took Littlefinger and Sansa to travel between the Vale and Winterfell, also a shorter distance, last year. (It took them two episodes).

Theon and yara have also made remarkably good time of late. In “The Broken Man,” the Greyjoy siblings are in Volantis, meaning that they sailed around the southern tip of Westeros and crossed the Narrow Sea in the time since they fled the Kingsmoot on the Iron Islands back in “The Door,” two episodes ago. That’s a lotta distance in not much time.

Game of Thrones producer and writer Bryan Cogman offered an explanation for some of the time-jumping to Entertainment Weekly:

"The timelines between the various storylines don’t necessarily line up within a given episode. For instance, the ‘Northern Tour’ Jon and Sansa embark on would probably take a couple weeks, but Arya’s storyline over the past few episodes only spans a few days. We realized a while ago that if we tied ourselves in knots trying to make all the ‘story days’ line up between all the characters the momentum would suffer."

While we can see where Bryan Cogman is coming from, because of the way the show is edited, it still looks like Littlefinger is able to make a long journey in less time than it took Sansa and Brienne to travel a shorter distance. If, as Cogman seems to be implying, Littlefinger’s journey took much longer than it seemed, why not at least bump the scene where he leaves the Vale back an episode of two so his trip appears more consistent with the other events on the show?

Below, you will find a rough illustrated version of the journeys we referenced. The blue line represents Littlefinger’s trip from the Vale to Mole’s Town in one episode, and the red line represents the Greyjoy siblings’ journey from the Iron Islands to Volantis in two. (We also rendered Yara’s journey from the Iron Islands to the Dreadfort, which took six episodes, in pink.) As you can see, the distances covered are large, and while we’re not advocating for 100% accuracy, a little more time between each jump could help give the appearance of realism. Looking at you, Littlefinger.

Do you think Cogman’s explanation holds up?