The geography is Game of Thrones is practically a character in its own right, which is why it isn’t surprising that its susceptible to theories and wild twists just like the characters. One such theory says Westeros and Essos are actually connected if you look at the globe — and if that’s true, it would be a game changer for Daenery Targaryen and Jon Snow.
Now as a caveat, George R.R. Martin has previously shot this theory down. But he also said Daenerys isn’t fireproof, and yet the show has chosen to portray her as such by having her emerge from flames unburnt twice. Maybe things are different in the show, but more importantly, it’s fun to talk about this stuff. So here we go.
The continents of Westeros and Essos have a connection via the Stepstones — a chain of islands by Dorne, between the narrow Sea and Summer sea. But this new theory posits that they’re also connected through the far away Land of Always Winter, where the White Walkers dwell. On a two-dimensional map, this seems crazy, but remember that the Earth isn’t flat. Presumably, neither is Planetos. According to the cartographic theory, the map Thrones fans are so familiar with is skewed. The North pole isn’t directly past the Wall, but actually somewhere above The Thousand Isles near the top of Essos. The rest of the map — including a theoretical extension to Essos — curves around this point, eventually linking Westeros and Esso together.
Here’s the map outlining this connection:
And here, via an illustrator on an old Reddit thread, is a loose sketch of what something like this could look like on a hemisphere of a spherical planet:
Why would this be a big deal for Dany and Jon? In A Clash of Kings, a Shadowbinder tells Dany, “To go north, you must journey south, to reach the west you must go east. To go forward you must go back and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.”
Most fans agree that the last line refers to the mysterious land of Asshai. It’s in Essos near the Shadow Lands, and nobody really knows what the “shadow” refers to to. In general, people in Westeros know very little about Asshai and the Shadow Lands. But it’s filled with dark magic, and it’s where Melisandre hails from. It’s also where Dany’s dragon eggs came from. It’s therefore been an important offscreen presence from the very beginning.
Since Melisandre brought Jon Snow back to life in Season 6 and the show took the time to reveal her true nature as an ancient crone, it’s safe to say that the Red Woman has a role to play in the wars to come.
If the mysterious land she hails from is actually connected to Westeros, could Jon or Daenerys need to venture there in order to uncover the key to defeating the White Walkers? They’ll probably need magic to do it, since the Children of the Forest created them with magic. Jon has also been shown in the far North in the Season 7 trailer.
Recall, too, that Shadow magic hasn’t really been addressed since Melisandre gave birth to a shadow assassin back in Season 2. Game of Thrones certainly likes to circle back to old plot points far down the line, as Season 6 brought back Benjen Stark — who disappeared back in Season 1.
Alternately even if Asshai is not significant, the Citadel where Sam is learning important information is in Essos. If Westeros and Essos were connected, it would be that much easier for Sam to tell Jon the truth about his real parents.
George R.R. Martin maintains that this geographical theory is not relevant — but A Show could still venture where A Man does not.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres on July 16 on HBO.