How quickly did Gendry travel back to Eastwatch? How much time did it take for a raven to reach Dragonstone? And finally, how long it took for Daenerys and her dragons to arrive beyond the wall? These are the questions plaguing Game of Thrones fans, who think that this was a massive plot hole in episode 6 of season 7. However, Redditor Buffalo_Danger thinks that the whole sequence was pretty feasible and Jon Snow & his team were stranded on that frozen lake for just about a day. He explains:
I’m anticipating that there’s gonna be a fair bit of bitching and moaning about how quickly Gendry relayed the Just Ice League’s message to Dany. Like a lot of people in this sub, I think that too many showwatchers have a pretty fragile ability to suspend disbelief, but I thought I’d offer a semi-plausible rationalization anyway:
- The whole concept of messenger ravens is fantastical. To my knowledge, the only widespread “avian messenger systems” used homing pigeons because of their unique ability to navigate with the Earth’s magnetic field. Ravens are smart birds, but they’re nonmigratory. The sheer size of the maesters’ raven network is also preposterously large and complex for a medieval society. In other words, we’re already far beyond the realm of realism before anything involving this specific message.
- On this map it appears that the distance from Eastwatch to Dragonstone is 1800-2000 miles, about the same distance as Seattle to Chicago. From my 5 minutes of internet research, it seems like this scale is based entirely on a single description of the Wall as being 100 leagues long, and one statement from GRRM that 1 league = 3 miles. GRRM has mentioned that he regrets making the Wall so large, so I’m gonna call this an exaggeration and cut all the distances in half (also because my math doesn’t work otherwise).
- The Wikipedia article on homing pigeons claims that the top speed of a pigeon over short distances is 90 mph and 50 mph for moderate distances. 900-1000 miles is pushing the limits of how far pigeons can travel (certainly over one day) but idgaf because this world already has dragons and ice zombies, so we’re gonna make this hypothetical messenger bird a super raven that can cruise at 90 mph forever.
- I can’t find the post, but yesterday someone noted that one of the first landscape shots in the episode is at the same location that Jon & Co. lay the ambush to capture a wight. It’s obviously just a filming shortcut because HBO doesn’t have infinite money to scout locations in the Icelandic wilderness (but some kneelers are probably calling it a fuck-up that breaks their immersion). For our purposes, it’s very convenient to presume that they were walking in circles on the zombie hunt, and so we’ll say that Gendry only had to run 26.2 miles back to the Wall. The fastest marathon time is about 2 hours, but we’ll cut Gendry some slack since he was wearing some pretty bulky clothes and say it took him 3 hours.
What can we conclude from all this ironclad evidence?
Gendry’s marathon: 3 hours
Super raven’s 900-mile flight to Dragonstone: 10 hours
Dany getting her shit together/arguing with Tyrion: 1 hour
Dragon-flight back to zombie island: 10 hours
Therefore, if you squint your eyes (and remember that we’re talking about a sword-and-sorcery TV show and not a Ken Burns documentary), the whole sequence took 24 hours. This comports with the Just Ice League’s overnight standoff with the Army of the Dead.