The world knows all too well about George RR Martin’s thirst for killing off his characters. The death of Ned Stark, Robb Stark, Oberyn Martell, and etc haunt us to this day. However, in the middle of killing people off, he somehow predicted the Coronavirus! In his books A Song of Ice and Fire, he predicted an outbreak like COVID-19 coronavirus (SARS-CoV2), with similar consequences. Game of Thrones show didn’t mention anything about it, but the books did and that’s what we’re here for!
100 years before Game of Thrones
Westeros was under the rule of Daeron II Targaryen. Now, Daeron was a kind-hearted, just and scholarly king, which was a much-needed change from his father, Aegon the unworthy. Westeros has never seen a worst king than Aegon the IV (Unworthy). So much so that he could even give the Mad King a run for his money! But, that is a story for another time. What we need to know is that Daeron was a just king, who tried to right the many wrongs that his father did.
He brought peace to the realm, especially with his peace with Dorne. Even after the first Blackfyre Rebellion, which was a battle between the Targaryen bastard House, Blackfyre and the Targaryens, Westeros remained prosperous.
In short, he was a good king! But, A Song of Ice And Fire and George RR Martin aren’t known for its happy endings, and Daeron the Good’s rule didn’t get one either. It was the Great Spring Sickness, just like the CoronaVirus.
The CoronaVirus of the Seven Kingdoms
Game of Thrones never mentioned this in the show, but there were many references to it in the books. It was A Song of Ice and Fire’s own version of a global pandemic, called the Great Spring Sickness. It began in 209 AC, in the 25th year of Daeron’s reign.
Many thousands died in this sickness. The deaths were mainly concentrated in the major cities because people over there lived in close proximity. The plague sickness spread so quickly, that it would kill a strong man within a single day. Cities like Old Town, Lannisport suffered the most, but the deaths in King’s Landing were at another level. It is said that almost 4 people in every 10 people die from this Pandemic. Such was the scale of this disease.
Sadly, we do not have exact details of the virus, because the world in A Song of Ice and Fire is still feudal and primitive. But, we do know that this plague affected and killed noblemen and common folk alike.
Some influentials died because of this Sickness, including King Daeron himself
A number of lords and people from royalties died in the A Song of Ice and Fire universe. Most notably, King Daeron succumbed to the sickness, along with his two immediate heirs Valarr and Matarys. Moreover, the Hand of the King, High Septon, and all the Silent Sisters, who cleaned dead bodies, died in this sickness. The loss of life was almost biblical. Even most of the hostages taken during the Blackfyre rebellion died because of the sickness.
In the end, Lord Brynden Rivers, who became the Hand of the King had all the bodies disposed and burned by wildfire in the Dragon Pit. Fun Fact: We all know Brynden Rivers from Game of Thrones too. We just know him as “The Three-Eyed Raven”! Yes, the same Three-Eyed Raven that Bran Stark took 6 seasons to find! But, that’s a story for a future article.
In short, it was unprecedented times in Westeros, a lot like how we’re facing right now with CoronaVirus. Plagues and viruses are a part of human history, and pretty much caused by us too. Just like that, George RR Martin predicted it in his A Song of Ice and Fire books too. Game of Thrones might have omitted this detail from the show, but sadly we’re seeing something similar in real life with COVID-19. We really hope it doesn’t get nearly as serious as it did in the books.