Timeline of History

Understanding the events that have happened in the past is paramount to understanding the current GoT world we are experiencing today. The history of the Known World dates back approximately 12,000 years. Similar to the way real-life history is measured in context to the death of Jesus (BC or AD), historys timeline in GoT is measured in context to Aegon’s Landing on Westeros; rather than BC or AD, GoT timeline is measured in BAL (before Aegon’s Landing) and AL (After Landing). That history is measured in context to Aegon’s Landing underscores the historical significance of this event.

The Game of Thrones series starts in 298AL. Put into perspective, the “recent” world of Westeros that ensued after Aegon’s Landing is a very young history of only 300 years, when compared to the greater history of the Known World that existed for 12,000 years prior to Aegon’s Landing. There is an incredibly rich and expansive history that the show only touches upon through rare dialogue and quick reference. Having a better understanding of this history and its timeline will allow you to appreciate more fully the GoT world. While most of these events are expanded upon in greater details throughout this website, it is helpful to see these events in chronological order.

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Prehistory: Like most worlds, it is unknown how or when the world was created. As such, it is unclear how far back history actually dates. However, it is known that Westeros was first inhabited more than 12,000 years ago by a magical humanoid species called the Children of the Forest.
12,000BAL Arrival of the First Men: The very first human inhabitants of Westeros, the First Men arrive on Westeros from the eastern continent of Easteros. For the next 2,000 years, they engage in war with the Children of the Forest. Though the Children of the Forest possessed magic, they were outnumbered by the First Men, who also were bigger, stronger and possessed greater weaponry.

10,000BAL

The Pact is signed: Bringing an end to 2,000 years of constant war, the First Men sign the Pact with the Children of the Forest. Amongst other things, the Pact states that the Children of the Forest would maintain all forest lands, which were sacred and holy to them, while the First Men would have the rights to all open lands outside the forests.
Age of prosperity: For nearly 4,000 years, the Children of the Forest and the First Men live in wonderful peace together. The First Men adapt the culture and religion of the Children of the Forest, worshipping the weirwood forests of the Old Gods. It was during this time that many of Westeros’ legendary lived such as Brandon Stark, founder of House Stark and Lann the Clever, founder of House Lannister.

8,000BAL

The Long Night: A long, dark and freezing cold winter sweeps over the entire continent of Westeros, lasting an entire generation. It is the longest and coldest winter to ever come across Westeros. In this darkness, the White Walkers invade from the deep north of Westeros, killing all life they come across and raising an army of wights, resurrected corpses that march under their command. During the Battle of the Dawn, the Children of the Forest and the First Men fight back the White Walkers using weapons made from Dragonglass.
The Wall: With the White Walkers defeated, Bran the Builder, with the help of the First Men, giants, and the magic of the Children of the Forest, constructs a magnificent wall of ice to protect the realm from White Walkers and any other dangers that lurked beyond the Wall. It is at this time that he also builds the great fortress of Winterfell and founds House Stark.

6,000BAL

The Andal Invasion: The supreme godly spirits of the Faith of the Seven appear to the Andal people that inhabited the Hills of Andalos, located on the continent of Easteros. After being blessed by these supernatural powers, the Andal people leave Easteros and invade Westeros, much the same as the First Men did 6,000 years prior. Attempting to spread the religion of the Faith of the Seven, the Andals wage war against the First Men and Children of the Forest for many centuries. The Andals successfully overtake the six southern kingdoms, wiping out most of the First Men and Children of the Forest. With them, the Andals not only bring a new religion, but also a new spoken and written language which would supplant that which had existed amongst the First Men and Children.

5,000BAL

The Valyrian Freehold is born: Previously a quiet sheep-herding people living on the continent of Easteros, the Valyrians discover dragons beneath the Fourteen Flames, an enormous chain of volcanoes located in Valyria. Using magic, the Valyrians spend years learning to tame the dragons; once tamed, the Valyrians become immensely powerful. They establish the Valyrian Freehold, a collection of city-states under the control of the Valyrians. Valyria becomes the capital of the Freehold, and develops into the greatest civilization that ever existed. Magic flourishes, towers are built to the heavens, dragons fly the skies, and great swords made of Valyrian steel are forged.
The Freehold expands: Over the next 5,000 years, Valyrians would use the power of their dragons to conquer the majority of Easteros. The Valyrians first defeat the Ghiscari Empire, the most powerful civilization that existed at the time. Next, despite facing an army of a quarter-million soldiers, the Valyrians defeat the great nation of Rhoyne. After defeating the two most powerful civilizations, they go on to conquer several more cities of Easteros until their Freehold covers almost the entire continent of Easteros

3,000BAL

The Wildling invasion: The Wildlings beyond the wall unite for the first time and successfully bypass the Night’s Watch, making it south of the Wall. Thanks to House Stark their invasion is put down and they are forced back north of the Wall. Over the next several thousand years, they would make more attempts to march on the Wall.

200BAL

Dragonstone is built: As they continue to expand further west, the Valyrians claim control of a small island just off the coast of Westeros. This marks the most western piece of land that is claimed by the Valyrian Freehold, and is only a few miles off the coast of Westeros. The island is controlled by one of the strongest Valyrian families, the Targaryens, who go on to build a castle with towers that look like dragons, earning it the name of Dragonstone.

100BAL

The Doom of Valyria: Though the exact cause is unknown, the Doom of Valyria was a cataclysmic event that involved the eruption of the Fourteen Flames, the chain of Valyrian volcanoes where dragons were first discovered. Though not totally wiped out, in less than one day, the once great empire of Valyria was destroyed, with most all of the Valyrians and their dragons being killed. Safe on Dragonstone, the Targaryens are thought to be the only major Valyrian family that survived the Doom. They are also believed to be guardians of the only remaining dragons.
Easteros restructures: Prior to the Doom, the Valyrian Freehold had taken claim to most all of Easteros. With the Freehold wiped out by the Doom, the continent of Easteros experiences a major shift in its structure.

  • Independence is declared by the city-states that were previously a part of the Valyrian Freehold; to this day, these cities are still referred to as the Free Cities
  • The once great civilization of Old Ghis, which had been destroyed by the Valyrian Freehold thousands of years prior, begins to rebuild.
  • Hidden by mist and mountains and its existence previously unknown, the secret city of Braavos reveals itself to the rest of Easteros. It emerges as not only a prosperous and powerful city, but also one of great magic and mystique.
  • The warrior-nomad tribe of the Dothraki begins to raid neighboring lands and grow in strength and numbers.

1AL

Aegon’s Conquest: 100 years after the Doom of Valyria, Aegon and his two sisters fly their dragons from Dragonstone and land upon Westeros; the location of their landing would forever go on to be known as King’s Landing. In his 2-year conquest, Aegon successfully unites under Targaryen rule six of the Seven Kingdoms; Aegon is unable to defeat Dorne and allows them to remain sovereign, though they later join the realm through an arranged marriage. In the aftermath of his Conquest, the original Seven Kingdoms are eliminated, and nine regions of Westeros are established under the rule of the Iron Throne. House Greyjoy becomes overlord of the Iron Islands, House Tully of the Riverlands, House Tyrell of the Reach and House Baratheon of the Stormlands. Though no longer kings, House Stark remain overlords of the North, House Lannister overlords of the Westernlands, House Arryn overlords of the Vale. For the next 280 years, the Targaryens would rule over Westeros from the Iron Throne.

140AL

Death of the last dragon: 140 years after Aegon’s Conquest, the last dragon dies. It is said that the Targaryens were unable to successfully breed healthy dragons without the magic of Valyria. After the death of the last dragon, several dragon eggs were left behind, but the Targaryens were unable to hatch them. It is said that those eggs were either lost or destroyed.

170AL

Dorne joins the realm: One of the great Targaryen kings, who was also high septon, Baelor the Blessed arranges for his Targaryen cousin to marry a Martell princess of Dorne. This marriage results in Dorne finally joining the realm under Targaryen rule, something Aegon was unable to achieve during his Conquest.

220AL

Aemon refuses the throne: Aemon Targaryen, next in line for the throne, refuses his birthright to become king on the Iron Throne and decides to pursue the simple life of a maestar instead.

260AL

The reign of the Mad King: King Aerys II, otherwise known as the Mad King, ascends the throne and begins his rule over the Seven Kingdoms, which would last the next 20 years. He appoints the young and ambitious Tywin Lannister to be his Hand. Tywin proposes that the Mad King marry his son, Prince Rhaegar, to Tywin’s daughter, Cercei in an effort to strengthen the ties between House Lannister and House Targaryen. The Mad King refuses Tywin’s offer, and instead marries Prince Rhaegar to Elia Martell of Dorne, strengthening ties between Targaryens and Martells.

270AL

The Defiance of Duskendale: House Darklyn of Duskendale refuses to pay taxes to the Iron Throne, and King Aerys II goes to Duskendale himself to handle the situation. Things do not go to plan and King Aerys is taken prisoner, where he is held captive for six months, until Ser Barristan Selmy rescues him. It is said that being held captive for six months turned King Aerys II into the Mad King and he was never the same after. He grew resentful of Tywin Lannister, who was hand to the king, but did not rescue him sooner.

281AL

Tensions rise with the Mad King: By this point, the Mad King has earned his name due to his wild paranoia and savage practices. He has spent the last several years killing anybody he believes to be a traitor, generally burning them alive as he has become obsessed with fire. In an attempt to get back at Tywin Lannister, the Mad King declares Jaime a member of the Kingsguard, which leaves Tywin with no suitable heir to Casterly Rock. As tensions rise, Tywin abandons his position of hand to the king and returns to Casterly Rock.
     282AL Robert’s Rebellion begins: With many of the northern houses already in great protest of the tyrannical and psychotic Mad King, all that was needed was a spark to start a rebellion; that spark came when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen abducts Lyanna Stark, sister of Ned Stark and wife-to-be of Robert Baratheon. The Mad King then kills Brandon and Rickon Stark, Lyanna’s other brother and father, who ride to King’s Landing to save her. In response, Houses Stark, Baratheon, Tully and Arryn raise their banners against the Iron Throne.

289AL

The Greyjoy Rebellion: Tired of living subservient to a king and questioning Robert Baratheon’s claim to the throne, Balon Greyjoy launches the Greyjoy Rebellion in an attempt to free the Iron Islands from the rule of the Iron Throne.  His efforts are crushed and his only son, Theon, is taken captive and raised by House Stark of Winterfell.

297AL

The truth is discovered: After discovering the truth that the heirs to the throne are not actually of Baratheon blood, but rather born out of incest between Cercei and Jaime Lannister, Jon Arryn is poisoned before he can spread the word.

298AL

GoT begins: Nearly 300 years after Aegon’s Conquest, the Game of Thrones series begins.
White Walkers reappear: After thousands of years without an encounter, White Walkers reappear when they are encountered in the North by the Night’s Watch.
War of the Five Kings: After King Robert Baratheon’s death, the War of Five Kings ensues, a great war between many men claiming their legitimacy to the throne. This war is central to the GoT series as it starts and continues for many years. The five kings were: Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon, Rob Stark and Balon Greyjoy.

299AL

 

Dragons are born: After nearly 150 years without a living dragon, Daenerys Targaryen hatches three dragon eggs on the continent of Easteros.
Night’s Watch move north: As reports of strange occurrences grow louder and more frequent, a depleted Night’s Watch moves north of the Wall.
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