Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones upto season 6. The world in A Song of Ice and Fire has a vastly rich history. Both Westeros and Essos have had their share of significant events and wars which lead us to the current state in the TV Series.
This is my attempt to embrace brevity and compress this huge timeline of brutal killings, spectacular wars, shrewd tactics, political geniuses and magnificent victories into ~ 50 sentences. I will be abstracting away many details and events to show you the bird’s eye view of the history of Game of Thrones.
Ready?, here we go…
- Children of the forest, who carved faces into Weirwood trees, were the original inhabitants of Westeros.
- The First Men invade Westeros, coming from Essos via the Arm of Dorne which connected both at that point.
- Many wars take place between Children and the First Men, the Children create White Walkers to protect themselves from First Men.
- First Men make a peace pact with Children, start worshipping old gods of the forest.
- After many years, the great winter comes down from north, along with white walkers who are out of control now, causing heavy destruction and loss of life to both Children and the First Men.
- Children and First Men defeat White Walkers unitedly, with some legends saying they were led by a figure called Azor Ahai, who forged a powerful sword from his loving wife’s blood to defeat white walkers. (According to a prophecy which Melisandre believes in, he is reborn as The Price That Was Promised)
- Brandon Stark raises The Wall and starts Night’s Watch to protect from such a threat in future.
- Some First Men tribes who were trapped north of the wall during its construction become The Wildlings.
- The Andals come from Essos and invade most of Westeros to the south of the neck, killing remaining Children of the forest in the process and bringing the Faith of the Seven.
- First Men and Andals make peace, intermarry and Andal family comes to rule in Vale. The Vale of the Arryns.
- The Valyrians find dragons in a volcano called Fourteen Fires who they learn to tame and use to expand their influence.
- Valyrian empire begins expanding, defeating the old Ghiscari empire and taking their cities such as Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen.
- Valyrian expansion brings them into conflict with inhabitants of Rhoynish people whose Queen Nymeria flees to Dorne, marries into Martells, and helps unify Dorne under the Martells.
- Some Valyrian slaves manage to escape to northwestern corner of Essos, settle there, and find the secret city of Braavos.
- Stormlands successfully conquer Riverlands, forming House Frey and create a bridge and castle complex at Trident, called The Twins.
- Continued Valyrian expansion takes them west across narrow sea to Dragonstone, where Targaryen family takes control. (Apparently, someone in Targaryen family had a vision that Valyria is going to be doomed.)
- Doom! The Volcano where dragons were found erupts so violently that almost all of Valyria melts and disappears, including dragons, leaving behind the Smoky Ruins of Valyria.
- The free cities and Slaver’s bay cities which Valyrians had conquered start becoming independent through a set of bloody wars.
- House Hoare of Iron Island conquers the territory of Riverlands where Harren Hoare constructs a big, big, big, formidable and impenetrable castle called Harrenhal, gaining the wrath of enslaved local Riverlanders in turn.
- Aegon Targaryen (Aegon the Conqueror) lands on Westeros with 3 dragons and his sister-wives -Rhaenys and Visenya- and builds a palace called Red Keep, later known as Kings’ Landing. Aegon’s Conquest begins..
- Harren Hoare and his entire lineage is burned alive in Harrenhal by Aegon and his dragons who then makes Tullys the lords of Riverlands because of their support.
- Aegon’s half-brother Orys Baratheon along with Rhaenys marches south and defeats Argilac Durrandon of Stormlands. Aegon names Orys the lord of stormlands, House Baratheon is born.
- The Targaryen army combines their strength and goes south to face the alliance of Gardeners of the Reach and Lannisters where all 3 dragons go on rampage, killing thousands men and extinguishing house Gardener.
- Lannisters surrender to Aegon and hence, get to keep their rule at Westerlands while House Tyrell are the new overlords of Reach.
- The Starks in the north Arryns of Vale surrender without any fight, so Aegon lets them continue ruling their regions.
- Aegon couldn’t conquer Dorne because of their guerrilla warfare and refusal to battle openly, deciding to let them be independent for now.
- Aegon gathers the swords of his defeated enemies and uses dragon’s fire to forge then into the Iron Throne.
- First major civil war after Aegon’s Conquest, called Dance of Dragons breaks out because of disputes over successors in Targaryen line. Most of the Dragons are killed in this war, and the few surviving ones die eventually.
- Brynden Rivers, who was Hand of the King to Aerys I Targaryen and helped thwart away a couple of rebellions is exiled to the Wall. Brynden later goes on to become “The Three Eyed Raven”.
- A rebellion erupts, called the war of Ninepenny kings, where rebels are eventually killed and two knights from winning side come to fame —Ser Barristan Selmy and Ser Brynden “Blackfish” Tully. Tywin Lannister also combats in this war and gets some distinction.
- During this war, Brynden’s brother Hoster Tully makes acquaintance with a Baelish lord and accepts his son Petyr Baelish as a ward in Riverrun.
- Young Tywin Lannister puts down a local Reyne Rebellion to restore Lannister dominance on Westerlands, singlehandedly builds fortune and wealth of his house, eventually earning him the Hand of the King post with Aerys II Targaryen (later known as the Mad King).
- Tywin’s wife Joanna dies giving birth to a dwarf child called Tyrion.
- Aerys II Targaryen starts getting paranoid over talks that Tywin is better ruler than him, marries his son Rhaegar to Elia Martell of Dorne instead of Cersei.
- Aerys slips into insanity and madness through various events and he starts burning people live.
- Prince Rhaegar wins a tournament at Harrenhal, and names Lyanna Stark as Queen of beauty rather than his own wife Elia Martell.
- Rhaegar kidnaps Lyanna and disappears, so, Lyanna’s brother Brandon rides to King’s Landing and demands justice, but Aerys brutally kills him and his father Rickard Stark.
- In response to this, Eddard Stark, Robert Baratheon and their mentor Jon Arryn raise banners against Aerys. Hoster Tully joins in exchange for marriage of his daughter Catelyn to Eddard.
- All the rebel forces gather at Trident, while Robert’s brother Stannis is guarding the Storm’s end, besieged by Mace Tyrell who is loyal to the king.
- During this siege, Stannis and his men run out of food. Ser Daavos Seaworth comes for rescue, smuggling onions inside Storm’s End for Stannis’ men who were starving. Hence the name “Onion Knight”.
- Prince Rhaegar comes back to Kings Landing and rides his army towards rebel forces, keeping his special guards with Lyanna at the Tower of Joy, only to get defeated and killed by Robert Baratheon at Battle of Trident.
- Realizing loss is imminent, Aerys sends his young son Viserys and pregnant wife Rhaella to the safety of Dragonstone.
- Tywin Lannister’s army reaches King’s Landing before rebel forces, allegedly to defend the city, but they brutally sack the city instead. It is during this sacking that Ser Gregor Clegane performs atrocities on Elia Martell and her children.
- Aerys is killed by Jaime before he tries to ignite the wildfire under King’s Landing. “Kingslayer”.
- On Dragonstone, Queen Rhaella dies giving birth to a girl while there is a violent storm raging outside. “Danaerys Stormborn”.
- When they realized rebel forces will arrive at Dragonstone soon, few left Targaryen loyalists smuggle Viserys and Danaerys to the safety of a free city in Essos.
- Robert is proclaimed the king due to blood relationship with Targaryens, and marries Cersei to shore up alliance.
- Eddard comes back to the Winterfell to meet his first child with Catelyn, Robb. However, he has brought an alleged bastard child as well…
- Balon Greyjoy attempts a rebellion to secede from the rest of the realm, but is defeated by the King’s forces led by Ser Jorah Mormont, forcing Balon to surrender and offer his only living son, Theon as hostage and ward to Winterfell.
- His extremely miserable personal life forces Jorah into exile on Essos where he ultimately meets Danaerys, but he leaves behind his Valyrian steel sword Longclaw.
I know this was a little over 50 sentences but I have already omitted so many important details. If you’re interested in learning more, visit the links below.
- https://historyblog.live/ (An excellent blog on history of Game of Thrones)