A Reign of Toads
Prehistory Before the coming of men: The lands of Westeros are inhabited by a mysterious race of diminutive humanoid creatures known as the children of the forest, as well as giants and other magical creatures.
ca.-12,000 The First Men invade Westeros: A human ethnic group from Essos, the First Men, invades Westeros by crossing the Arm of Dorne, bearing weapons of bronze. In a futile attempt to end the invasion, the children use magic to shatter the land-bridge, creating the island chain known as the Stepstones. However, the First Men are able to reinforce by ship, leading to generations of warfare over the land.
The First Men are more numerous, larger, stronger, and more technologically advanced than the children, who try to resist the invaders using their magic and obsidian weapons. It proves unsuccessful, however: the First Men gradually push deeper and deeper into Westeros, establishing hundreds of petty kingdoms.
ca.-10,000 Signing of the Pact: After years of warfare, the First Men and children of the forest come to a standstill and finally agree to a peaceful coexistence, signing the Pact on the Isle of Faces. This pact gives the First Men dominion over the open lands and lets the children keep control over the forested areas. In time, the First Men adopt the worship of the old gods of the forest.
Age of Heroes
ca.-10,000 Age of Heroes: An era during the history of Westeros, which would be named so later for the great men and women who live in the years of peace and prosperity following the forging of the Pact. The Pact endures for nearly four thousand years, and in that time, the children of the forest and the First Men grow closer. In time, the First Men set aside many of their cultural differences to embrace the ways and customs of the children of the forest. With the exception of the Drowned God of the Iron Islands and the Lady of the Waves and Lord of the Skies of the Three Sisters, the gods of the children become those of the First Men.
Many of the noble houses of Westeros today trace their lineage back to the Age of Heroes. This was the time when grand historical figures are said to have lived, such as Brandon the Builder, founder of House Stark; Lann the Clever, founder of House Lannister, who winkled Casterly Rock from the Casterlys; or Garth Greenhand, founder of House Gardener of the Reach. Also during this era the Storm Kings arise in the stormlands: a line with figures such as the founding Durran, supposed builder of Storm’s End; and the Grey King, first king of the Iron Islands.
ca.-8,000 The Long Night: In this time, night seems to last for a generation, and the longest, coldest and darkest winter descends on Westeros. The ice spreads down from the north, and under the cover of darkness, the Others invade Westeros from the uttermost north, marching, killing and raising up the dead to be their servants in unlife and nearly destroying all men in Westeros. The Long Night comes to an end with the Battle for the Dawn. The children and the First Men unite to defeat the Others with dragonglass weapons, with the Night’s Watch pushing them back into the frozen reaches of the Far North.1 Legendary figures from this time include the last hero and Azor Ahai, who wields a great sword of fire, Lightbringer.
Building of the Wall: With the Others defeated, Bran the Builder, with the aid of giants, the First Men, and perhaps the children of the forest, raises the Wall, a monumental fortification of ice and ancient magic, to shelter the realms of men from the menaces of the north. The Sworn Brotherhood of the Night’s Watch guards the Wall. It is said that Bran the Builder also built Winterfell, became the first King in the North, and founded House Stark.
The Night’s King: Not long after the Wall is complete, the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch breaks his oath. He is seduced by an Other woman from beyond the Wall, declares himself the Night’s King, and rises in rebellion with the Watch as his personal army. During the dark years of his reign, horrific atrocities are committed, of which tales would be told in the North even after several millennia. The Starks of Winterfell and the King-beyond-the-Wall, Joramun, join forces to defeat the Night’s King and thus restore honor to the Watch. This is the same Joramun who also finds the Horn of Winter, which he is said to use to awaken giants from the earth.
ca.-6,000 Foundation of the Faith: In the hills of Andalos on Essos, a new religion takes shape, called the Faith of the Seven. Supposedly, the supreme deity of the Andals appears to them, guiding them into their invasion of Westeros.
The Andal Invasion: The Andals cross the narrow sea and make landfall on its eastern shore at the Fingers, on what would one day become the Vale of Arryn. They come under the banner of the Faith of the Seven, with seven-pointed stars carved into their chests, wielding weapons of steel. They fight both the First Men and the children of the forest, sweeping the land much like the First Men did thousands of years before. When the Andals crossed the narrow sea from Essos is disputed; some sources indicate six thousand years ago,2 the True History states it was four thousand years ago, and some maesters claim it was two thousand years ago.3
For centuries the Andals war with the First Men and the children in an attempt to drive them out. One by one, the six southron kingdoms fall and the weirwoods are burned. Only the Kingdom of the North remains under the rule of the First Men, in large part due to the strategically located fortress of Moat Cailin resisting multiple attempts to take it and thereafter serving as the door between North and South. Even though the North remain secure, the children of the forest begin their slow withdrawal from the lands of men, retreating deeper into their forests and north of the Wall.
ca.-4,000 The Iron Islands fall to the Andals, ending the first line of kings ruling there uncontested for over a thousand years, originating from Urron Greyiron. Unlike in the other regions, however, Andals are assimilated to the native beliefs of the Old Way and the Drowned God.
Age of Valyria
ca.-5,000 Rise of the Valyrian Freehold: On Essos, the peaceful sheep-herding folk of the Valyrian peninsula find dragons lairing in the Fourteen Fires, an immense chain of volcanoes extending across the neck of the peninsula. The Valyrians tame the dragons with magic, which gives them the means to gain influence over the area. The Valyrian Freehold is established. In its capital, Valyria, magic flourishes, topless towers rise toward the heavens where dragons soar, stone sphinxes gaze down through eyes of garnet, and smiths forge swords of legendary strength and sharpness.
Conquest of Ghiscar: Five great wars are fought between the Ghiscari Empire, the greatest empire on the eastern peninsula, and the Freehold — wars which Valyria wins with the help of its dragons. After the last war, the Freehold utterly destroys the Ghiscari capital, slaying its people, destroying the city’s walls and streets with dragonflame, and salting and sulphuring the fields. The Ghiscari empire shattered, the Valyrian Freehold expands its influence over the surviving Ghiscari cities of Slaver’s Bay.
ca.-700 The Rhoynar migration: With the destruction of Old Ghis, the Freehold’s slow westward expansion brings it into conflict with the Rhoynish cities along the great River Rhoyne, a vast waterway. Prince Garin the Great raises an army a quarter-million strong to oppose the Valyrians, but fails utterly against their dragons.
Rhoynar evacuation: Nymeria, a Rhoynish warrior-queen, evacuates the survivors of Garin’s war, mostly women and children, on ten thousand ships across the narrow sea, seeking refuge in Dorne in southern Westeros. There, Nymeria forms a marriage alliance with Lord Mors Martell and together they finally organize the land into one kingdom, establishing House Martell as the ruling house of Dorne. Mors adopts many Rhoynish customs. The unification of Dorne under Nymeria and Mors leads to new conflicts with the kingdoms of the Reach and the Stormlands, expressed through raids, skirmishes, and the occasional wars over the centuries.
ca.-500 The Valyrian Freehold conquers much of what would be the area of the southern Free Cities. A slave revolt breaks out in a Valyrian fleet carrying thousands of captives, who decide to flee as far from Valyria as possible. Ultimately they land in a remote lagoon protected by mountains and mists, and there found the Secret City of Braavos. They later build the Titan of Braavos, a great statue which also serves as a defensive fortification.
ca.-200 The Valyrian Freehold annexes a small island at the mouth of Blackwater Bay, off the east coast of Westeros. The Targaryens, a minor Valyrian noble family, take control of the island, building a castle whose towers are shaped to look like dragons, giving it its name: Dragonstone.
ca.-100 The Doom of Valyria: The nature of the Doom is unclear, save that heavy volcanic and seismic activity are involved, likely due to the Fourteen Fires, the mountains where the dragons were first discovered. The Valyrian Peninsula is shattered and the city of Valyria is laid waste, although not completely destroyed. The dragons of Valyria are virtually wiped out and the Valyrian Freehold crumbles apart, its various city-states break apart asserting their independence, surviving to this day as the Free Cities and the cities of Slaver’s Bay.
Braavos reveals itself to the other cities, eventually becoming the most powerful of them through its vast fleet and economic power. The cities of Slaver’s Bay become independent again, although Ghiscari power begins building again in the south. The warrior-nomads of the vast eastern plains become more emboldened by the fall of Valyria, and their dominant tribe, the Dothraki, begins raiding the surrounding lands. The Targaryens remain safe on Dragonstone, the guardians of possibly the last three dragons in the western world.
The Seven Kingdoms
ca.-3000 Over the centuries following the Andal Invasion, the southern kingdoms of the first men fall, and eventually the Andals raise up six powerful kingdoms of their own.
ca.-3000 Wildling Invasion: The free folk (wildlings) unite under the brother Kings-beyond-the-Wall, Gendel and Gorne. They manage to evade the Night’s Watch and bypass the Wall in great numbers using a network of tunnels that extend under the Wall. However, they are met by the Stark king on the other side and are eventually thrown back.
ca. -700 House Stark finally subdues House Bolton, their primary antagonists for dominance in the North. Later Karlon Stark would defeat sea raiders from the east and found the cadet branch House Karstark.
In the West, the Ironborn of the Iron Islands rise to power; at their peak they control most of the western coast from Oldtown and the Arbor in the south to Bear Island in the north.
The Rhoynar, fleeing the Valyrians, migrate to Dorne. This is the last major migration into Westeros.
ca. -350 The Storm Kings expand their control of the Stormlands north to include the territory of the Riverlands up to the Neck.
Over time the ironborn lose many of their holdings but, some three generations before Aegon’s Landing, conquer the territory of the Riverlands from the Stormlands. An ironborn king, Harren Hoare, builds Harrenhal.
2BC-1 AC The War of Conquest: Aegon the Conqueror invades Westeros and in two years’ time subdues and unites six of the seven kingdoms of Westeros under his banner and constructs a new capital city at King’s Landing. He is unable to conquer Dorne and allows it to remain sovereign. With the destruction of the Storm King, Argilac the Arrogant, and the death of the last King of the Reach, control of the castle of Storm’s End passes to Aegon’s bastard half-brother Orys Baratheon, and of Highgarden to Harlen Tyrell. Edmyn Tully of Riverrun is named Lord of the Riverlands and Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke becomes Lord of the Iron Islands. The day of Aegon’s coronation by the High Septon in Oldtown becomes the first day of Aegon’s reign, beginning 1 AC.
41-48 AC The Faith Militant uprising: Upon Aegon I’s death, his son Aenys I takes the throne. He angers the Faith when he marries his eldest daughter to his eldest son, leading to an uprising against the Targaryens. Aenys is incapable of dealing with the crisis, and eventually dies of a short illness on Dragonstone in 42 AC. Dowager Queen Visenys, leading the care for Aenys, brings her son Maegor, Aenys’ brother, back from his exile, and Maegor is crowned king, despite Aenys having three sons all before Maegor in the line of succession. Maegor’s response to the Faith’s uprising is ruthless and brutal, resulting in the deaths of thousands in battle, through slaughter and by dragonfire. Besides the Faith’s uprising, Maegor also has to deal with Prince Aegon, Aenys I’s eldest son, battling him for the throne, and later Prince Jaehaerys, who makes his claim known towards the end of Maegor’s reign.
48 AC Jaehaerys the Conciliator: King Jaehaerys I succeeds King Maegor, who by that time is known as Maegor the Cruel. He declares a truce and agrees to end the slaughter in return for the Faith Militant disbanding and submitting to the Targaryens, earning the name The Conciliator. Jaehaerys’ rule brings decades of peace and prosperity to the realm.
129-131 AC The Dance of the Dragons: The first major civil war in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, in 129-131 AC: a war of succession between Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra Targaryen over their father’s throne. It consumes them both, as well as most of the Targaryen family and their remaining dragons. The war ends with Aegon III, son of Rhaenyra, being crowned.
131-157 AC Death of the last dragon: King Aegon Targaryen struggles to breed healthy dragons – those he does manage to produce are born weak and sickly. He is unable to prevent the death of the last one, earning himself the title ‘Dragonbane’. The last dragons leave behind several eggs which the Targaryens fail to hatch. These eggs are later destroyed or lost, leading to what is popularly believed to be the extinction of dragons.
157-161 AC Daeron conquers Dorne: Upon taking the throne at age fourteen, King Daeron I decides to finish Aegon the Conqueror’s work and launches a successful invasion of Dorne. Unfortunately, he leaves a Tyrell of Highgarden in charge: a house that has warred with the Martells for thousands of years. The tyrannical rule of the Tyrells triggers an uprising against the Iron Throne. When Daeron I returns with a fresh army, he is killed, his cousin Prince Aemon the Dragonknight is captured and his forty thousand men are lost.
161-171 AC Reign of King Baelor the Blessed, the septon king. Baelor manages to forge a peace treaty with Dorne. It is said that he made this peace by walking the Boneway barefoot and rescuing his cousin, Prince Aemon “the Dragonknight” Targaryen, from a viper pit. He builds the Great Sept in King’s Landing, which is later renamed the Great Sept of Baelor.
Baelor locks his sisters in the Maidenvault of the Red Keep so the sight of them will not tempt him to carnal thoughts. Despite this, his sister Daena the Defiant has an affair with her cousin Aegon (later crowned Aegon IV) and gives birth to a bastard son, Daemon Blackfyre.
ca.170 AC Prince Daeron, second cousin of Baelor I, and Princess Myriah Martell of Dorne are married and have their first son, Prince Baelor.
171-172 AC Reign of King Viserys II.
172-184 AC Reign of King Aegon IV Targaryen, Aegon the Unworthy, held to be the worst king in the history of Westeros. On his deathbed Aegon IV legitimises all his bastards, including the so-called ‘Great Bastards’: Daemon Blackfyre, Aegor Rivers, Brynden Rivers and Shiera Seastar. He is succeeded by his son, Daeron II, but his legitimacy is called into question due to his mother’s close relationship with her second brother, Aemon Targaryen.
184-209 AC Reign of Daeron II.
187 AC Dorne formally joins the Seven Kingdoms through the marriage of King Daeron II’s younger sister Daenerys to Prince Maron Martell. After his wedding, Prince Maron swears his fealthy to the Iron Throne.4
196-196 AC The First Blackfyre Rebellion: The second major civil war of Westeros erupts after Daemon Blackfyre puts a claim on the Iron Throne based on Daeron II’s illegitimacy. With many lords declaring for him, Daemon Blackfyre marches his forces on King’s Landing but is defeated in the Battle of the Redgrass Field. He is killed by his half-brother, Brynden Rivers, yet several of his sons escape to the Free Cities with Aegor Rivers.
209 AC The events of The Hedge Knight take place. Prince Baelor ‘Breakspear’ Targaryen, the heir to the throne, is killed in a tourney mishap. A few months later, King Daeron II and Baelor’s two sons die in the Great Spring Sickness. Daeron II’s second son, Aerys I, becomes king. Prince Baelor’s nephew Aegon becomes squire to a hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall, in the hope of improving his mettle.
209-221 AC Reign of King Aerys I.
211 AC The events of The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight take place. As depicted in The Sworn Sword, House Webber and House Osgrey of the Reach become allies. Bloodraven has become the King’s Hand by this time, angering Prince Maekar, brother to Aerys and the late Baelor.
The Second Blackfyre Rebellion: Blackfyre loyalists attempt to launch a second rebellion, but Bloodraven exposes the plan, the Pretender, Daemon II Blackfyre, and executes many of the conspirators before a battle needs to be fought. These events are depicted in The Mystery Knight.
221-233 AC Reign of King Maekar I Targaryen. During Maekar’s reign his eldest son Daeron dies of the pox and his second son Aerion “Brightflame” dies after drinking wildfire. His third son, Aemon, has already taken his maesters vows. Maekar dies battling an outlaw lord. Aemon refuses the crown and removes himself to the Wall. Prince Aegon becomes Aegon V, the Unlikely, as he is the fourth son of a fourth son. Bloodraven is exiled to the Wall by the new King, later becoming Lord Commander.
226 AC Beyond the wall: The free folk unite under Raymun Redbeard, King-Beyond-the-Wall. Taking the Night’s Watch unawares, they scale the Wall and invade the North. They are eventually stopped at the Battle of Long Lake by a Stark host led by Lord Willam Stark.
259 AC The Tragedy of Summerhall: King Aegon V and his heir, Prince Duncan, are killed in a great fire at the Targaryen’s summer palace. The fire was triggered by an unsuccessful attempt to hatch the last three dragon eggs left in the west, and it heralded or directly contributed to Rhaegar Targaryen’s birth.
259-262 AC Reign of Aegon’s second son Jaehaerys II.
260 AC The War of the Ninepenny Kings: War erupts when the Band of Nine, including Maelys Blackfyre, after having conquered the Free City of Tyrosh and the Stepstones, begin to move towards the Seven Kingdoms. King Jaehaerys calls his banners to bring the attack to the Stepstones. Barristan Selmy kills Maelys. Brynden Tully distinguishes himself in the war. Prince Aerys Targaryen is knighted by Ser Tywin Lannister. Hand of the King Ormund Baratheon dies in the hands of his son, Ser Steffon.
262-283 AC Reign of Aerys II, the Mad King. He appoints the ruthless young Tywin Lannister as his Hand.
276 AC King Aerys spurns Tywin Lannister’s offer of his daughter Cersei for Prince Rhaegar.
277 AC The Defiance of Duskendale takes place a while later, when House Darklyn refuses to pay taxes to the Iron Throne. Aerys, eager to sort out the situation himself, ends up being taken prisoner. Duskendale is besieged for six months before Barristan Selmy manages to free the king.