Men of the Night's Watch
History of Westeros
A Brief History of Westeros
All dates are in relation to the Landing of Aegon the Conqueror, using negative numbers for events before Aegon’s Landing. Note, that ‘ca’ is an abbreviation for the Latin word ‘circa’, meaning around, or approximately.
The Dawn Age
Before the coming of men, Westeros is inhabited by mysterious diminutive humanoid creatures known as the Children of the Forest, giants and other magical creatures.
The First Men, a human ethnic group, invades Westeros across the Arm of Dorne, bearing weapons of bronze, leather shields, and horses. The Children of the Forest used magic to raise the seas and sweep away the land, shattering the Arm of Dorne and, thus, creating the island chain known as the Stepstones. Their magic wasn’t enough to overcome the more numerous, larger, stronger, and more technologically advanced First Men. Consequentially the First Men gradually took control of Westeros.
Signing of the Pact: After years of warfare, the First Men and Children of the Forest agree to a truce, giving the First Men control of the open lands and coastlines and the Children of the Forest the interiors and deep forests. In time, the First Men adopt the worship of the Old Gods of the Forest.
The Age of Heroes
Age of Heroes, an era during the history of Westeros which takes its name from the great men and women who lived in the years of peace and prosperity that followed the forging of the Pact. The First Men set aside many of their cultural differences and embraced many of the ways of the children of the forest. Many noble houses trace their family histories to this time and many stories, songs, and legends are told about it.
The Long Night: In this time night seemed to last for a generation and the longest, coldest and darkest winter descended on Westeros. The ice spread down from the North and, in the veil of darkness, the Others invaded Westeros from beyond The Wall, marching, killing and raising up the dead to be their servants. The Long Night came to an end following the Battle of the Dawn, after the Children and the First Men rise united to defeat the Others, with dragonglass weapons, pushing them back into the frozen reaches of the Far North. They were led by a great hero, who in an eastern tradition is named Azor Ahai, and wields a great sword of fire, Lightbringer.
Founding of the Wall: With the Others defeated, legend tells that Bran the Builder. With the aid of the giants, First Men, and, perhaps, the Children of the forest, raised up the Wall. The Wall is a giant 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 was formed to man and guard it.
It’s said that the castle of Storm’s End is built in the south, by Bran the Builder who also constructs Winterfell and becomes the first King In The North.
The Night’s King: Not long after the Wall was complete, the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch betrayed his oath. According to legend, he was seduced by a wight woman from beyond the Wall. Declaring himself the Night’s King, he rose in rebellion against the North, with the Watch as his personal army. During the dark years of his reign, horrific atrocities were committed, of which tales are still told in the North. It said that the Starks of Winterfell and the King Beyond the Wall, Joramun, join forces to defeat the Night’s King and restore honor to the Watch. This is the same Joramun who also finds the Horn of Winter, which it is said he uses to awaken giants from the earth.
The Andal Invasion
The worship of the Faith of the Seven took shape, spreading in the Hills of Andalos on the Essos, of the eastern continent. According to legend, it is then when their supreme deity, appeared to them, guiding them into their invasion of Westeros.
The Andal Invasion: A race of men from Essos, the Andals, crossed the Narrow Sea and invaded Westeros, landing on its eastern shore, on what would one day become known as the Vale. The Andals brought weapons of steel, bolstered by fervor for the Faith of the Seven. They fought both the First Men and the Children of the Forest, sweeping the land much as the First Men did thousands of years before. The Andal invaders proved too much for the First Men and the Children driving them north. One by one, their kingdoms fell and weirwood burned, with only the North remaining in the hands of the First Men, in large part due to the strategical location of Moat Cailin. The fortress was able to resist multiple sieges and thereafter served as the door between North and South. Even though the North remained secure, the Children of the Forest began their slow withdrawal from the lands of men, retreating deeper into their forests beyond the Wall.
Age of Valyria
Rise of Valyrian Freehold: Once a race of humble shepherds, the Valyrians rose to greatness by taming the dragons, discovered lairing in the Fourteen Fires on the Valyrian Peninsula. There magic flowered, topless towers rose toward the heavens where dragons soared, stone sphinxes gazed down through eyes of garnet, and smiths forged swords of legendary strength and sharpness. With their Dragons and Magic the Valyrians began expanding their influence.
Conquest of Ghis: Ghiscar was the greatest empire of the eastern continent and its rulers were greedy conquerors, always looking to swallow up more lands. Five times Ghiscari warred with the Valyrian Freehold, trying to subdue it and its dragons, and five times they were defeated. Until eventually the Freehold struck back, utterly shattering Ghiscar. Slaying its people, grinding its cities to dust, pulling down its walls, and completely destroying Old Ghis. This expanded the Valyrian Freehold to include all of the Ghiscari lands and their colonies around Slaver’s Bay.
The Rhoynar Invasion: With the destruction of Old Ghis, Valyrian 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, to stand against Valyrian Dragons.
Rhoynar evacuation: Nymeria, Rhoynish warrior-queen, evacuates survivors of Garin’s war (mostly women and children) in ten thousand ships. She transports her people across the Narrow Sea, seeking refuge in Dorne. There Nymeria forged a marriage alliance with Lord Mors Martell which unified the fractious land of Dorne under one house, House Martell, and ensured the safety of her people. Mors adopts many Rhoynish Customs to welcome his bride and her kin. 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.
The Valyrian Freehold conquers much of what is now the area of the southern Free Cities. A religious sect, the Moonsingers, lead many thousands of refugees north to a remote lagoon protected by encircling 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 defensive fortification.
The Valyrian Freehold annexes a small island, at the mouth of Blackwater Bay off the east coast of Westeros. The Targaryens, a Valyrian noble family, take control of the island building castle whose tower shaped of stone and look like Dragons, giving its name Dragonstone.
The Doom of Valyria: The nature of the Doom is unclear, save that heavy volcanic activity is involved. It is speculated that the Fourteen Fires may have been involved, the mountains where the dragons were first discovered. The Valyrian Peninsula is shattered and the city of Valyria is laid to waste. The dragons of Valyria are virtually wiped out and the Valyrian Freehold crumbles apart, its various city states broke 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 their 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 War of Conquest: Aegon the Conqueror invades Westeros, 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 Faith Militant uprising: Upon Aegon’s death his son Aenys I, born of incest, takes the throne. The Faith of the Seven objects his ascension and leads a popular uprising against the Targaryens. Unable to deal with crisis Aenys I assigns his brother and heir, Maegor, to deal with it. Maegor I used ruthless and brutal methods to crush the rebellion, which resulted in the deaths of thousands.
King Jaehaerys I, succeeds King Maegor I, who by that time is known as Maegor the Cruel. Jaehaerys I puts an ends to the Faith Militant uprising through peaceful means, earning the name “The Conciliator” and bringing decades of peace and prosperity to the realm.
Reign of Viserys I.
The Dance of the Dragons: The first major civil war in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. War of succession, between Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra Targaryen. In the resulting conflict many lesser branches of House Targaryen and most of their dragons are extinguished. After Rhaenyra’s death, the war continues in the name of her son, Aegon. At this point, while both armies are at their weakest, a faction led by Lord Hereford Felegris joins the fray, slaying Aegon II and taking the throne, becoming King Hereford, first of his name. The last Targaryen dragon is killed in the war, earning Hereford I the name “Dragonbane.”
The Rise of House Felegris
The reign of King Hereford I. Hereford takes the young Aegon III into his household as his ward, allowing him to live a normal life. Because of complications from an untreated injury to his kidneys sustained during the war, Hereford I dies in 140 AL. King Alphonse, first of his name, takes the throne.
The Targaryen Purge: Two years into his reign, Alphonse I initiates a purge of the Targaryen family and their offspring, paranoid that they will attempt to seize the throne. The Blood Knights are formed by Felegris loyalists to hunt down the Targaryens and their supporters. All of the known Targaryens and their bastards are wiped out by 162 AL. Alphonse himself dies two years later under mysterious circumstances, and his son Alphonse II ascends to the throne.
Reign of Alphonse Felegris, second of his name.