9 Maps That Visualize 12,000 Years Of Game Of Thrones History

Congratulations, we now know more fictional history than European history!

Posted Jun 26, 2014 12:47 PM By
 

Whether you came into the world of Westeros via HBO or through a friend of a friend hawking George RR Martin's novels the way the media portrays drug pushers, you know there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Martin is a master of realizing history doesn't happen in a vacuum, that every decision made by a person is just the latest link in a long line of churning froth that is shifting political alliances and personal slights.

With that in mind it can be difficult to keep the history of 'Game of Thrones' straight. After all, there is over twelve millennia worth of house lineages mixed with mythology and misinformation...and that's just in the Seven Kingdoms. Luckily Redditor hotbrownDoubleDown realized we needed a simplistic — and spoiler free — timeline.

So pick your poison. Would you like to know more about the Age of Heroes? Or does your interest lie more in the migration patterns of the Valyrians prior to the Doom? Exactly how far did the arctic winds descend during the Long Night and how did that climate shift affect the march of the Others? Where did the Faith of the Seven originate and what did its progress look like as their missionaries swept through, converting the followers of the old gods?

All this and more can be revealed through the text of Martin's novels, if you're willing to read it multiple times and go at it with a highlighter like a college kid hopped up coffee two days before finals. And the best part? The history of Westeros parallels so well with Europe's history, you can totally use this as an ice breaker at every social gathering to show off and/or look like a total dork.

 

Our knowledge of Westeros history starts with the First Men, 12,000 years prior to 'modern day'.

Image Credit: hotbrownDoubleDown

The Age of Heroes is where most of Westeros mythology (think King Arthur and Merlin type stuff) comes from.

Image Credit: hotbrownDoubleDown

The Long Night is a mythical winter that lasted for decades, where children were born and died without ever seeing the sun.

Image Credit: hotbrownDoubleDown

George R.R. Marin has made no secret of pilfering the English historical record to flesh out his fictional universe. So really, if you substitute the peoples who built Stonehenge for the First Men and Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table for the Age of Heroes, it lines up quite nicely. Heck it might be out of Earth's geological order, but the Long Night shares many characteristics with the last Ice Age.

And the similarities don't stop there.

The Andals invade Westeros, bringing their new religion with them.
Image Credit: hotbrownDoubleDown

Meanwhile on the continent of Essos, Valyria get embroiled in a land dispute with warring countries.

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War with Valyria leads to a mass exodus of displaced refugees, some of whom end up in Dorne.

Image Credit: hotbrownDoubleDown

All right, let's break this down. In European history the Anglo-Saxon are the Andals here. Only our British invaders happened AFTER the fall of Rome while the Westeros Andals pre-date Valyria's hostile takeover. Essos stands in for Europe proper with Valyria (Rome) expanding their borders until they completely dominate the continent. The fall of Old Ghis could have several historical inspirations but most likely Ghis stands for the centuries-long conflict between the Persian Empire and Rome.

We're well on our way to Game of Thrones teaching us more about ancient and medieval history than any high school class ever did! Onward!

Valyria continues their unstoppable military takeover of the entire continent of Essos.

Image Credit: hotbrownDoubleDown

Before turning their Sauron-like gaze to the land of England Westeros.
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The Doom consumes Valyria, leaving the Targaryens as one of the few remaining Houses of a great empire.
Image Credit: hotbrownDoubleDown

We're in the home stretch guys, stay with me. As we've established, Valyria is Rome in this analogy. But the history leading up the the Aegon Targayran's bloody conquest of the Seven Kingdoms via fiery dragon death diverges quite a bit from our own history. While Rome did take over most of the known world save for southern Africa (damn Sahara all cock-blocking their plans) and China (because Alexander the Great died and the army was like 'nope we're out'), they never had much luck with the British Isles. Maybe if they'd had dragons things would've gone differently. The other major deviation is the Doom of Rome was a weakened empire taken advantage of by Goths and Gauls over many years and not a massive volcano eruption...though Martin probably drew from Pompeii for his smiting of the lavender-eyed conquerors.

Now, armed with this cursory knowledge of the parallels between our own history and that of Westeros, go forth and dazzle your buddies with your firm grasp of how the socio-political climate of Europe from the Ice Age through early part of the first millennium AD inspired one of the greatest fantasy stories of our time.