Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles The final season of Game of Thrones has arrived. But before we can get to the ending, first we have to understand the beginning. We've got the whole history of Westeros mapped out for you - just in time to get ready to see it all come crashing down. Here's the entire Game of Thrones timeline explained. In the distant past, Westeros was the home of the Children of the Forest. But roughly 12,000 years before the first episode of the series takes place, the first humans arrived from across the sea. The Children of the Forest called them The First Men, and two thousand years of war ensued. Finally, a truce was called, but it was too late. The Children turned to dark magic to protect themselves and inadvertently created the undead Night King and his White Walkers. Once the Pact was signed around 10,000 BC, the First Men entered the Age of Heroes, with legendary figures like Bran the Builder and Lann the Clever creating much of what defines Westeros as we know it. But the Age of Heroes is defined most by the Long Night. Around the year 8,000 BC, the White Walkers broke free from the control of the Children of the Forest, bringing about a winter of perpetual night that lasted an entire generation. "In that darkness, the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses.” The Children and the First Men banded together to defeat the Night King, but at great cost. The children were nearly driven to extinction, and the Wall was built to keep the Walkers trapped in the frozen north - along with the tribes of humanity who would become the Wildlings. Our clearest glimpse of this era comes from the season seven episode "The Spoils of War," in which Jon Snow and Daenerys examine cave paintings beneath Dragonstone of the Walkers, the Children, and the First Men. Starting around 6,000 years in the story's past, a new group of human invaders arrived: The Andals Originally from Essos, the Andals were compelled by visions of a seven faced god to cross the sea and settle Westeros. Their religion, which became the Faith of the Seven, spurred social developments like knighthood and chivalry. The First Men, pushed out by waves of Andals arriving over the course of several thousand years, slowly retreated to the North, where their traditions were kept by families like the Starks and the Mormonts. Still, to people from Essos, anyone from Westeros is considered to be an Andal, which is why even northmen like Jorah are given that nickname by those who don't know any better. “Where are the dragons?" "Will you betray her again, Jorah the Andal?" Speaking of Essos, that continent developed very differently than Westeros thanks to the magicians and dragon riders of legendary Valyria. They developed the dragon-fused stone roads which still criss-cross Essos, and invented Valyrian steel, the strongest metal ever known. But roughly 400 years before the events shown in Game of Thrones, all of that ended with the Doom of Valyria, a cataclysmic volcanic disaster that left the fabled empire in ruins. "Magnificent. Looks fresh forged.” "It is.” “No one's made a Valyrian steel sword since the doom of Valyria!" Among the only survivors were a minor family called the Targaryens, who had left Essos for the castle Dragonstone in Westeros 12 years earlier after a prophetic dream warned them of the coming Doom. The Targaryens were suddenly the survivors of a lost culture - and among the few people in the world with dragons at their beck and call. Though the forces of the Targaryens were puny compared to the great houses of the Seven Kingdoms, they held the trump card: three great dragons, ridden by Aegon the Conqueror and his two sister wives. Aegon united the Seven Kingdoms under his rule, creating the Iron Throne out of the swords they surrendered to him. In the year 280, the seeds of the Targaryen downfall were sewn. The Mad King, Aerys Targaryen, decided to marry off his son and heir, the beloved Prince Rhaegar, to the Dornish princess Elia Martell, the sister of Prince Doran and Oberyn Martell. But Rhaegar secretly was in love with Lyanna Stark, the betrothed of Robert Baratheon. In the year 281, Prince Rhaegar won a tournament at Harrenhal, but instead of naming his wife as the tournament's Queen of Love and Beauty, he chose Lyanna, driving a wedge between House Baratheon and the Targayens. And they weren't alone: breaking tradition, the Mad King named Tywin Lannister's son, Jaime Lannister, as one of his King's Guard, forcing Jaime to renounce his claim as heir to house Lannister. Tywin was enraged, and resigned as the Hand of the King, retreating to Casterly Rock. That set the stage for everything that has happened in the show since. In the year 282, Rhaegar had his marriage annulled, and secretly wed Lyanna. The Starks, though, believing Lyanna was captured against her will, protested to the Mad King. In a fit of rage, the King murdered Lord Rickard and his eldest son, Brandon Stark. Brandon's brother, Ned, joined with Robert Baratheon in rebellion. “Your father and brother rode south once. On a King's demand." During Robert's Rebellion, Rhaegar was killed by Robert Baratheon, but not before Lyanna became pregnant. Ned Stark found her on her deathbed, having just given birth to a son she named Aegon Targayen. Ned secretly vowed to raise and protect him, and did so by adopting him as his own bastard son, whom he renamed Jon Snow. Meanwhile, the Mad King decided to destroy all of King's Landing rather than surrender, leading Jamie Lannister to kill him, earning the name Kingslayer. The Mad King's pregnant wife, though, escaped to safety. But tragically, Prince Rahegar's wife, Elia Martell, and their two children weren't so lucky, murdered by The Mountain at the orders of Tywin Lannister. "I'm going to hear you confess before you die. You rapped my sister. You muddered her. You called her children." With the Mad King slain and his army thoroughly beaten, Robert Baratheon took the throne. He married Cersei Lannister, though he never stopped mourning Lyanna. “She belonged with me.” Ned Stark returned home to Winterfell. He never told anyone the truth of Jon's parentage, letting even his own wife believe he had betrayed her with another woman, embittering her forever against Jon. And as for the Mad King's wife? Well, she died giving birth to a daughter named Daenerys, who along with her older brother Viserys was smuggled across the sea to Essos in the hope that one day, they could return to Westeros to claim their throne by winning the Game of Thrones. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about Game of Thrones are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don't miss a single one.