I’ve been thinking about Game of Thrones a lot lately. Which is funny cos it’s not even on telly at the moment, and I usually find it difficult to think about things unless they’re right in front of my face, smacking themselves repeatedly against my eyeballs.
I guess it’s probably the turbulent times we’re living in. Making me yearn for the comfort of a fictional narrative of death and destruction and fire and unravelling, at the end of which I can turn the TV off, open the curtains and see birds chirping and life passing by reassuringly uneventfully as it has up until now.
Except it obviously hasn’t been doing that at all. Got me thinking though: Game of Thrones has been part of our lives now for quite some time. A lot of shit has happened since that stirring theme score first flooded from our screens on April 17, 2011. A lot of shit.
A lot of shit like…
May 1 - Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011 (Pakistani time, UTC+6) during an American military operation in Pakistan.
June 28 - The deadly cattle plague rinderpest is officially eradicated from the world.
July 7 - The world’s first artificial organ transplant is achieved, using an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells.
July 9 - South Sudan secedes from Sudan, becoming the world’s newest country.
July 14 - South Sudan joins the United Nations as its 193rd member.
July 31 - In Thailand, over 12.8 million people are affected by severe flooding. US$45 billion worth of damage is done. 815 people die.
August 20 - 28 -Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya, is overthrown and deposed in the Battle of Tripoli.
September 5 - After 40 years, India and Bangladesh sign a pact ending their border demarcation dispute.
September 17 - In response to gross and chronic economic injustice, Occupy Wall Street begins in the United States. Spreads to over 80 countries by October.
October 20 - Muammar Gaddafi is killed in Sirte.
The Basque separatist militant organization, ETA, declares an end to its four-decade long armed struggle.
October 31 - The symbolic date selected by the UN to mark the world’s population reaching seven billion.
UNESCO admits Palestine as a member. 107 member states support the move; 14 oppose.
December 15 - The United States formally declares an end to the Iraq War. Everything is okay from then on.
March 13 - After 244 years since its first publication, the Encyclopædia Britannica discontinues its print edition
March 22 - The President of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré, is ousted in a coup d’état.
April 26 - Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is found guilty on 11 counts of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Sierra Leone Civil War.
May 2 - A pastel version of The Scream, by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, sells for US$120 million in a New York City auction, setting a new world record for an auctioned work of art.
May 22 - Tokyo Skytree, the tallest self-supporting tower in the world at 634 metres high, is opened to the public.
June 24 - Lonesome George, the last known individual of the Pinta Island tortoise subspecies, dies in Galápagos National Park, thus making the subspecies extinct.
July 4 - CERN announces the discovery of a new particle with properties consistent with the Higgs boson after experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.
July 27 - August 12 - The 2012 Summer Olympics are held in London, England, United Kingdom.
July 30-31 - In the worst power outage in world history, the 2012 India blackouts leave 620 million people without power.
August 6 - Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory mission’s rover, successfully lands on Mars.
October 14 - Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner becomes the first person to break the sound barrier without any machine assistance during a record space dive out of the Red Bull Stratos helium-filled balloon from 24 miles (39 kilometers) over Roswell, New Mexico in the United States.
October 24-30 - Hurricane Sandy kills at least 209 people in the Caribbean, Bahamas, United States and Canada. Considerable storm surge damage causes major disruption to the eastern seaboard of the United States.
November 14-21 - Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defense against the Palestinian-governed Gaza Strip, killing Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. In the following week 140 Palestinians and five Israelis are killed in an ensuing cycle of violence. A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is announced by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after the week-long escalation in hostilities in Southern Israel and the Gaza Strip.
November 29 - The UN General Assembly approves a motion granting Palestine non-member observer state status.
February 15 - A meteor explodes over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,489-1,492 people and damaging over 4,300 buildings. It is the most powerful meteor to strike Earth’s atmosphere in over a century. The incident, along with a coincidental flyby of a larger asteroid, prompts international concern regarding the vulnerability of the planet to meteor strikes.
February 28 - Benedict XVI resigns as pope, becoming the first to do so since Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294.
March 13 - Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is elected the 266th pope, whereupon he takes the name Francis and becomes the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere.
March 27 - Canada becomes the first country to withdraw from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
May 15 - In a study published in the scientific journal Nature, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University in the United States describe the first production of human embryonic stem cells by cloning.
June 6 - Edward Snowden discloses operations engaged in by a U.S. government mass surveillance program to news publications and flees the country, later being granted temporary asylum in Russia.
July 1 - Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union.
July 3 - Amid mass protests across Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi is deposed in a military coup d’état, leading to widespread violence.
October 18 - Saudi Arabia rejects a seat on the United Nations Security Council, making it the first country to reject a seat on the Security Council. Jordan takes the seat on December 6.
November 5 - The Mars Orbiter Mission is launched by India from its launchpad in Sriharikota.
November 8 - Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record, hits the Philippines and Vietnam, causing devastation with at least 6,241 dead.
February - The Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa begins, infecting at least 28,616 people and killing at least 11,310 people, the most severe both in terms of numbers of infections and casualties.
February 13 - Belgium becomes the first country in the world to legalise euthanasia for terminally ill patients of any age.
March 8 - Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board. The aircraft is presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.
April 28 - United States President Barack Obama’s new economic sanctions against Russia go into effect, targeting companies and individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
June 5 - A Sunni militant group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as the ISIS or ISIL) begins an offensive through northern Iraq, aiming to capture the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad and overthrow the Shiite government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
November 2 - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases the final part of its Fifth Assessment Report, warning that the world faces “severe, pervasive and irreversible” damage from global emissions of CO2.
December 17 - U.S. President Barack Obama announces the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
January 3-7 - A series of massacres in Baga, Nigeria and surrounding villages by Boko Haram kills more than 2,000 people.
January 7 - Two gunmen belonging to Al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch kill 12 people and injure 11 more at the Paris headquarters of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, prompting an anti-terrorism demonstration attended by over a million people and more than 40 world leaders.
March 5-8 - The ancient city sites of Nimrud, Hatra and Dur-Sharrukin in Iraq are demolished by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
March 6 - NASA’s Dawn probe enters orbit around Ceres, becoming the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet.
March 24 - An Airbus A320-211 operated by Germanwings crashes in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board.
March 25 - A Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Arab countries starts a military intervention in Yemen.
April 25 - A magnitude 7.8 earthquake strikes Nepal and causes 8,857 deaths in Nepal, 130 in India, 27 in China and 4 in Bangladesh with a total of 9,018 deaths.
April 29 - The World Health Organization (WHO) declares that rubella has been eradicated from the Americas.
May 11-12 - Version O of Les Femmes d’Alger by Pablo Picasso sells for US$179.3 million at Christie’s auction in New York, while the sculpture L’Homme au doigt by Alberto Giacometti sells for US$141.3 million, setting a new world record for a painting and for a sculpture, respectively.
May 23 - Ireland votes to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.
June 2 - FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces his intention to resign amidst an FBI-led corruption investigation, and calls for an extraordinary congress to elect a new president as soon as possible.
Cuba becomes the first country in the world to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
July 1 - Greek government-debt crisis: Greece becomes the first advanced economy to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund in the 71-year history of the IMF.
July 20 - Cuba and the United States reestablish full diplomatic relations, ending a 54-year stretch of hostility between the nations.
September 10 - Scientists announce the discovery of Homo naledi, a previously unknown species of early human in South Africa.
September 14 - First observation of gravitational waves: Gravitational waves are detected for the first time, by LIGO. This is not announced until February 11, 2016.
September 18 - Automaker Volkswagen is alleged to have been involved in worldwide rigging of diesel emissions tests, affecting an estimated 11 million vehicles globally.
September 24 - A stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca kills at least 2,200 people and injures more than 900 others, with more than 650 missing.
September 28 - NASA announces that liquid water has been found on Mars.
October 3 - A United States airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Afghanistan accidentally kills an estimated 20 people.
October 23 - Hurricane Patricia becomes the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere and the second strongest worldwide, with winds of 215 mph and a pressure of 872 mbar.
November 7 - Chinese and Taiwanese presidents, Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou, formally meet for the first time.
November 24 - Syrian Civil War: Turkey shoots down a Russian fighter jet in the first case of a NATO member destroying a Russian aircraft since the 1950s.
November 30 - The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) is held in Paris, attended by leaders from 147 nations.
December 12 - A global climate change pact is agreed at the COP 21 summit, committing all countries to reduce carbon emissions for the first time.
December 22 - SpaceX lands a Falcon 9 rocket, the first reusable rocket to successfully enter orbital space and return.
January 16 - The International Atomic Energy Agency announces that Iran has adequately dismantled its nuclear weapons program, allowing the United Nations to lift sanctions immediately.
January 28 - The World Health Organization announces an outbreak of the Zika virus.
April 3 - The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung publish a set of 11.5 million confidential documents from the Panamanian corporate Mossack Fonseca that provides detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies, including the identities of shareholders and directors including noted personalities and heads of state.
June 23 - Brexit: the United Kingdom votes in a referendum to leave the European Union.
July 4 - NASA’s Juno spacecraft enters orbit around Jupiter and begins a 20-month survey of the planet.
July 22 - The final videocassette recorder is manufactured by the Japanese company Funai.
August 5-21 - The 2016 Summer Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
August 31 - In what eventually transpires to have been, in effect, a reactionary coup, the Brazilian Senate votes (61-20) to impeach the President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff. The Vice President of Brazil, Michel Temer, who had assumed the presidential powers and duties as Acting President of Brazil during Rousseff’s suspension, takes office for the remainder of her term.
September 3 - The US and China, together responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, both ratify the Paris global climate agreement.
Global CO2 levels exceed 400 ppm at the time of year normally associated with minimum levels. A 400 ppm level is believed to be higher than anything experienced in human history.
September 30 - Two paintings by Vincent Van Gogh with a combined value of $100 million, Seascape at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, are recovered after having been stolen on December 7, 2002 from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
October 15 - 150 nations meet at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) summit in Rwanda and agree to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as an amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
November 24 - The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army sign a revised peace deal, bringing an end to the Colombian conflict.
December 19 - Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, is assassinated in Ankara.
December 23 - The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 2334 condemning “Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”.
December 25 - A Tupolev Tu-154 crashes near Sochi, Russia, killing all 92 people on board, including 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble.
Also, everyone dies, and Donald Trump gets elected President of the United States.
January 21 - Millions of people worldwide join the Women’s March in response to the inauguration of Donald Trump. 408 marches were reported in the U.S. and 168 in other countries; becoming the largest single-day protest in American history and the largest worldwide protest in recent history.
January 26 - Scientists at Harvard University report the first creation of metallic hydrogen in a laboratory.
January 27 - Worldwide controversy results after United States president Donald Trump signs an executive order restricting travel and immigration from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen