The night is dark and full of terrors. It also could potentially last an entire series! Indeed, while we have long known that the Game of Thrones prequel would be set during the Age of Heroes, its executive producer George R.R. Martin has now revealed it’s titled The Long Night, a foreboding reference to the darkest chapter in Westerosi history. Fresh off the heels of Naomi Watts being announced as the lead of the Game of Thrones prequel, Martin, who is the author of “A Song of Ice and Fire” that birthed Game of Thrones and the entire universe of Westeros, Martin took to Twitter to celebrate the news… and reveal the series’ title.
“Casting is now underway for THE LONG NIGHT, the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor series to be ordered to film,” Martin tweeted. “HBO has just announced the first cast member: Naomi Watts is coming on board as one of our stars.”
This news confirms what many have long suspected, including ourselves: that the Long Night will be crucial to the prequel spinoff. Set thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones’ final season, the Long Night was best surmised by the Starks’ nanny, Old Nan, in the first novel and season of the respective book and TV series:
“Oh my sweet summer child, what do you know about fear? Fear is for the winter, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep. Fear is for the Long Night when the sun hides for years, and children and live and die, all in darkness. That is the time for fear, my little lord—when the White Walkers move through the woods. Thousands of years ago, there came a night that lasted a generation. Kings frozen to death in their castles, the same as the shepherds in their huts, and women smothered their babies rather than see them starve, and wept. And felt the tears freeze on their cheeks.
… In that darkness, the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders as big as hounds.”
So yes, it sounds like we should finally see the spiders as big as hounds. With that said, we wouldn’t be shocked if the series is set near the end of the Long Night. As we addressed in our theories about a series set during the Age of Heroes, we find it hard to believe the whole series would be set during the Long Night. For starters, it will make location shoots a real pain if they’re only in the evening or wee small hours of the morning. Additionally, the Stark house only really comes into its own after Brandon Stark, aka Bran the Builder, constructs the Wall after the Long Night ends.
We imagine the first few seasons might be about the Long Night, but eventually the series may want to explore what it is like for a generation that’s never seen the sun to emerge into spring… and explore some of that era’s other great legends. The official synopsis for the prequel is: “Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend… it’s not the story we think we know.”
The series is also being executive produced by writer and showrunner Jane Goldman, screenwriter of Stardust, Kingsman, and X-Men: First Class.
Time will tell as more information emerges about the spinoff, but first we have next year’s final season of Game of Thrones to anticipate…
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