George R.R. Martin is dropping hints about the highly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel, which documents events preceding the HBO megahit starring Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and Sophie Turner, among many others.
The author and executive producer recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss showrunner Jane Goldman’s pilot, which is shooting in Northern Ireland and takes place 5,000 years before the events in Game of Thrones.
The prequel leads up to the epic confrontation between the White Walkers and Westeros, in an era known as The Long Night.
Here’s what he said:
Westeros is divided into 100 kingdoms: “We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest,” Martin says. “But if you go back further then there are nine kingdoms, and 12 kingdoms, and eventually you get back to where there are a hundred kingdoms — petty kingdoms — and that’s the era we’re talking about here.”
There are Starks and direwolves: “The Starks will definitely be there. Obviously the White Walkers are here — or as they’re called in my books, The Others — and that will be an aspect of it,” Martin says. “There are things like direwolves and mammoths.”
The Lannisters? TBD. “The Lannisters aren’t there yet, but Castlery Rock is certainly there; it’s like the Rock of Gibraltar,” he says. “It’s actually occupied by the Casterlys — for whom it’s still named after in the time of Game of Thrones.”
The cast? Ensemble. There will be a trio of female players (Naomi Watts, Naomi Ackie, and Denise Gough), though Martin hestitates to call them leads. “I hesitate to use the word ‘lead,’” Martin says. “As you know for Game of Thrones, we never even nominated anybody for lead actress or lead actor [during awards season] until recently; it was always for supporting [categories] because the show is such an ensemble. I think that will be true for this show too. We don’t have leads so much as a large ensemble cast.”
The title? He has previously suggested The Long Night, but then again, it may not be so. “I heard a suggestion that it could be called The Longest Night, which is a variant I wouldn’t mind,” he says. “That would be pretty good.”
Martin is currently writing the sixth Ice and Fire novel The Winds of Winter.