Filming is underway on the Game of Thrones prequel series, and George R.R. Martin recently offered up some new insight into the new plot and setting of the first official GoT spinoff. Those latest quotes raise plenty of interesting questions, but the most important one may be what it all means for the importance of the Long Night (and by extension, the Night King) in the upcoming HBO show.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Martin revealed a bunch of new details about the prequel series. One of those had to do with the still-unconfirmed series title (it was previously thought to be Bloodmoon, but Martin made it clear no title has been settled on). When asked if the series would still be called The Long Night, Martin replied, “I heard a suggestion that it could be called The Longest Night, which is a variant I wouldn’t mind. That would be pretty good.”
Martin’s mention of a variant title likely refers to the fact that one of the final episodes of Game of Thrones was also titled, “The Long Night,” so it makes sense that HBO would want to differentiate. Martin’s comments are also an important reminder that the prequel series will take place at the fictional historical point when Westeros was entering into the first Long Night, around 5,000 B.C. (that’s “Before Conquest” in the world of Game of Thrones) — a detail Martin has already confirmed.
The Night King — a character made solely for Game of Thrones and not actually encountered in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels — has been around since 10,000 B.C. when he was transformed from a First Man by the Children of the Forest. Do a quick bit of math and it’s clear the Night King will still be alive and kicking when the prequel series begins. And yet, there’s been no confirmation for his inclusion in the series, even though it would make sense because he exists during that time and the series takes place during the Long Night.
If and when the Night King shows up, the Game of Thrones prequel series should take time to explore the Night King’s motivations for his actions. He is in charge of the White Walkers (who will also make an appearance in the series) and responsible for the Long Night, which means he’ll be front and center, needing lots more character development in the process. In the past, any kind of exposition on that front must have been left on the cutting room floor because it was never tackled in Game of Thrones Season 8.
Making the Night King more of an active figure would not only be fun to see, but his involvement would likely mean he is one of the primary villains of the prequel series. A younger, possibly more irascible and unpredictable Night King rising up during the Long Night would be a huge focal point. This, in turn, could make the upcoming show all the more exciting to watch every week.
Prospective viewers should prepare for the likelihood of the Night King having a bigger role in the Game of Thrones prequel series even if his role isn’t confirmed outright before the first trailer or even the pilot episode debuts. Where the re-appearance of the Night King was mostly a surprise to fans of the books and Game of Thrones alike, the timing of this spinoff means we just need to keep an eye out for him. The real surprise will be seeing what he’s like as a villain during this earlier period of his life.
The Game of Thrones prequel is expected to release on HBO in 2020.