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Game of Thrones prequel will 'definitely' have Starks, says George R.R. Martin

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Jul 9, 2019, 11:59 AM EDT

After seeing the completion of the TV show version of his work, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin was already champing at the bit to tell anyone and everyone as much as he could about the next iteration of the televised Game of Thrones universe. Whether it was throwing out a title before it was approved or giving hints about which ideas were still in the running with HBO, Martin has been one of the most vocal sources for information about the follow-up to the Iron Throne. Now he’s revealed even more about the far-reaching prequel series.

Speaking to EW, Martin dropped some knowledge on showrunner Jane Goldman’s pilot, which is supposed to take place millennia before the events of Game of Thrones, back during the Age of Heroes. Some of that knowledge involved a new title. 

Martin previously said the prequel would be called The Long Night, named for the generation-long darkness that led to the creation of the Wall and the rise of the white walkers. In fact, this element is certainly making an appearance in the series, Martin confirms. “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 said. “There are things like direwolves and mammoths.” There’s just one problem. "The Long Night" is also the title of the final season episode containing the Battle of Winterfell. That makes things a little complicated behind the scenes. But there’s a solution already being bandied about: go superlative. “I heard a suggestion that it could be called The Longest Night, which is a variant I wouldn’t mind,” Martin said. “That would be pretty good.”

The Longest Night, or whatever it ends up being called, is going to replicate much of what GoT fans loved. There will be plenty of new faces in the ensemble to love, plenty of familiar houses, and plenty of kingdoms. “We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest,” Martin said. “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.”

That means that houses that fans know as incredibly powerful, like the Starks and the Lannisters and even the Arryns, are just getting started. The Starks are in the best position, since they trace their roots all the way back to Bran the Builder, who built the Wall. That means “the Starks will definitely be there,” as Martin says. As for those wily Lannisters? They’re not quite around yet. 

They’re founded by Lann the Clever, who legendarily stole Casterly Rock from the Casterlys with nothing but his wits, during the Age of Heroes. So even though “the Lannisters aren’t there yet,” Martin says, “Castlery Rock is certainly there.” During the show’s timeline, “it’s actually occupied by the Casterlys,” which may mean the prequel will show Lann’s bloodless conquest. Could the prequel showcase the founding of all the Great Houses? It certainly seems that way.

The Game of Thrones prequel has begun filming in Northern Ireland.