6 Things We Know About the Game of Thrones Prequel Series

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Although Game of Thrones still has one season to go, many fans of George RR Martin’s fictional world are already gearing up for his next television project: the prequel series.

While fans understandably have lots of questions—like which families and houses will be involved—we do know some key details already, many of which have been gleaned from inadvertent spoilers from Martin himself. (Oops!) Here is everything we know so far.

1. It will likely be titled The Long Night.

Although HBO has yet to confirm it, Martin did let it slip on his blog that the series will be titled The Long Night. Though we can't consider that a definite until the studio has announced it, it's pretty much the accepted title at this point, and even IMDb has officially adopted the moniker.

Martin did attempt to backtrack his spoiler by saying it’s not actually the title just yet. "HBO has informed me that the Jane Goldman pilot is not (yet) titled THE LONG NIGHT," he wrote on his blog. "That is certainly the title I prefer, but for the moment the pilot is still officially UNTITLED. So … mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa."

2. It's set about 5000 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

The ​prequel series is set thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, in the Age of Heroes. If Martin’s reveal of the title is true, it will be a bleak period, as the Long Night is what the people of Westeros call the time when darkness fell upon the Known World, and it lasted for a generation.

Martin recently made the time frame a bit clearer in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, explaining that it’s closer to 5000 years before the events in Game of Thrones, not the 10,000 years many fans had originally thought.

3. You won't hear any mention of King's Landing, the Iron Throne, or the Targaryens.

The story is set before the rise of Valyria, the city in which the House Targaryen originated. "Westeros is a very different place," Martin told Entertainment Weekly of the prequel series. "There’s no King’s Landing. There’s no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens—Valyria has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built. We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series." (Though just because we won't hear about them when the series kicks off, doesn't mean they couldn't pop up later.)

4. Two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts will star.

Naomi Watts attends the 14th Annual Worldwide Orphans Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on November 05, 2018 in New York City
Rob Kim, Getty Images

So far, two of the main characters have been cast in the series. The first is two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, who, according to Variety, is playing "a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret." Fans have been speculating that because of her blonde hair and light complexion, her character could be someone related to the Lannister line.

Josh Whitehouse, who had a major role in the Masterpiece series Poldark and will star in the upcoming remake of Valley Girl, has also been cast in a mystery role.

5. George RR Martin is co-creating it with Kick-Ass, Kingsman, and X-Men screenwriter Jane Goldman.

Since it was announced the series was getting a pilot order, co-creators George RR Martin and Jane Goldman, who wrote the screenplays for Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and more, have been attached.

6. Filming is set to begin in early 2019.

Although there is no release date set for the prequel series, we do know that filming will begin in February 2019 in Belfast, Ireland—which likely means a 2020 release date (but that's just speculation). It will, of course, air on HBO.

Virginia’s University of Lynchburg is Adding a Harry Potter Class to Its Fall Curriculum

Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.
Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.

While it’s not exactly an invitation to Hogwarts, students at Virginia’s University of Lynchburg are getting just about the next best thing. This fall, the campus is adding a Harry Potter-themed class to its curriculum as a general education course.

The university is in the process of changing some of its course offerings and streamlining classes in recognition of its modern students. According to WSET ABC 13, Dr. Sharon Foreman, director of general education, said of the new curriculum: "It is very targeted towards 21st century students who are going out into a global society and so we want faculty, staff, and administrators to know what that means, what it looks like, and [to] experience it first hand.”

Faculty have decided providing an education for a global society includes offering courses like the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Good Life," which will ask students to read J.K. Rowling’s books alongside the works of philosophers to create connections between the past and present.

University of Lynchburg coordinator of integrated seminars Amy Merrill Willis told WSLS 10 News that the course's instructor, Devin Brickhouse Bryson, is "going to be introducing philosophical concepts from [Plato], Socrates, and Aristotle, and asking students to think about the Harry Potter series in depth.”

Although there may not be a sorting hat or Butterbeer involved, the class sounds like a creative way to engage students in philosophy and critical issues, all while focused on the beloved Harry Potter series.

[h/t WSET ABC 13]

Wizarding World Orlando’s New Roller Coaster Is Full of Harry Potter Easter Eggs

Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando

While Universal Studios Orlando is already home to some incredible attractions in its Wizarding World of Harry Potter, such as its very own Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Express, and even a Hogwarts Castle, the newest roller coaster seems to be bringing out the most dedicated of Potterheads. The ride, called Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, saw whopping 10-hour waits in its opening days, and for those lucky enough to have experienced the brand-new attraction already, it looks like many have deemed it worth the line.

GameSpot got to take a ride on the Motorbike Adventure, and writer Meg Downey noted all the great details riders will encounter as they soar through the Forbidden Forest—which included a load of Easter eggs.

In particular, Downey calls out the many Harry Potter nods on the walls of the castle ruins. The graffiti, which resembles cave drawings, includes a joke about a Hippogriff attempting to catch Draco Malfoy (likely in reference to the Prisoner of Azkaban scene where the cocky wizard encounters Buckbeak), a drawing of a Phoenix that looks just like Fawkes, and even some sweet writings from Harry’s parents, James and Lily Potter.

A Blast-Ended Skrewt within Universal Orlando's Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
A Blast-Ended Skrewt within Universal Orlando's Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a reference to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Universal Orlando

Additionally, the ride includes a reference to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, according to Downey, who reports that Hagrid has a poster of Nifflers in his main workshop.

The new ride seems to be a must-do experience for diehard Harry Potter fans, exploring some of the most mysterious parts of Hogwarts and the fun style of Hagrid and his creatures.

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