The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones is almost done filming, with episodes set to air sometime in 2019. And while that finishes the adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series of books, HBO is already working on new adventures in the world of Westeros. Four prequels are currently in development, with one from Kingsman and Kick-Ass writer Jane Goldman already being ordered to pilot.
Little is known about Goldman’s story other than it takes place 8000 years before the events in Game of Thrones. HBO’s initial announcement stated, “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’s 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.”
That blurb led many to wonder whether we’d be meeting some of the founding members of major houses that originated during that epoch – Lann the Clever, who tricked the Casterlys out of Casterly Rock, or Bran the Builder, who crafted the castles of Winterfell and Storm’s End and raised the Wall. But the Age of Heroes lasted thousands of years, with Lann sitting at one end and Bran the other. That left a lot of room for conjecture on what might be coming. Then George R.R. Martin honed in on the exact moment in history when he revealed his preferred name for the prequel series: The Long Night.
The Long Night is, as told by Old Nan and maesters alike, an earlier invasion of the Others from the desolate reaches of the far north that nearly wipes out humanity. Like everything else from the Age of Heroes, details are scant and likely exaggerated. But as the story goes, the Long Night was a winter that lasted an entire generation, ending only with The Last Hero teaming up with the Children of the Forest and the newly formed Night’s Watch to defeat the Others. The tale ends with Bran the Builder raising the Wall to guard the realms of men.
For stories taking place several thousand years apart, there’s a lot of similarities between the prequel and the original. Starks, Boltons, and Lannisters roam the land. Ironmen reave the western coast. Slave empires dominate Essos. A mysterious evil approaches, requiring humankind to set aside their petty squabbles over land and title to avoid utter destruction. As far as time periods go, you couldn’t find a moment in Westerosi history that mirrored the events of the original Game of Thrones saga more than The Long Night.