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eason 8, episode 5 (debut 5/12/19): Maisie Williams. photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

George R. R. Martin Reveals that the Starks Exist in Game of Thrones Prequel

The Game of Thrones prequel is currently filming in Northern Ireland, yet details about the project are as scarce as warmth beyond the Wall. You could fit the stuff we do know on the edge of Arya Stark’s sword Needle. Naomi Watts is starring, along with Harry Potter actress Miranda Richardson, rising star Naomi Ackie (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), Denise Gough, Josh Whitehouse, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Toby Regbo, and Alex Sharp. We also know, thanks to a conversation between executive producer and author George R. R. Martin and Entertainment Weekly that the prequel will take us back—way back—to an era some 5,000 years in the past: “Valryia has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built,” he said. “We’re dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series.”

Now in a fresh interview with Martin, EW reveals a few new facts about the prequel. Here are some of the most intriguing.

The prequel is set during a time where instead of seven kingdoms of Westeros, there are 100.

“We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest,” Martin told EW. “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!

Martin confirmed that although the prequel is set before the era of many of the Houses we came to know in the series, the Starks will be there. For close readers of Martin’s novels, you’ll recall that the Starks are descended from the First Men, so their line existing in the prequel makes sense. The existence of Starks means we’ll also be getting everyone’s favorite Wight-killing pet, direwolves.

There are no Lannisters—yet.

House Lannister was founded by Lann the Clever—the man who chiseled the Casterly family from Casterly Rock. Yet the prequel predates the rise of House Lannister but will include Casterly Rock. Perhaps we’ll meet Lann the Clever should the pilot get picked up.

There are White Walkers…but no dragons.

Martin also told EW that the White Walkers—known as The Others in the books—will be a part of the series. Yet the prequel predates dragons, which means other creatures, including mammoths, will be featured instead.

The title is still a mystery.

As for the shows’ title, there’s still no official word. Martin had mentioned in the past that it could be titled The Long Night (which was the title of episode 3 of the final season, which depicted the epic battle with the Night King). Martin told EW he heard another potential title that he likes—The Longest Night.  “Which is a variant I wouldn’t mind,” he told EW. “That would be pretty good.”

Featured image: Season 8, episode 5 (debut 5/12/19): Maisie Williams. Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

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