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The Long Night Casts Two Leads

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We were in the midst of writing up our post about yesterday’s big casting news that the splendid Naomi Watts had been cast for the pilot of the Game of Thrones successor/prequel, tenatively titled The Long Night, when news broke of a second lead actor being announced: Josh Whitehouse, a British actor that fans of Poldark (as we are) will recognize as the romantic, tragic Hugh Armitage.

There’s no information to speak of of Whitehouse’s role in the series, but the EW piece by James Hibberd did share this about Watts’ character:

”[Watts’s character is] a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret.”

“Socialite” has raised eyebrows among fans, as the sort of society that has a “fashionable” or “high” society doesn’t seem like it would fit a Bronze Age-like era as described in the novels. Some interesting thoughts have been put forward, such as her character actually being from Essos and one of the more advanced civilizations that existed there while Westeros was near to barbaric. For my part, I’m guessing that the term is being used very loosely to indicate a character who has made many alliances through personal connections, a “peace-weaver” if you will, after the fashion of the Anglo-Saxon conception of noblewomen binding feuding tribes together through marriage and through their conduct as hostesses and advisors. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Responding to the news, George R.R. Martin weighed in with the expectation that there’d be more announcements soon (as there has been) and the fact that “a couple” of the pitched projects are still being developed, one or more of which may relate to Fire and Blood and its history of the Targaryens from Aegon I to the regency of Aegon III. The word “couple” might well suggest that of the four or five pitches made to HBO, a couple have now fallen by the wayside. Whether this includes Bryan Cogman’s pitch, which we know involved GRRM closely, we do not know but his recently announced overall deal with Amazon does suggest it.

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I'm deeply afraid that the Long Night prequel...won't even be "Laser raptors".  That might even be interesting...in the sense of Aronofsky's "Noah", that pre-Long Night is a blank slate and we know little about what the world was like.

At least that would be inventive - instead, I'm beginning to fear they're simply making a carbon copy of the original TV series.  And yes, not taking into consideration that Bronze Age Westeros wasn't advanced enough to have a "socialite" in it....but not even "different".

Just...just a rehash of the original TV series.  Not only in the sense of "literally the same villains because they're immortal and don't talk" (the White Walkers) but....basically a rip-off of the original TV series, made by casual TV-show viewers who couldn't even remember the names of half the cast.

Halloween party level stuff - "oh look, I'm a stereotype of a Stark! Wearing a costume!"  Just...just a shallow stereotype of the TV show itself, in broad brush strokes.  "Well, why not just make noble courts exactly like in the main series"?

Thankfully, EVEN TV-only news sites reacted to the initial Long Night announcement with disinterest, recognizing it's too similar to the original.

Elio & Linda...I'm even seeing people, news sites....with utter confidence, saying "well, the Long Night was right around the time of the rise of Valyria, so assuredly there will be Valyrians and Dragons in this, the only prequel"

When....3,000 years or so separated the rise of Valyria and the Long Night.  And it's not the only prequel idea, etc.

But what gets me is that they don't just "hope" for this....they have blind faith that "assuredly it will have Valyrians in it because this is when Valyria rose".  No it wasn't.  

This is what 3 years of actively discouraging conscious analysis of the TV series did.  
 

Edited by The Dragon Demands

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10 minutes ago, The Dragon Demands said:

I'm deeply afraid that the Long Night prequel...won't even be "Laser raptors".  That might even be interesting...in the sense of Aronofsky's "Noah", that pre-Long Night is a blank slate and we know little about what the world was like.

At least that would be inventive - instead, I'm beginning to fear they're simply making a carbon copy of the original TV series.  And yes, not taking into consideration that Bronze Age Westeros wasn't advanced enough to have a "socialite" in it....but not even "different".

Just...just a rehash of the original TV series.  Not only in the sense of "literally the same villains because they're immortal and don't talk" (the White Walkers) but....basically a rip-off of the original TV series, made by casual TV-show viewers who couldn't even remember the names of half the cast.

Halloween party level stuff - "oh look, I'm a stereotype of a Stark! Wearing a costume!"

Thankfully, EVEN TV-only news sites reacted to the initial Long Night announcement with disinterest, recognizing it's too similar to the original.

Actually, do we know if the story will be focused on westeros or essos?

Because a LOT of legends from the long night are from essos. It might even be centered in that empire in essos where the blackstone first appeared or something similar...

I actually find very strange that grrm let them do a series about this time period that might answer a lot of the questions about AA and his profecy.

 

Edited by divica

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GRRM has thrown a lot of ambiguity into the ancient time line. And, per the books, there are indeed legends that "dragonsteel" was effective against the Others, which suggests Valyria... or perhaps proto-Valyria, as I've long argued.

Who knows, maybe Watts' character is from the Great Empire of the Dawn, which according to legend sounds like it was advanced enough to have refined society.

 

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Empires generally extend over a wide geographic area and may incorporate many ethnicities, as the Han dynasty did when it incorporated the Indo-Europeans of the Tocharian oasis states into their western borders, and as the Roman empire did, and as the Ottoman empire did, and as the British empire did, and...

Edited by Ran

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2 minutes ago, The Dragon Demands said:

….people from the Great Empire of the Dawn were....East Asian?

do you actually expect someone to know that?

 

Another interesting thing is that the show hasn t established a relation between the others and the long night. As in when the others apeared the sun stoped rising. So will it be always night in got season 8? will the long night only last a short time more than a normal night?

Or will they create a new reason for the long night in the past?

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I was hopeful about this prequel at first.  I really was.  But the more I hear about it...

Well...what is the position of Elio and/or Linda at this point?

Edited by The Dragon Demands

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10 hours ago, The Dragon Demands said:

….a lot of major news sites already reported on the leak about...the other prequel idea.  Are you guys ever going to weigh in on it?  It...basically sounds like the prequel that book-fans would have made, vying for attention with Long Night, which is the show casual TV show watchers would make (people who call Daenerys "Khaleesi" and refer to Tyrion as "that dwarf guy").

Iam surprised they still call her khaleesi after 5 seasons where she stopped being  a fokin khaleesi. 

 

Anyways what i can make from that prequel is that we wont get the answers to the ASOIAF mysteries from the Game of Thrones series,and will have to wait for them to be answered in the prequels. 

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I'm open minded vis-a-vis the prequel.  

Naomi Watts is a talented actress, so I'll watch for that alone.

In terms of the setting, I'm not wild about the Long Night but since we know so little about Planetos before it, I'm curious to see if it's really Bronze Age or actually more civilizationally advanced than the ASOIAF era and has normal seasons.

The Long Night might have retarded their progress. Note how the prequel blurb described the show as being about "the descent from the Golden Age of Heroes".

I'm assuming that while Goldman is coming up with the script, Martin has come up with a more fleshed out overview of this time-period for her to work from, than is already published. 

I hate the working title "The Long Night", though.  "Age of Heroes" would be much better. 

Edited by Krishtotter

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The "Age of Heroes"....wasn't really a "Golden" Age.  Well, in the sense that "Golden Age" Greece had heroes like Hercules...and was filled with monsters, like the hydra he had to kill.

My fear is that a lot of this wasn't actually Martin's idea, so much as the HBO execs picked THEIR favorite idea, then forced him to review it.  GRRM himself said "I've got a choice between being part of it or not being part of it, but the decision to make a prequel at all is out of my hands".  I think he was brought in to do cleanup on an inherently flawed concept.

But who knows.

Edited by The Dragon Demands

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I'm guessing they mean "socialite" in the sense that Margaery could probably be considered a socialite, especially on the show. Someone high-born and wealthy who has access to luxuries missing in places like the North or the Iron Islands. I'm guessing her character is going to be a Gardener or a Lannister who is known for her extravagance. 

It's going to be very peculiar seeing a Westeros pre-Faith of the Seven, though. And I'm personally bored with the Others. 

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It's almost impressive how much fans can make out of one word.  "Socialite" seems irksome, sure, but who the hell knows what it means (not to mention who gave that quote to EW).  I adore Naomi Watts and while I'm unfamiliar with the kid who was cast, seems like most that are have good things to say.  Hard to see why this would be bad news.

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Does anyone else see the potential of Naomi Watts playing a gender-reversed Lann the Clever? She has the Lannister look (granted she could always change her hair color for the role) and "charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret" can easily be in reference to a con artist masquerading as a socialite with the secret being that she's attempting a coup of Casterly Rock.

I haven't really thought it through, but am curious to know everyone's thoughts on the prequel being used to simply show the origin of the houses that have been prevalent in original show? While I think this would be cool to see, I, like The Dragon Demands, am very worried that the prequel will turn into rehashing the same storyline of GOT with new characters and set in a different era and will simplify all narratives to cater to fairweather fans.

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I definitely see the potential, but perhaps she has been cast as Florys the Fox - Lann the Clever's mother according to some of GRRM's legends? Apparently, he was a bastard from one of her promiscuous liaisons. Her "dark secret" was that she kept three husbands, each ignorant of the existence of the other two. 

I just don't know if that's 'dark' enough for the mystery Westerosi/Essosi socialite Naomi will be portraying.  But it wouldn't require a gender-reversal (although it is very plausible that an ancient, legendary female hero might be turned into a man in male-written histories and stories). 

Failing that, she could be a social-climbing courtier in the Empire of the Dawn over in Yi-Ti - in the coterie of the Amethyst Empress.  The dark secret, in this eventuality, could be her participation in the Bloodstone Emperor's coup plot that helps to usher in the Long Night, courtesy of the "Lion of Night". 

Undoubtedly, this latter narrative will feature prominently in the prequel and must surely be the "mysteries of the East" referred to in the premise.  It's one of the more exciting myths from the Age of Herores. 

Since the Dawn Empire was, by all accounts, an advanced and sophisticated culture - as opposed to the Bronze Age barbarism, we presume, of First Men-dominated Westeros at this time in GRRM's legendarium - I think we can expect to see it featuring highly in the TV show, since it offers a lot of good potential intrigue and Byzantine-style politics (judging by the few, sparse details that we know) courtesy of the "Blood Betrayal". 

And its intimately linked with the "Long Night", the watchword for the entire series (I know, White Walkers, not again! But I'm sure they'll jazz it up with the 'Lion of Night' and 'Maiden-made-of-Light'). 

i.e. 

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Lion_of_Night

 

Quote

 

According to tales told by the priestly scribes of Yin, the Lion of Night fathered a son on the Maiden-Made-of-Light. This son was the God-on-Earth, who ruled the Great Empire of the Dawn for ten thousand year before ascending to the heavens. The descendants of the God-Earth ruled the empire after him, each ruling a shorter time than the previous one, until the brother of the Amethyst Empress usurped her in the Blood Betrayal and crowned himself as the Bloodstone Emperor, ushering in the Long Night. The Maiden-Made-of-Light turned her back upon the world and the Lion of Night came forth in all his wroth to punish the wickedness of man.[3]

The Five Forts, which predate the Golden Empire of Yi Ti, are claimed by some to have been raised by the Pearl Emperor to keep the Lion of Night and his demons away from the realms of men.[3]

 

The Five Forts protecting the Empire of the Dawn from the Grey Waste - an expansive, cold desert in far eastern Essos where raiders try to attack - may act as the prequel's answer to the Wall, I think (because it hasn't been constructed yet). 

From the World of Ice and Fire

Quote

Dominion over mankind then passed to his eldest son, who was known as the Pearl Emperor and ruled for a thousand years. The Jade Emperor, the Tourmaline Emperor, the Onyx Emperor, the Topaz Emperor, and the Opal Emperor followed in turn, each reigning for centuries … yet every reign was shorter and more troubled than the one preceding it, for wild men and baleful beasts pressed at the borders of the Great Empire, lesser kings grew prideful and rebellious, and the common people gave themselves over to avarice, envy, lust, murder, incest, gluttony, and sloth.

 

Edited by Krishtotter

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On ‎10‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 11:07 PM, Ran said:

GRRM has thrown a lot of ambiguity into the ancient time line. And, per the books, there are indeed legends that "dragonsteel" was effective against the Others, which suggests Valyria... or perhaps proto-Valyria, as I've long argued.

Who knows, maybe Watts' character is from the Great Empire of the Dawn, which according to legend sounds like it was advanced enough to have refined society.

 

Who is to say the First Men weren't skinchanging dragons? The gift having become suspicious in the North by the time the Targaryens showed up?

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I think they are doing this the right way.  If you are going to make a prequel make it thousands of years before that way you have creative freedom.  Everything they "know" is word of mouth or what someone wrote down which means it can actually be far different.  There can be more dragons/magic/etc.  They get to shape it.  The weapons can be inferior and whole societies can basically be barbarians.  As long as they put the effort into it I have faith in HBO making this good.  Will it be as good?  Nah but it can still be good.

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I'm very unenthusiastic about the Long Night. Imho, this along with a story set in pre-Fall Valyria has waaaaaay too little to do with the Book storyline to be really interesting.
Either it would have to be so different that you gotta ask why this is even related to GoT or (and that's the way it unfortunately looks) it will be so similar that you gotta wonder what people even did in the thousands of years between this and the main story.

Though tbh I'm also kinda worried that this will basically be Vikings set in the Song of Ice and Fire universe and I'm not that interested in watching yet another smelly, growly, uber-macho culture. I'm not a fan of Valyria, but I'd take Valyria over the North.

That being said Vikings is actually a good example of how a socialite might still exist in primitive society. Socially speaking Viking-era Scandinavia still resembled a Bronze age culture and even there you have socially minded, powerful and ambitious women like Aslaug and Siggy (god that was a stupid name for a Viking woman) that could be likened to socialites.

And even so, remember that the Minoan civilization and early Egypt were Bronze Age cultures, and had a high level of sophistication. So yes it's possible that a the wife/favored concubine of a chieftain or petty king in a prosperous part of Westeros would live in relative luxury and high society. Even if those luxuries should, realistically, consist of a couple of ornamental armlets, a shadowcat pelt and a white linen robe. 
 

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The only thing we know about "The Long Night" is that GRRM will have more oversight over it than he did GoT, the name of the actual showrunner, two casting decisions and that it's set in the Age of Heroes and we know even less about the four other prequel series that are still in the mix so the idea that we can surmise anything about the eventual quality of these shows is a bit of a stretch to put it lightly.   

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