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Long Night Pilot Dead at HBO

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According to Deadline, the Jane Goldman-led pilot set in the era leading up to the Long Night is not getting a series pickup from HBO. While there’s no official statement from HBO to this end, reporting has it that Goldman has been contacting cast and crew to inform them of this.

As we noted at Worldcon, Linda and I did some consulting work on the project. Our interaction with Jane and follow executive producer James Farrell impressed us with their dedication and interest in the setting and its history.

Some guessed this might be the outcome after word spilled last month that a new pilot was nearing an order from HBO, one somehow based on the Targaryen history in the Targaryen history presented in Fire & Blood (Amazon) and being developed by Ryan Condal. At his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin spoke very approvingly of the bible and pilot script Condal had put together, but so far there has been no clear confirmation that this is the next pilot to be filmed.

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At the same time as D&D leaves Star Wars. Coincidence? Maybe all this is just a PR stunt and they will revive the show with D&D as showrunners?

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15 minutes ago, Mordor said:

At the same time as D&D leaves Star Wars. Coincidence? Maybe all this is just a PR stunt and they will revive the show with D&D as showrunners?

James Hibberd said he heard that this would be the case "a few weeks ago", so just coincidence. 

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The owner of HBO just informed the investors their cable networks are losing subscribers massively. The era of premium cable is dead and they are getting desperate to catch the streaming train. They need a huge headline grabber which will be able to compete with all the megaexpensive shows on Disney+, Amazon, Netflix, Apple and others. This was clearly not it. My quess HBO will now go full in with their Targarien show and there will be dragons and huge battle scenes and they will spend an offensive amount of money on it. Everything the former HBO boss said they won´t do. 

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Hello.

If they have filmed material for this pilot, why not use it and broadcast it? It can be stand alone or for fans bonus also... just one idea...

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Posted (edited)

Linguist David J. Peterson gave an interesting interview in November (which I only just found) explaining his work on the Long Night prequel:

@DothrakiCreator

this is our first really confirmed evidence on what exactly it was like - though Peterson himself stressed that he never even saw the whole script, didn't know what the whole story was like, and only knew what he could guess from the few lines they wanted him to translate.  Out of secrecy they never sent him more than that.

  • the only human ethnic group living in Westeros at this time were the First Men, who spoke the Old Tongue...which was treated as the default language, and therefore represented by English.  He didn't do any new work on Old Tongue for this.
  • The Andals were going to appear prominently.  He was hired to make an Andal language.  He loosely described it as: "Set before the Andal invasion, the First Men and the Children of the Forest are already getting on well together, and then the Andals come over, and that's the beginning of the series." - This would seem to be mashing the Long Night AND Andal Invasions together...however, even he said he didn't have access to the whole script, so this might be just his vague guess.  Just because SOME Andals were coming over doesn't necessarily make it THE "Andal Invasion".  Unclear.
  • Complicating matters is that the modern "Common Tongue" is really "the Common Tongue of the Andals".  The workaround was that this IS thousands of years ago, languages change over time, so what he has them actually speaking is basically Ancient Andalish (he pronounces it "Andal-lush").  Basically imagine if you set a show in post-Roman Britain, and all the Welsh-speaking people are rendered as modern English, while the Anglo-Saxons are all speaking Old English.  So he had to work backwards to sort of reverse engineer something that sounds like it COULD turn into modern Common Tongue / modern English, but not quite.  They wanted him to sort of do what he did for the Warcraft movie:  suffixes and prepositions are largely similar, but the middle of words was fictional.  Sort of like "He was frinking until he smurfed"; "-ing" and "-ed" are the same.  But then he'd reverse-engineer the great English Vowel Shift of the early modern era; so basically they'd be speaking with vowels that no longer exist in modern English but did in Old English; i.e. "he was smoorfed" (with Old English sounds) seems a lot more plausible as a language than just "he smurfed" (using only modern English sounds).  Quite a lot of interesting thought went into this.  
  • The show didn't have an "official" name and likely never will; those tend to get picked and settled on after a pilot succeeds and goes to full order.  Yes, he saw "Bloodmoon" on paperwork, just as we did in leaks, but he also saw "Age of Heroes", "Long Night", etc.  So "Bloodmoon" was apparently a provisional name, which was extensively being used on paperwork we have photos of, but as it was never greenlit it never achieved a finalized name. Either way, as a linguist, he's often the last to know about such production discussions (I will continue to call it "Bloodmoon", just to distinguish it from the events called "the Long Night" and "the Age of Heroes").  
  • The story details he knew were that he had to develop Andalish lyrics for a wedding song, and that an important wedding was going to be a major part of the pilot episode.   I suspect like how the Daenerys/Drogo wedding was a major point in the first episode of Game of Thrones, setting much of the plot in motion.  His exact words were:  "Somebody was getting married to somebody else, and that made somebody mad - Somebody was getting married to an Andalosi woman, and that was going to start turmoil - but the turmoil didn't start in that episode, it was threatened". (The actual wedding song lyrics were generic well-wishes of good fortune on a wedding day). 
  • Given that our one big photo of Naomi Watts in costume was in a very ornate dress, that looked very foreign/mediterranean, and that her character was blonde when Andals are famously blonde, and that her filming location looked like Casterly Rock cliffs (the same week GRRM made a conspicuous interview comment about the Casterlys)....I suspect that Naomi Watts' character was some sort of Andal noblewoman, marrying a Casterly at Casterly Rock, and that this destabilized the political situation.
  • Still unclear if her character would actually be "a gender-swapped Lann the Clever" (as some have speculated):  for all we know, their version of Lann would have been like, her son, or a knight in her retinue who later usurped her family or something.  But at the very least it seems she was the Andal woman being married, if only due to her prominence.
  • the Children of the Forest would have appeared prominently in season one (raising the question of who the heck was playing them...) so he worked on their language as well.  He DOES NOT mention working on other languages, which seems to dispell the groundless speculation that "we'll definitely see the Summer Isles!" or "we'll definitely see Yi Ti!".
  • He's mentioned this in prior interviews: he actually already came up with a language for the Children of the Forest in Season 6 of the TV show, but the producers ultimately decided not to use it.  So he didn't "invent" the True Tongue for this prequel pilot, he just rounded it out a bit more.  
  • He and the writers "collaborated directly with GRRM" on choosing the exact name for the Children in their own language.  This may make it semi-canon.  We already knew that their name for themselves is "Those Who Sing the Songs of the Earth" / "Singers of the Earth".  In their own language, this is "Gerna Mohra" (the R's are heavily trilled).  Also called just "Mohra" for short ("the Singers").  The language's name is simply "Gerna Mohr" without the "a" (I would guess, "song of the Earth"?)

Information he gave on other prequel projects:

  • Peterson confirmed that the third prequel pitch was in fact an Old Valyria series.  Though it never got to the casting phase, put on hold after HBO went with Long Night.  He was hired to develop languages for this, though ultimately he never got started before it was shelved.  The Valyria prequel pitch was actually made before the Long Night pitch, that came later.
  • Thus three out of five pitches were: Long Night, Old Valyria, and House of the Dragon.  He got confused in this interview and thought Bryan Cogman's pitch was something else, he hadn't heard the name "House of the Dragon" before - though as GRRM explained in his blog, House of the Dragon IS the Cogman prequel....or rather, covering the same historical era, but starting over fresh with new writers (Cogman was so busy with Season 8 that even he openly said he didn't think the pitch he had time to submit was very well-developed).  And the Cogman/House of the Dragon pitch is, apparently, Dance of the Dragons (well...."the second half of Fire & Blood").  
  • Given that GRRM said in November 2018 that TWO prequel pitches were based on Fire & Blood, I suspect that the fourth pitch was Targaryen Conquest & Faith Militant uprising.  I have no idea what the fifth one was.
  • Peterson himself said that beyond these three confirmed ones, he had absolutely no idea what the fourth and fifth prequels could be.  Nor did anyone he worked with; no one knew anything about the fourth and fifth prequels...I would assume, because they never got very far in production, but were rejected early.  In contrast, the Old Valyria prequel was developed enough that they wanted to hire him as their linguist.
  • Unfortunately, House of the Dragon has not contacted Peterson (not yet anyway) to develop languages for their show.  And you'd think, the Free Cities appear prominently enough, or characters from them, that they COULD work that in (Triarchy, Battle of the Gullet, etc.) - possibly just because they're not in Season 1, I don't know.  Or maybe they just haven't contacted him yet. 
Edited by The Dragon Demands

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