No, The 'Game Of Thrones' Prequel Is Not Called 'The Long Night' – At Least, Not Yet

George R.R. Martin, perpetual procrastinator and author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, has not revealed the Game of Thrones prequel title for HBO's upcoming series. Despite Martin's claims and despite what you may have read elsewhere, The Long Night is not the official title for the new show.

Yesterday, we wrote about how Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts was cast in a lead role in the untitled Game of Thrones spin-off, which is set to take place thousands of years before the events of the current show. Martin shared the casting news in a post on his blog, where he referred to the show as "The Long Night", a reference to a period of Westerosi history during the Age of Heroes when the White Walkers emerged for the first time and faced off against the First Men.

We reached out to HBO to see if this title was official, and they quickly responded: "The Prequel pilot remains untitled."

Here's how the wires probably got crossed: back in June, Martin wrote another entry on his blog sharing some details about the prequel show. In that piece, he said:

We're very early in the process, of course, with the pilot order just in, so we don't have a director yet, or a cast, or a location, or even a title.  (My vote would be THE LONG NIGHT, which says it all, but I'd be surprised if that's where we end up.  More likely HBO will want to work the phrase "game of thrones" in there somewhere. We'll know sooner or later).

So it turns out The Long Night is just Martin's personal nickname for this project, and that's how he's referring to it until the network announces an official title.

Here's the official synopsis of the series:

Taking place thousands of years before the events of "Game of Thrones," [showrunner Jane] Goldman's project 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' 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.

Martin has previously said that this show takes place ten thousand years before the events of Game of Thrones, and that it won't feature any characters or actors from the current series.

Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass) co-created this show alongside Martin. He's also executive producing it, so it stands to reason that he'd know a good deal about the premise. If he's settled on The Long Night for a nickname, chances seem very high that either A) HBO could incorporate that phrase somewhere into the official title, as in Game of Thrones: The Long Night, or B) if that isn't part of the title, it's at least a strong indicator of the era in which the new show will take place.

A Quick History Lesson

For the uninitiated, The Long Night took place "in the midst of a great winter that lasted for years. The Long Night lasted a generation and laid waste through famine and terror." The First Men and the Children of the First Men fought against the Others (aka the White Walkers) in the North, and the fight finally concluded with the Battle for the Dawn, an epic confrontation in which the first members of the Night's Watch drove the White Walkers back. With ice and magic, Bran the Builder constructed The Wall – 700-foot-high and three hundred miles long – to protect the realms of Men in case the White Walkers ever returned.

The Long Night affected more than just Westeros, though. In Essos, it was sparked on by an event known as the Blood Betrayal and ended with a hero known as Azor Ahai wielding a flaming sword named Lightbringer and leading humanity to victory. Book readers and careful show watchers will recognize the name Azor Ahai: thousands of years later, the priestess Melisandre thought Stannis Baratheon was Azor Ahai reborn, the man who would lead humanity to victory once again. (Spoiler alert: he wasn't.)

A Hint About Another Prequel

Martin also teased something else in yesterday's blog post (and no, it doesn't have anything to do with The Winds of Winter):

Meanwhile, there are still a couple of other possible prequels in active development. I can't tell you the subject matter of those projects, no, sorry, wish I could. The readers among you might want to grab a copy of FIRE & BLOOD when it is released on November 20, though.

Fire & Blood is Martin's upcoming book, the first of a two-volume history detailing the Targaryen family, their reign, and the civil war that threatened their dynasty. If he's telling people to bone up on their Targaryen lore, it seems likely that one of the other shows will be set around three hundred years before Game of Thrones and focus on that family.