A pilot for the ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel is officially on and we know pretty much nothing about it, so let’s start speculating!

The Game of Thrones prequel pilot is OFFICIALLY HAPPENING. I mean, it was a given, sure, but it’s nice to know that it’s really for real going to happen.

So what do we know? Not much. The only thing HBO said about it was:

“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’ 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.”

Let’s break this down:

“The golden Age of Heroes” refers to the period of time when the First Men of Westeros forged a pact with the Children of the Forest to end their war and joined forces against the Others (whom the Children of the Forest created as a weapon against the First Men — whoops).

“Darkest hour” certainly refers to “The Long Night,” a period during the Age of Heroes when Westeros endured a winter that lasted an entire generation, and was subjected to famine and being terrorized by the Others. It’s worth noting that Essos also suffered during the Long Night, and it was from this event that the legend of Azor Ahai came to life.

“Mysteries of the East” suggests that it will explore some of the lands of Essos — perhaps including Valyria (where the Targaryens were originally from) and — one can hope — the Shadow Lands, including Asshai.

“Starks of legend” probably refers to Bran the Builder, the legendary founder of House Stark and builder of the wall. Also a Stark: a mysterious figure known as The Night’s King who, according to legend was the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch until he fell in love with a woman “with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars” and “her skin was cold as ice.” The two took over a castle on the Wall, the Nightfort, and ruled as King and Queen there for 13 years until Brandon the Builder joined forces with the King-Beyond-the-Wall to defeat him.

It should be noted that on the show, the Three-Eyed Raven showed Bran that Night King was a First Man that the Children of the Forest turned into a White Walker. Is this discrepancy between the Night’s King and the Night King what HBO means by “the true origin of the white walkers” and “it’s not the story we think we know”?

And as for “the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history,” all I can think is that this refers to the Long Night.

In the end, HBO’s logline isn’t a whole lot to go on, but it does seem clear that the prequel will not be, as some speculated, the story of the Doom of Valyaria and the Targaryen’s invasion of Westeros. Instead, it sounds like the prequel is going to be focused more on the Long Night, how it unfolded on the two continents, with an emphasis on what Bran the Builder was doing. We actually know very little about him as a character aside from being supposedly responsible for the Wall and Winterfell and his fight with the Night’s King. What was his story before all that?

George R.R. Martin all but confirms this in his blog:

Yes, this is a prequel, not a sequel.   None of the characters or actors from GAME OF THRONES will appear in the new show.   All of the successor shows we’ve been developing have been prequels, as I have mentioned before.   This one really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before GAME OF THRONES (like Dunk & Egg), or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years (well, assuming the oral histories of the First Men are accurate, but there are maesters at the Citadel who insist it has only been half that long).   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).

But who knows. So let the wild speculation begin!

Meanwhile, over on the Game of Thrones‘ sets DOTHRAKI HORDES.

In Other TV News

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But speaking of Felicity: BEN, OBVIOUSLY.

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Here are some showrunners talking about the need to discuss abortion more often and more honestly on TV.

We learned some things about the Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans M.C. It will premiere on FX sometime this fall.

An anime series New Life+: Young Again in Another World has been canceled before it even happened thanks to a bunch of racist tweets its creator made a few years back.

So, did I miss anything on the Tonys last night?

And what do you think, Beau Willimon?

Terry Bradshaw is Team Philadelphia Eagles.

I don’t want to dwell on sad things, but I have to share a few more things about Anthony Bourdain.

A reminder: Parts Unknown is currently available to stream on Netflix, but will leave the platform on Friday. Binge now, and be sure to watch the Houston episode.

Here’s The New Yorker article that started it all.

Anderson Cooper’s tribute to his friend was lovely and clearly heartfelt.

Laura Lippman writes about how she brought Bourdain on as a writer for Treme. Bourdain wrote a brilliant scene in Treme for fellow TV chef, Emeril Lagasse, a man Bourdain had been dismissive of until he actually met him.

Bourdain’s suicide prompted many other celebrities to be open about their own struggles with depression, which will hopefully make someone out there feel a little less alone.

But the thing that sticks in my heart about Bourdain’s death, the thing that makes me cry if I think about it for too long, is that he single-handedly changed so many people’s lives for the better. Not just the viewers whose minds and hearts were opened up a little by his programs, but actual people whose fortunes were fundamentally changed just because he came into their lives.

This Chinese restaurant owner, for instance, whose establishment has become known as one of the best Chinese restaurants after Bourdain visited their noodle stand:

Or this woman whose back he had in a sexual harassment situation:

Or the Make-a-Wish kid he helped out:

Or this woman whose review of an Olive Garden in Grand Forks, North Dakota had become an object of ridicule — even with Bourdain — who, upon second thought, realized that she represented a whole swath of the country that he had been guilty of ignoring. He flew her to New York City and gave her a book deal and changed her life.

Or this person who Bourdain made to feel seen:

And that’s what I’m left with, how it just breaks my heart to contemplate how dark the place he was in must have been for it to overtake all the good he did in this world.


This is a decent article about how the #MeToo movement has been reflected in television storylines in the past year.

And here, a number of showrunners discuss sexism and the need for diversity in the writers’ room.

John Lasseter is out at Pixar at the end of the year.

Ryan Lizza has found a new job at Esquire after being ousted at The New Yorker.

UltraViolet and the National Organization for Women are calling for Comcast to do a better job on their Matt Lauer investigation. Matt Lauer is going to get to keep his New Zealand ranch, by the way.

No, Charlie Rose, go away.


  • Succession has been renewed by HBO for a second season. Yay!


In Development

Casting News

Mark Your Calendar

  • Glow returns on Netflix on June 29
  • Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan will debut on Amazon on August 31.
  • Fear the Walking Dead will return on August 12, giving me plenty of time to catch up.
  • The Good Cop will debut on Netflix on September 21.
  • Anne with an E returns on Netflix on July 6.


Jackson Odell, Actor best known for his work on The Goldbergs (and no relation — that I know of)

Neal Boyd, Winner of America’s Got Talent

Eunice Gayson, Actress


The Bachelorette: Richard Marx is involved somehow. What even is this. 7 p.m., ABC

Nine to Five: A movie for our times that just happened to come out in 1980. 8 p.m., HBO Comedy

The Goonies: Because I’m feeling nostalgic apparently. 4 p.m., AMC

Late Night: Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Jim Parsons, Marlon Wayans, Smashing Pumpkins Late Night with Seth Meyers: Jake Tapper, Jane Krakowski, Devin Dawson, Brian Frasier-Moore The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Chris Matthews, Alicia Silverstone, Eels The Late Late Show with James Corden: Hilary Duff, the Jaded Hearts Club Jimmy Kimmel Live: Bob Odenkirk, DJ Khaled, Future Conan: Amanda Peet, Daniel Cormier, Steve Cropper & Benjamin Booker The Daily Show: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Col. Don Christensen, BriGette McCoy The Opposition with Jordan Klepper : Shannon Watts Watch What Happens Live: Tituss Burgess, Kelly Preston


MON. 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
ABC The Bachelorette
The $100,000 Pyramid
Man with a Plan
NCIS: New Orleans
CW Supergirl
Whose Line is it Anyway?
Whose Line is it Anyway?
FOX So You Think You Can Dance


NBC Running Wild with Bear Grylls
The Voice

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