Anticipation mounts for “Bloodmoon,” the “Game of Thrones” prequel that takes place thousands of years before the main series, now that HBO has released a brief 32 second teaser trailer.
Fans do know that Jane Goodman (“X-Men,” “Kickass”) is acting as showrunner, and the show will star acclaimed actors such as Naomi Watts, Josh Whitehouse, Naomi Ackie and Jamie Campbell Bower (of “Harry Potter”). Perhaps the most exciting member of the “Bloodmoon” crew is George R. R. Martin, the creator of the source material and “A Song Of Ice And Fire” universe, who will work as a screenwriter.
HBO is developing “Bloodmoon” in the shadow of a “Game of Thrones” finale that fans widely considered a disappointment. One looming reason why “Game of Thrones” fans were disappointed by Season 8 is because larger questions of Martin’s universe, such as a more complete origin story of the White Walkers and a grand explanation of the mystical aspects of Westeros, like the Children of the Forest, got ignored.
Audiences view the lack of source material from Martin following Season 4 as the cause of the HBO series’s failings. With Martin writing for “Bloodmoon,” the latter issue is certainly resolved.
An original prequel series would give Martin the perfect opportunity to explain the still unknown aspects of his story that the previous cable series failed to do justice.
The Teaser Trailer and The Children
Judging from the teaser trailer for “Bloodmoon,” the mythical Children of the Forest will take center stage in the story, as nearly every shot involves them. The Children are a magical non-human race who inhabited Westeros for thousands of years before humanity arrived.
Within “Game of Thrones,” the main characters feel the legacy of the magical race. They gave Jon Snow the dragon glass that he used to kill White Walkers. The Children taught people to worship the Old Gods. And they were the first to use warging powers, which later became associated with Brandon Stark. In both the television show and the book series, the Children have received very little attention, despite being quite important to the story.
In addition, the Children of the Forest are relevant to the “Game of Thrones” main story because of their relationship with the First Men and the White Walkers. The First Men and the Children battled for years until they signed a peace treaty at the Isle of Faces.
A line of dialogue from one of the Children in the teaser, explaining how their culture came before humanity, puts the tensions of their conflict at the forefront for what “Bloodmoon” will cover.
The Children’s most important legacy in “Game of Thrones” is that, in desperation, the magical race created the White Walkers to aid their fight against humanity. Fans are hungry for a more complete origin story of the Night King and the White Walkers. There is ample reason to believe HBO will showcase humanity’s first struggle with the White Walkers with the release of the logline for “Bloodmoon.”
The spinoff series’s official synopsis explains that the prequel will chronicle “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.” By darkest hour, HBO likely is referring to The Long Night, in which the first White Walker invasion caused a brutal winter lasting generations.
The logline continues to explain how “Bloodmoon” will reveal “the true origin of the White Walkers” and how the prequel is not “the story we think we know.” Despite explicitly showing how the White Walkers were created in Season 6, Episode 5 of “Game of Thrones,” Martin seems to be taking another stab at the origin story of one of the series’s antagonists in a program he has more creative control over.
Also, specifically mentioned by the logline are the Starks of Winterfell, which would make sense as they’re one of the oldest clans in Westeros, with members reaching as far back as the dawn of human civilization. “Bloodmoon” could focus on a number of legendary Starks, such as Brandon the Builder, a legendary figure who raised both Winterfell and the Wall — crucial pieces of Westerosi history.
Or perhaps “Bloodmoon” could focus on someone more controversial, such as the Night’s King. No, not that Night King. The Night King, leader of the White Walker force who faces off against Jon Snow, and the Night’s King are two completely different characters. Born a Stark, the Night’s King became the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch before falling in love with a female White Walker.
Focusing on the Night’s King would thrill audiences with the allure of forbidden romance while also giving Martin an opportunity to explain the true origin of the White Walkers.
HBO makes sure to state that “Bloodmoon” will explore “the mysteries of the east.” By “the east,” HBO is referring to the continents beyond Westeros such as Essos, which audiences have seen parts of, and Sothoryos, about which there is almost no information about in either the television program or the book series. There are also many other civilizations “Bloodmoon” can explore beyond Westeros, such as the mysterious forts of Yi Ti or the shadowlands of Asshai.
Martin’s Entertainment Weekly Interview
However, Martin seems most likely to focus on the old empire of Valyria. Theorists have come to this conclusion after an interview Martin gave at Entertainment Weekly, where the author explains “Bloodmoon” will take place 5,000 years before “Game of Thrones” rather than 10,000 years.
To a casual viewer, the time adjustment might seem like a negligible difference, but moving the date of the events of “Bloodmoon” confuses the established timeline within the series. Martin likely altered the timeline to allow for the Valyrian Empire to factor into the show, which began its rise to dominance 5,000 years before the events of “Game of Thrones.”
Valyria is an old empire, ruled by dragon riders, and it acted as the equivalent of Rome during the civilization’s rule. The empire’s dragon-based dominance meant nothing when the Doom of Valyria happened, causing the civilization to die out. Only a small, relatively insignificant Valyrian noble family, the Targaryens, survived.
In addition to being the home of the ancestors of House Targaryen, the empire also invented Valyrian steel, which would later be made into weapons, such as Jon Snow’s Longclaw.
One notable character to have used Valyrian steel is The Last Hero, a legendary figure from the Age of Heroes who supposedly goes out alone into the wilderness, slaying his way through White Walkers to find the Children of the Forest to aid humanity. The Last Hero is just one legendary figure who, along with the Lord of Light’s prophet Azor Ahai, needs to be explained further in the prequel series, since neither receives any attention in “Game of Thrones.”
Martin makes sure to explain that, while elements from “Game of Thrones” will be present in “Bloodmoon,” the two series are distinct stories. “There is no King’s Landing,” Martin explains, “no Iron Throne, no Targaryens.” The setting and narrative will be mostly original.
The show’s originality is a boon. It ensures to a certain degree that the prequel will not be overly similar to “Game of Thrones.” However, there is still some risk, as the main subjects covered in “Bloodmoon” — White Walkers, Children of the Forest, Valyria, the First Men — have little to no detail in the source material, meaning HBO could make the same mistakes they made in the later seasons of “Game of Thrones.” Yet, because Martin himself is playing a key role in development, fans should not worry, as the author will surely mold “Bloodmoon” in the way he wishes.