The first few tidbits about HBO's upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series have started trickling in. And, unsurprisingly, those details that have been released pale in comparison to the fan-fueled theories and questions that have cropped up in their wake. Mostly, people are wondering where the Game of Thrones prequel will take place. Anyone familiar with George R.R. Martin's ultra-complicated fantasy epic (the TV show or the book series from which it was adapted) knows that, when it comes to setting, the Game of Thrones universe has quite a few options to choose from.
First, obviously, there's Westeros, the sprawling landscape that took center stage in Game of Thrones' first eight seasons. But, as more dedicated fans of the franchise might remember, Westeros isn't the only continent that exists on GoT's blustery fictional planet. In fact, as an Oct. 29 report from Uproxx noted, there's a neighboring continent called Essos, home of the Free Cities, which served as the backdrop to many of GoT's Daenerys-centric storylines in past seasons. So, what does Essos have to do with the GoT prequel series?
Well, nothing's official yet (really, not much has been revealed about the upcoming prequel project, at this point), but creative GoT fans on the internet who've been positing potential theories about the prequel's setting do seem to think Essos could be a real possibility. "Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour," reads HBO's synopsis, which it released alongside its initial GoT prequel announcement back in June.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Martin's book series says the Age of Heroes took place some 10,000 years before the start of GoT, and eventually catalyzed the "darkest hour" HBO's synopsis seemed to be getting at. (In the series, it's called The Long Night.) Suffice to say, the remainder of HBO's prequel synopsis definitely speaks to the whole "endless winter, endless doom" situation:
"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."
Now, just because the GoT prequel is due to turn the clocks back several millenniums doesn't necessarily mean it'll take place across the Narrow Sea. (Where Essos is located.) That said, according to several reports that surfaced Tuesday, Oct. 30, Naomi Watts will star in the GoT prequel. Though most details about Watts' role haven't been released yet — the character's name, included — Variety reported that Watts' GoT prequel character will be "a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret."
As one fan pointed out on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, it's possible that Watts' inclusion in the prequel series could mean that the show will take place in Valyria, land of blonde-haired aristocrats, not far from where Daenerys' ancestors probably first settled. During GoT's original reign, Valyria was already in ruins, previously headquartered by the powerful Valyrian Freehold until its demise long, long, long ago. The "socialite" description of Watts' character definitely hints that she'll belong to one of the prequel era's elite houses. So, perhaps the Valyrian Freehold, then?
Since Valyria was located on an Essos peninsula before it fell to ruin, this particular suggestion also seems to fit within the overall "Essos" theory with regard to the GoT prequel's setting. Of course, at this point, pretty much any and all theories about where exactly the prequel will take place are basically just that. (Theories.) But, until more concrete information about the GoT prequel's premise and plot are actually released, eager viewers will just have to speculate — and, who knows, maybe even make some predictions — about the series' fantastical backdrop amongst themselves. Let these theories inspire your own, GoT fans!