'Game of Thrones' Prequel Series Starts Filming, But What's a Bloodmoon?

Filming has begun on the first Game of Thrones prequel series, set during the Long Night, when the White Walkers first swept down upon Westeros in the Age of Heroes, thousands of years before the War of the Five Kings depicted in the original HBO series.

Game of Thrones fan site Watchers on the Wall reports the prequel is currently in production, shooting at Glenariff, a stunning valley in Northern Ireland, which has previously been used as a filming location for the Vale of Arryn, where Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Peter "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen) first fled after the Purple Wedding. British tabloid The Sun also reports filming at a set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which has long been a production hub for Game of Thrones. The Sun, citing an anonymous source, also claims to have heard an evocative working title for the series: Bloodmoon.

Just as the 2009 Star Trek filmed under the title Corporate Headquarters and The Matrix sequels used the codename The Burly Man, it's likely Bloodmoon isn't the actual title of the Game of Thrones prequel series. Our money is still on Martin's preferred title: The Long Night. But Bloodmoon might still have some importance to the series.

Westeros isn't on Earth—it may be a little larger, George R.R. Martin has speculated—but it does have a single moon, similar to ours. In the A Song of Ice and Fire books, the moon over Westeros goes through phases, like ours, and casts pale moonlight. In Qarth, where Daenerys visited the House of the Undying in Game of Thrones Season 2, many believe that there were once two moons, until the dragons hatched from the second of the planet's satellites. But there's nothing in ASOIAF lore about a bloodmoon.

The official description of the prequel series from HBO doesn't shed much light either:

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. 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.

There have been other astrological omens important to Game of Thrones, particularly the red comet that appeared in the sky in Season 2. In A Song of Ice and Fire, there are also the wanderers, seven stars that correspond to the seven gods in the Faith of the Seven widely practiced in Westeros. One star, associated with the Thief, is red, similar to Mars.

So while nothing we know about A Song of Ice and Fire stands out as particularly bloody and moon-y, there is certainly precedent for astronomical bodies playing a part in the politics of Westeros, particularly as omens to be read in different ways by different factions.

Other hints about filming for the series are in short supply. Watchers on the Wall has a handful of leaked set photos from Paint Hall Studios in Belfast. They show pulleys and scaffolding lashed together from logs, plus a gnarly-looking cliff face.

Whether it's eventually called The Long Night or Bloodmoon, the Game of Thrones prequel series will star Naomi Watts as "a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret." The pilot for the series, filming now, was written by showrunner Jane Goldman (Kingsman series, X-Men: First Class). No release date has been announced.