Game of Thrones took its final bow last night after eight thrilling seasons.
But with a prequel already announced, fans don’t have to wait too long until their Westeros-shaped hole is filled once again.
Here’s everything we know about it – from the title to the casting line-up and everything in between.
What’s it going to be called?
There’s no official title yet but a couple have been brandished about over the last few months.
According to some reports it’s being referred to as Bloodmoon by those working on the set in Belfast.
George RR Martin, the author and creator of Game of Thrones, previously referred to the pilot as The Long Night – but had to backtrack and state that the show is still untitled.
The Long Night was the name of episode three in season eight of Game of Thrones, when the Night King rocked up at Westeros.
When is it set?
Whatever it’s called, the show will be set around 5,000 years before events in Game of Thrones.
That means none of the characters we’ve come to love and hate over the last eight years will even be alive yet.
But there is one exception.
The Night King, played by Slovak actor Vladimir Furdik, will feature in the prequel.
Which brings us on to the next point…
What’s it going to be about?
The series “chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour”, according to HBO.
“From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one thing is for sure: it’s not the story we think we know.”
The Age of Heroes refers to the period of time when the Children of the Forest made a pact with the First Men, which brought about peace.
And the “darkest hour” is a reference to The Long Night, which is when the White Walkers first descended on the world, disturbing that peace and bringing the savage winter that lasted for years.
So it looks like we’ll finally get an origin story for the Night King, and potentially something about the Stark/Lannister back story.
The prequel takes place when Bran the Builder, the Stark ancestor who built both Winterfell and the Wall, was alive.
And with Lann the Clever who founded House Lannister also around during this time there’s a chance we’ll get some background to the famous rivalry.
Will there be any dragons?
Sorry – no.
“You’re looking at a whole different era of Westeros,” George RR Martin told the Hollywood Reporter last month.
“No dragons, no Iron Throne, no King’s Landing.”
Who’s going to be in it?
Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, who’s starred in things like King Kong, is the biggest name signed up to the prequel so far and was the first to be confirmed.
She’s been cast in a leading role as “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret”.
Fans are speculating that she could be playing Nissa Nissa – the wife of legendary hero Azor Ahai who’s known for wielding a burning sword called Lightbringer – although that is still unconfirmed.
Naomi isn’t the only Oscar nominee to bag a role – Miranda Richardson, who played journalist Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter, has also been confirmed.
Jamie Campbell Bower, aka the young Gellert Grindelwald in the first Deathly Hallows and Fantastic Beasts, is also taking a part, as is John Simm – The Master on Doctor Who – and Georgie Henley, or Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia.
The full list is available on IMDB, but we’ll have to wait to learn which specific characters they’ll all be playing.
When will we get to see it?
Not until at least next year, although filming has already started in Belfast.
HBO’s Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter “there’s no timetable”, adding: “If we do a pilot and series, nothing is going to air on HBO until at least a year after the final season.”
So that means May 2020 at the earliest.
But we may need that long to recover from season eight anyway…
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Puerto Rico governor refuses to resign as island braces for big protest
(Reuters) – Puerto Rico’s governor on Sunday said he would not seek re-election next year but refused to resign as the island braced for more protests by demonstrators demanding he step down over leaked chat messages.
A day before a planned general strike and street demonstrations in the bankrupt U.S. territory, Ricardo Rossello, 40, said he respected the wishes of Puerto Ricans and would not seek a second term in November 2020 elections.
He also said he would resign as head of the New Progressive Party (PNP) but would remain as governor until the end of his term in January, 2021.
“I know that apologizing is not enough,” Rossello said in a video posted on Facebook. “A significant sector of the population has been protesting for days. I’m aware of the dissatisfaction and discomfort they feel. Only my work will help restore the trust of these sectors and lead the way to real reconciliation.”
His comments drew outrage from the many Puerto Ricans, with videos on social media showing San Juan residents leaning out of apartment windows banging pots and pans in a third day of so-called “cacerolazo” protests.
The July 13 publication of offensive chat messages between Rossello and top aides has unleashed simmering resentment over his handling of devastating 2017 hurricanes, alleged corruption in his administration and the island’s bankruptcy process.
“‘#Resign Ricky isn’t just a call for him to resign from the party, but from his seat as the top official,” tweeted Linda Michelle, an industrial engineer and Puerto Rico radio personality. “Whoever wasn’t sure about going to the march tomorrow has now made up their mind to go.”
Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative to the U.S. Congress, as well as Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers have called for the governor to step aside after nine days of sometimes violent protests.
“Once again: Rosselló must resign,” tweeted U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to his video.
But Puerto Rico’s Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, a member of the pro-statehood PNP, said Rossello’s actions “put an end to part of the controversies and trauma hitting our people” and his ruling party now had to rebuild confidence in their leadership.
In the online chats revealed by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, the center-right governor and his top allies referred to politicians, celebrities and ordinary Puerto Ricans in misogynistic, homophobic and offensive terms.
The speaker of Puerto Rico’s house of representatives appointed an independent panel on Friday to investigate whether the chats warranted impeachment and gave it 10 days to deliver a report.
“I have to respect the constitutional order and welcome the process started by the legislative assembly,” Rossello said in the video.
The latest unrest comes at a critical stage in the U.S. territory’s bankruptcy process as it tries to restructure around $120 billion in debt and pension obligations.
It has also raised concerns among U.S. lawmakers who are weighing the island’s requests for billions of federal dollars for healthcare and work to recover from Hurricane Maria, which led to nearly 3,000 deaths.
Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Additional reporting by Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney, Dan Grebler and Daniel Wallis
Mexico says dodges bullet on ‘safe third country’ talks with U.S. after stemming migrant flows
MEXICO CITY/SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – Mexico said on Sunday it averted the so-called “safe third country” negotiations with the United States it desperately wanted to avoid after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Mexican efforts in reducing U.S.-bound migrant flows.
But Pompeo, while praising Mexico’s efforts, said there was still “more work to do.”
Pompeo met with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on Sunday in Mexico City amid heightened bilateral tension ahead of a July 22 deadline on a deal that removed tariff threats on Mexican exports.
An agreement reached in June laid out that if the United States deems that Mexico has not done enough to thwart migrants by the deadline, the two countries would begin talks over changing rules to make most asylum seekers apply for refuge in Mexico, not the United States.
Ebrard said considering the advances Mexico had made, it was not necessary to “initiate any type of negotiation on a safe third country agreement between Mexico and the United States.”
Pompeo, however, was less definitive. He praised the progress made by Mexico in helping cut apprehensions on the U.S. southern border by a almost a third last month, but added: “We’ve got a long way to go yet. There’s still much more work to do.
“As for the next set of actions, I’ll talk with the president and the teams back in Washington and we’ll decide exactly which tools and exactly how to proceed,” Pompeo said at a news conference in San Salvador, the last leg of a short Latin American tour.
Mexico argues it has followed through on its commitment to reduce migration from Central America, underscoring that apprehensions of migrants on the southern U.S. border dropped roughly a third to about 100,000 in June. Mexico has deployed some 21,000 militarized National Guard police to decrease the flow of people.
Under the agreement, Mexico averted punitive tariffs on U.S.-bound Mexican shipments threatened by President Donald Trump by promising to cut the number of illegal migrants traveling from Central America to the U.S. border.
The meeting between the nations’ two top diplomats came a day before the end of the 45-day period and as U.S lawmakers wrangle over a regional trade deal meant to replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Mexican ambassador to Washington, Martha Barcena, on Thursday said “we have said once and again that we are not ready to sign” any such safe third country agreement.
Trump has made immigration a cornerstone of his presidency and pledged to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico in his 2016 run for office. He has since fought with Congress and in the courts for funding to pay for it.
His administration announced sweeping new asylum rules last Monday that bar almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border by requiring them first to pursue safe haven in a third country through which they had traveled on the way to the United States.
However, Mexico has long resisted U.S. pressure to formally accept the safe third country status.
Reporting by Anthony Esposito in Mexico City and Nelson Renteria in San Salvador; Editing by Nick Macfie and Dan Grebler
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