6:14 pm EDT, October 30, 2018

‘Game of Thrones’ prequel: Is Naomi Watts playing the original Lannister?

Who is Naomi Watts playing in the Game of Thrones prequel series? One very specific and unexpected idea has risen to the top of fans’ minds.

Aside from her acting chops and diverse resume, one thing in particular leaps out about Naomi Watts’ recent casting in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series. With her her bright blonde hair and blue-green eyes, Watts looks quite remarkably like a Lannister.

Or, as fans fluent in the lore of Westeros now theorize, one very specific Lannister. An unexpected Lannister, who has remained a largely unexposed mystery of history. An original Lannister, by the humble name of Lann. Lann the Clever, to his (or her) friends.

Confused? Let’s back up for a second.

Details on the series are still scarce, but according to HBO, the Game of Thrones prequel is set thousands of years before the now-familiar epic of dragons, wolves, winter, and magic. The story “chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour,” the network says. “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.”

All this means that we can probably expect origin stories to play an important role in the Game of Thrones prequel. The stories of the Age of Heroes and its cold end in the Long Night contain the first seeds of the Westeros fans have come to know.

Uninfluenced by the conquering Targaryens and their dragons, this is a Westeros still flexible in its identity; many of the events of this history have exponential impacts on the DNA (literally) of the continent that eventually emerges.

One place where this is particularly true is the Westerlands, where a fellow called Lann eventually becomes the progenitor of House Lannister. (The root connection, obviously, is clear.) Living… well, a really ling time ago, Lann is a figure of mystery and legend to even the most learned Maesters (and fan-people) of Westeros.

Perhaps a bastard scion of the equally-legendary Garth Greenhand, or maybe an adventuring Andal from across the sea, this unlikely sprite somehow stole Casterly Rock from the ruling House Casterly. The most common tale involves Lann squeezing naked and covered in butter through the walls of Casterly Rock, whispering and screeching until family fled their “haunted” domain. Others say a pack of lions was involved; some claim serial insemination of the daughters of the House, which certainly does seem very Game of Thrones.

The only agreed-upon facts (such as they are) are these: Lann the Clever was golden of hair. He stole and took ownership of Casterly Rock, and filled the stronghold with his equally bright and beautiful offspring.

Oh, and he was totally, definitely, obviously a man.

But the murky history and weak detail leaves plenty of room for surprises along the way. Though Lann Is A Man is definitely the unquestioned theory in modern Westeros, many fans speculate that, among Lann’s many mysteries, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin is hiding a case of secret identity.

Lann the Clever, many believe, was really a woman. Perhaps, we think, soon to be played by the very blonde and very female Naomi Watts.

(Cue the fainting Maesters.)

Aside from the fact that Naomi Watts physically fits the part to a tee, there is one additional piece of evidence to back this theory. Watts’ character is described as “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret.” Not than any character in Westeros is lacking for secrets, but a woman concealing her gender as part of a political power play would absolutely fit the bill.

Fans still have quite a while to wait before Watts’ identity (Lann-ish or otherwise) is revealed in the Game of Thrones prequel. Until then, it’s back to the books — Martin’s Targaryen history Fire & Blood comes out next month — and the seemingly-endless wait for the highly-anticipated and final season of Game of Thrones.

Who do you think Naomi Watts is playing on the ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel series?

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