Production is well underway on HBO’s is that it’s far less rigid. If the prequel intends to build its narrative off of what are ultimately Westerosi tall tales, then there’s a lot of room to play around with what those stories would be through the lens of realism.
The Arthurian legends are prime examples of grandiose mythology built off of several different historical threads and embellished over time, and it makes sense the stories of the Age of Heroes followed a similar model. (It’s possible George Martin and Jane Goldman could completely abandon those stories in favor of completely original material, but that seems unlikely.) And if fans were to look at the story of Lann the Clever as its own brand of revisionist history, it could be that he wasn’t a man at all.
Is Naomi Watts A Gender-Swapped Lann The Clever?
A popular theory floating around the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom since the ’90s posits that Lann the Clever could’ve been a woman. Its basis lies in the lack of definition surrounding most figures in the Age of Heroes and Martin’s predilection for writing women that masquerade as men for both survival and independence, the obvious example being Arya and to a lesser extent Brienne and Ygritte. If Lann the Clever really just refers to whomever was the active agent in Casterly Rock changing hands to Lannister control, that could easily be a scheming Casterly woman or a Lannister woman who manages to overthrow her own liege lord. In either of those instances, it’s not hard to accept that a patriarchal society would eventually rewrite history into mythology that empowered men as opposed to women. To adopt that perspective on the story would make for an ambitious and timely choice for Game of Thrones’ successor.
Is this tinfoil? Probably. Everything’s a little tinfoil at this stage considering how little fans know about The Long Night, but this theory does offer some compelling avenues for speculation about not only Naomi Watts’ character, but the overall trajectory for the next installment of the franchise. Game of Thrones has been no stranger to accusations of indulging in gratuitous violence against women and serving less feminism and more feminist lip service. Regardless of whether or not the bulk of fans agree with those admonishments, Goldman’s prequel indicates The Long Night will offer more gender parity than its predecessor did, even if fans have no idea what form that will take.