Game of Thrones is nearing the end of its planned eight season run, but worry not, Summer Child. HBO has never had a more financially lucrative series, and they have no intention of letting things end there. Which they shouldn’t, because there is a ton of unexplored material in the original novels that is perfectly ripe for being put to film.
Last Thursday, the Home Box Office announced plans for four different spinoff series, each of which will be helmed by one of the following writers: Brian Helgeland (42, Legend), Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla), Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, X-Men: First Class), and, most importantly, Carly Wray (Mad Men, The Leftovers). Apparently George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels on which the show is based, will contribute to several of these projects. This last bit is particularly heartening; after all, the show is at its best when Martin is more involved.
But what will these shows be about? Long time readers of the series (including the novellas, short stories, and World of Ice and Fire,) might have a few ideas. The following entries have been arranged by the likeliness that they will actually happen.
1: Robert’s Rebellion. This is probably a series being developed as you read this. When Martin himself suggested the show take a brief hiatus to allow him to get further along in the books, the idea of adapting Robert’s Rebellion was briefly bandied about before HBO decided barreling forth with the series was the best option. (It was best for the show, anyway; poor Martin is now playing catch-up with his own story, and the novels are easily superior to the show.) The events of this series would cover the decline of stability under the rule of Aerys II, the Mad King, and how Robert Baratheon manages to build a coalition to overthrow him. It would have the complex politics and diplomacy of the main series, a good deal more action considering the continent-wide warfare, romance, brutality, and Ned Stark. Further development for Ned, Robert, Tywin Lannister, Catelyn Tully, the Mad King, and the others involved would also serve to deepen the original series. After all, if Robert never rebels, Game of Thrones never happens.
2: Dunk & Egg. The story of Sir Duncan the Tall (an ancestor of Brienne of Tarth), a peasant who accidentally finds himself an up-jumped knight amidst royal Targaryens, is a bit tonally different from Game of Thrones. Dunk, and his squire Egg, who will later become King Aegon V due to a succession crisis, are more obviously noble heroes than any non-Jon Snow character from Thrones. They do find themselves embroiled in all types of political intrigue and inter-family conflicts, however, and there is certainly plenty of material for filming. The relationship between this show and the original would be similar to that of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Martin has said that he plans to write about seven of these stories, although only three have been published thus far. In light of that, the obvious problem with creating a series based on the stories is that Martin would likely once again end up chasing the wagon, trying to catch up with an adaptation of his own work.
3: The Princess and the Queen (and/or) The Rogue Prince. Set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, these stories detail the events that lead up to the Dance of Dragons, a continent-burning war between two branches of the Targaryen family that arises from a crisis of succession. Each story has tons of characters, many of them strong females, and most importantly, almost all of them have dragons. The narrative has much of the complexity that Thrones does, and the twists and turns in the course of the plot are just as genuinely surprising as the source material. If any of these were actually to be made, this would be my personal pick.
4: Tales from Westeros. But with a catchier title than that. Even The World of Ice and Fire would work, because that’s what this series would be about. Throughout the novels, there are tons of extraneous stories which sit in the periphery of the main narrative, providing thematic echoes and insights that expand the original story. Many of the greatest twists in the series are set up by these stories, but they have been mostly omitted in the actual show. They could do anthology-style installments, where one season focuses on something like the Blackfyre Rebellion, or some other historical Westerosi conflict, with the next season depicting a different story or conflict. There are so many options here, however, that they could even do Twilight Zone-style episodic installments, depicting various important historical events or folktales from Westeros history, such as Meera’s Knight of the Laughing Tree story. There’s a lot to choose from.
5: Jaime & Bronn: The Buddy Comedy. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime Lannister, suggested a buddy comedy between Jaime and Bronn, or perhaps even something with Jaime and Brienne. He said that, in order to work, this would have to have the most comedic, slapstick tone it possibly could. This is unlikely to occur not only because of said tone, but because I doubt Bronn will survive the events of Game of Thrones, and I am certain Jaime won’t.
6: Euron: The Series. This one is unlikely for a few reasons, not the least of which is that Euron’s name sounds a little too close to “urine”, and at a certain point, the memes write themselves. Another strike against this is the way the show continues to utterly misuse the character. In the books, he forces people to drink the esoteric, LSD-like Shade of the Evening, which causes one character to see him as a massive, one-eyed, tentacle demon atop the Iron Throne, with all the gods of Westeros impaled on the blades around him. In the show, he’s a spooky pirate with an eyepatch. Casual show watchers have probably already forgotten who he is. But a television series about the character could do wonders to rehabilitate his small-screen image. Watching him ravage all in his path from the prow of his ship, Silence, as he explores the “known world” would be riveting, if a bit depressing. It could take us from the ruins of Valyria to Westeros back to previously unseen corners of Essos, with visits from every eldritch horror in between.
7: The Dying of the Light. This is admittedly the biggest stretch of all, because it has nothing to do with Game of Thrones. Instead, it would be an adaption of Martin’s first novel, a gorgeously sorrowful sojourn on a planet unbound by any solar system, hurtling from twilight to darkness as it careens unmoored through space. The story has barbarians, an incredibly complex love triangle, scary hairless dogs, and skyborne killer manta rays. Considering the popularity of Thrones, I can’t believe people aren’t bowling each other over to adapt Martin’s other work.
What do you guys think? Which of these series would you want to see?