Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ll be aware of the latest Game Of Thrones revelation. HBO officially confirmed the question that’s been circulating for some time now – there WILL be Game Of Thrones spin off shows. Not just one, not two, but FOUR are looking likely. You know HBO; they do things differently.
George RR Martin (GRRM) disclosed last year that he has thousands of pages of history and context surrounding the world of Westeros and the 7 kingdoms, leaving us with a huge basis on which the spin off shows could potentially centre.
GRRM has signed a contract which allows HBO to use the shows premise to develop these new potential stories, all which take place in our beloved world of ice and fire. Discussions on who and what exactly will be involved have not yet begun. The only thing we are certain on, is who the shows are being penned by. Four writers have already been contracted for the job and you may just be familiar with some of them. Jane Goldman is most famously known for her writing credits on 2010 hit action film Kick Ass. More recently she has also penned films such as Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children, The Woman In Black and X-Men Days Of Future Past. Carly Wray is the second writer of the fated four, most commonly known for her work on Mad Men. She also dipped her toes into the medieval world whilst working on The Bastard Executioner along with Sons Of Anarchy’s creator Kurt Sutter. Brian Helgeland is another writer linked to the spin offs and is known for his work on LA confidential. He also worked on the Oscar nominated Mystic River. Finally, we have Max Borenstein who wrote most recently Kong: Skull Island as well as Godzilla back in 2014. Current showrunners D&D won’t have writing credits on the spin offs but will serve as executive producers alongside GRRM.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential stories that could be used…
Roberts Rebellion is one of the more obvious tales that could be utilised. It’s been a contemplation that many Game Of Thrones fans have discussed and wanted as flashback scenes in the original show. Due to the length and history behind the story it could well be a front runner. The rebellion ended around 15 years before the Game Of Thrones story that is televised begins, assuming Robert has been on the throne for that length of time. Key elements to the season would include the birth of Daenerys and how she is soon smuggled away alongside Viserys. That plot would likely begin with her mother’s death in Dragonstone the night Daenerys was born and then follow into her childhood in Essos. In Kings Landing, we would see tensions running high under the rule of Mad King Aerys ultimately leading to his death at the hand of Jaime Lannister. We would see Kings Landing overruled by both Baratheon and Lannister armies as Robert kills his way to the top. This would also run alongside drama created in Storms End with Stannis. The Starks would play a key role as the tale between Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryan would be played out. A GOT fandoms dream of seeing a full episode of the infamous tourney, opening drama between the Martells, as Rhaegar takes an interest in Lyanna over his betrothed Elia Martell. Ending with the harrowing murder of Elia and her children as Robert hammers down Rheagar Targaryan. Assuming the network chose to depict this tale, it would mean that the following characters would head the cast:
Aerys Targaryan – The Mad King
Assuming that they would want to keep the original actors, this would mean resigning the contracts of actors such as Mark Addy and Sean Bean. It would also require Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to play a 20ish year old. Of course we have seen flashback scenes which involve a young Ned Stark, Lyanna Stark and The Mad King, however the network might not necessarily want these actors for a lengthier project. The logistics behind this book to screen transition are challenging. It would be a lot easier to recast this younger generation and risk losing the character associations we know and love. Still, this is looking as the most likely adaptation.
Another more obvious direction the spin offs could take is that of Dunk & Egg. The Tales Of Dunk And Egg are a series of short novels written by GRRM first released in 1998. They follow the story of a hedge night – Ser Duncan and Aegon V (Egg.) To put this in historical context, the series takes place 90 years before A Game Of Thrones and Aegon is Maester Aemons younger brother (making him Mad King Aerys’ grandfather.) Since the first in the series was released almost 20 years ago, there have been two sequels however GRRM has said that he plans to write up to six more books in this particular series. GRRM has said that this would be the most natural progression for a televised follow up of the Westeros world.
An intricate (and expensive) spin off could surround the Children Of The Forest era, focusing also on The Night King. During season 6, we had a brief glimpse of how The White Walkers began their evolution and the Children Of The Forests hand in this. However, there is much more to explore. A show surrounding this would allow a deeper look at the ‘Old Gods’ and the mythic beginings of the world. Different to the books, The Nights King presents himself as a ‘first man’ who is killed by The Children Of The Forest in order to protect them against humans (without realising the error that they have made by doing this.) However, the story in the books is that The Nights King was the 13th Lord Commander of the Nights Watch. He broke his vows after falling in love with a woman ‘whos skin was cold as ice…eyes like blue stars…’ She then cursed his soul and after a lot of bloody mess and sacrifice, he was brought down by the then King Beyond The Wall – Joramun, and Brandon The Breaker AKA House Stark. This is where the confusion sets in amongst fans. It’s debated whether the TV Nights King is indeed the same as the book or whether they are different characters entirely and yet hold the same name somehow. The new spin off could take either form and succeed as part of a mini series in my opinon. Unlike Roberts Rebellion which I can imagine as a multi series project, The Nights King would be better suited as a 6 – 10 part series. It could really take either story of The Nights King. It’ll probably be clearer which direction it will take once the upcoming novel from A Song Of Ice And Fire is released (originally due for release in 2016, however been pushed to 2017 – hopefully!)
Another Miniseries that I’d like to see happen is one surrounding the Dothraki. Despite their lack of using the common tongue, I think that they would provide a good basis for a show. This is because out of all of the Houses and lands, there is the most little known on their beginings and history. This would give writers a lot of freedom in creating a plot and sub characters for a show. Their traditions are somewhat animalistic, and certainly gory but I’d sure love a deeper look into their culture. Plus, yano Jason Momoa.
Instead of having a story told from the perspective of a nobleman/woman, how about a nobody? & I don’t mean just a worshipper of the many faced god, but a small folk who is experiencing the war currently happening in our Game Of Thrones timeline. A good use of this would be a slave kept in Mereen, who has to deal with the challenge of becoming free under Daenerys anti – slave laws. It would give a good insight into the consequences of Daenerys actions as well as giving us a good look into life in Essos.
A storyline that is a lot bigger in the books than in the TV series is that of The Martells. The Sandsnake sisters are a lot more prominent in the books with a lot of subplot behind them I think it would make a very interesting show to see the Martells as a unit pre the death of Oberyn. I know I’ve mentioned how the family would certainly be tied into Roberts Rebellion as a spin off but I’d like to see the younger generation as a stand alone show of their own.
There are various options to have stand alone character spin offs. Following the success of the likes of Better Call Saul, HBO will likely take note. Firstly, I think a potential choice would be Varys (or another master of whisperers.) There would be much to see through the eyes of a spider and it would give us glimpses at many different perspectives. From council meetings, to children in flea bottom, there’d be lots of room for plot. This is potentially too vague of a general theme but I could definitely see Varys as a front runner.
A series revolving around the Night’s Watch would make for great television. I know that if there was a prequel around the night king the Night’s Watch would be heavily involved, however I think a sole series depending on the drama within the watch would be excellent. Told from multiple perspectives or honing in on one particular brother, either would allow us to learn more about the brotherhood & its beginnings. We only know the watch as it is now in its weary state therefore it would be good to see it at a time it was in full glory.
Aegons conquest would spin another epic multi season show. To cut an incredibly long story short, Aegon Targaryan invaded westeros alongside his sister wives Rhaenys and Visenya. He landed with just less than 1600 men as well as three dragons. Using a lot of fire, he eventually conquered Westeros as a whole leading to the beginning of his reign as the King. There are many many civil wars along the way that would make for epic ‘episode 9s’ as well as interesting characters to be played.
Game Of Thrones returns to your screen on 16th July 2016 (2am UK time)