George RR Martin has been talking up the prospect of a spinoff for the HBO hit, and theres a lot of material to choose from. Here are five possible directions
Spoiler alert: this blog contains spoilers about the TV series Game of Thrones
The television spinoff can be a mixed bag: for every Better Call Saul and Frasier theres a Cleveland Show or Joanie loves Chachi. But in the case of Game of Thrones, creator George RR Martin has made it clear the future is not so dark and full of terrors.
There is certainly no lack of material, Martin told Entertainment Weekly in April. Every episode of The Naked City one of the television shows I watched as a kid ended with a voiceover: There are 8m stories in the naked city. This has been one of them. There are 8m stories in Westeros as well and even more in Essos and the lands beyond. A whole world full of stories, waiting to be told if indeed HBO is interested.
Its a tantalising prospect for fans, and HBOs programming president Casey Bloys confirmed this week that preliminary ongoing talks have been taking place for a follow-up to the fantasy show that pulls in more than 20m viewers per episode. So where should Martin take us next? Weve been into Maggy the Frogs hovel in the woods, and returned with visions of five future Sunday night viewing scenarios.
Tales of Dunk & Egg: the series
The most natural follow-up would be an adaptation of my Dunk & Egg stories, Martin told EW. Each of the novellas could easily be done as a two-hour stand-alone movie for television; that would probably be the ideal way to do them, rather than as an ongoing weekly series. The Hedge Knight and its sequels are lighter [in tone] than A Song of Ice and Fire, more in the realm of action/adventure.
The authors absolutely right. The Dunk and Egg books, of which there are three, are rambunctious yarns that would make for captivating standalone adventures. Set 89 years before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, the prequel series comprising The Hedge Knight (1998), The Sworn Sword (2003), and The Mystery Knight (2010) follows Ser Duncan the Tall (Dunk) and his young squire Aegon Targaryen (Egg), who will go on to be (respectively) the commander of the Kingsguard and ruling monarch of the Seven Kingdoms.
These two are a bit like R2-D2 and C-3PO, stumbling into adventures much bigger than either of them understands, and often playing a key role in the resolution of famous historical episodes such as the Blackfyre Rebellion. But Game of Thrones fans would probably wonder what had happened to the epic scale and spiky intrigue of the original series, with its ability to whisk viewers from the freezing wilds of The Wall to the sandy, blood-stained deserts of Essos in the blink of an eye and somehow entwine each episode in the devious plotting of scores of rival clans and factions.
The story of Mad King Aerys downfall, and the raising up of Robert Baratheon to the Iron Throne by the force of his own mighty war-hammer, contains all the essential ingredients for an enthralling Game of Thrones spinoff. Young Jamie Lannisters dilemma, and ultimate regicide, on the steps of the Red Keep; the full truth behind the relationship between Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen that led to Jon Snows birth and sparked the uprising; Aerys IIs descent into insanity, and the cruel deaths of Rickard and Brandon Stark on his command. And of course, the famous Battle of the Trident, during which Robert slew Rhaegar in single combat.