Updated: 20th April 2018

Tales of Tyrion: what could a Game of Thrones spinoff series look like?

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.

Roberts rebellion

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.

A Game of Thrones spinoff could explore the truth behind Jon Snows birth. Photograph: Helen Sloan/HBO

The only problem is that many of these episodes are slowly unfurling via flashback in Game of Thrones proper, which rather puts the dampener on any sense of intrigue and discovery. HBO would have to find a way to expand the narrative into radical new territory perhaps winding back the timeline to before the events we currently know about in order to keep viewers interested.

The story of Aegons conquest

The tale of how Aegon Targaryen and his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys conquered Westeros with their dragons Balerion, Vhagar and Meraxes, perhaps preceded by a vision of the Doom of Valyria in all its haunting, Vesuvian glory, would make a fitting episode of Game of Thrones. But Martin developed this period as a back story for A Song of Ice and Fire. And once again it has the quality of a half-seen fable, a story lost in time, rather than the seed of an entirely new and unexpected show: a fertile stone egg just waiting to hatch.

It also seems unlikely, given that Game of Thrones is presumably building up to the bit where Daenerys destroys the armies of Kings Landing with the aide of her terrifying dragon brood, that HBO would risk pinning its hopes on using a similar episode as the basis for a successor show. David Benioff and DB Weisss epic fantasy was once memorably described by its creators as The Sopranos in Middle-earth, but who needs darkling Machiavellian plotting when you have giant, fire-breathing lizards to take out your enemies in one fell swoop?

Tyrion: the early years

If there is one character in Game of Thrones wed love to see more of, it has to be everybodys favourite diminutive Lannister. Martin has said Tyrion is his favourite character to write for as a result of his wit, penchant for iconoclastic, cynical one-liners and lovable rogue qualities.

If the incomparable Peter Dinklage could somehow be de-aged (it has sort-of worked for Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul) and set out on his own adventures through the Seven Kingdoms, like some sort of Westerosi Littlest Hobo, there would be no shortage of fans willing to tune in. Tyrion has been compared to an epic hero before, and wed love to see him embark on his own personal odyssey of booze, sex and endless witty wisecracks.

Something new

Martins fans will probably not be too impressed by the idea, as the poor, put-upon author is already under pressure to devote every spare minute of his remaining years to ensuring sure he finishes off A Song and Ice and Fire sometime in the near future. But might not the writer take a leaf from JK Rowling and give us a new show set in Westeros and Essos, but in an entirely new timeline and focused upon characters and histories that have not yet been spotlighted?

One of the beauties of the new Warner Bros fantasy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is that it centres on a wizarding era and setting even Rowlings most ardent fans knew little about when the author first announced it in 2013. The story of Newt Scamander and his pals therefore represents something of a blank canvass: unlike, say, the Star Wars prequels, or even Better Caul Saul, we do not know exactly where they are going to end up. Fantastic Beasts has certainly benefited from this sense of a story yet untold. Might Game of Thrones successor follow suit?

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/nov/18/game-of-thrones-possible-spin-offs-tyrion-george-rr-martin