game of thrones season 7 jaime and cersei

We’ve been hearing rumblings of HBO wanting a Game of Thrones spin-off for years now, but with the network’s flagship series ending in 2018, those rumblings have been getting louder. And now they’ve reached a dull roar…and by dull roar, I mean it has been revealed that not one, but four spin-off series are currently in development, with four different writing teams leading the charge.

I know that Game of Thrones has never been shy about running its characters though with a dozen sharp blades before sewing their severed head onto the body of their dead Direwolf, but this is a different kind of overkill.

Deadline has the details, noting that Game of Thrones series creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will be credited as executive producers on any spin-offs, but won’t have any involvement in the writing (possibly because they are tired). HBO was cagey about the details for each potential series, only noting that each would “explore different time periods of George R. R. Martin’s vast and rich universe.”

And you know what? I get it. Martin’s Westeros is one of the deepest and most complex fantasy worlds since J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, a fictional place with a history so complex and entertaining that you can literally buy an entire book filled with fictional history. While it’s ludicrous that HBO is working on four separate shows set in this world, it’s actually not at all ludicrous to note that the narrative tapestry here is large enough to offer enough material to fuel that many spin-offs.

While we don’t know the details, here are the names attached to each potential spin-off:

  • Max Borenstein (Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island)
  • Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass and Kingsman) and George R. R. Martin
  • Brian Helgeland (L.A Confidential, A Knight’s Tale)
  • Carly Wray (Mad Man) and George R. R. Martin

That’s a very interesting line-up of names, especially since Martin himself (who is credited as an executive producer on Game of Thrones and has written several episodes) is directly involved in a few of them. I’m especially interested to see what Goldman and Helgeland, two screenwriters whose work I have enjoyed greatly in the past, can bring to Westeros.

Game of Thrones - Battle of the Bastards

What Spin-Offs Are Possible?

While HBO hasn’t supplied any details about what these spin-offs could entail, it’s easy to look at the history of Westeros and pick out a few areas that demand further exploration. Here are a few possibilities.

Robert’s Rebellion

We’ve spent years watching the fallout of the War of the Usurper, otherwise known as Robert’s Rebellion, which saw House Baratheon, House Stark, and their allies declare war against House Targaryen following the abduction of Robert Baratheon’s betrothed and the execution of Eddard Stark’s father. The basic outline of this conflict have been described on Game of Thrones (and the shockwaves are still being felt nearly 20 years later), but this could be the kind of straight-up war story that the main series only attempted once or twice a season. Plus, it would give us a chance to meet younger versions of long-dead characters (Ned, Robert, Robin Arryn, Tywin Lannister), letting us see how they grew into the hardened people we first met seven years ago.

Aegon’s Conquest

If you want to go back even further, there’s plenty of potential in a series all about Aegon’s Conquest, when the first Targaryen king marched on Westeros with his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys, a giant army, and three fully grown, fire-breathing dragons. Set centuries before the events of the main series, this could showcase how the Seven Kingdoms came to be and the bloody growing pains that accompany a war to “unite” a group of disparate lands. While Game of Thrones is about a kingdom falling apart, this could be about a kingdom being born. After all, both are violent processes filled with plenty of opportunities for scheming and backstabbing.

The Tales of Dunk and Egg

However, the only spin-off idea that feels like a sure thing is The Tales of Dunk and Egg, a series of novellas written by Martin that take place roughly a century before Game of Thrones begins. These stories are wonderful and a fair bit lighter than the main novels – think of them as the Hobbit to Game of ThronesLord of the Rings. They follow a wandering hedge knight named Dunk and his young squire, nicknamed Egg, as they go on a series of journeys across Westeros, making their name in a brutal and unforgiving kingdom. What keen readers soon realize is that Dunk will grow into Ser Duncan the Tall, one of the most respected and famous knights in Westeros history. And Egg is actually Prince Aegon Targaryen, who will one day become ruler of Westeros and whose grandson, Aerys Targaryen, will become known as “the mad king.”

A Proper Sequel

It’s also entirely likely that HBO could be working on a proper sequel series that will pick up where the show ended and run with it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one the shows Martin himself is working on. After all, who else would you want deciding the history of Westeros than the man who created it? Even if Game of Thrones wraps up with a tidy bow (which is unlikely), a spin-off show could take place years later, maybe after Spring has come again. Characters like Arya Stark could be older and wiser and ruling their corners of the kingdom…and they surely won’t be prepared for whatever horrible fates await them next.

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