Game of Thrones Prequel Show

After years of teasing it, winter arrived in Westeros, bringing with it war and dragons and giant armies of the undead. However, a little White Walker invasion isn’t going to keep HBO out of the Seven Kingdoms, even as the network’s flagship series comes to a conclusion with its eighth and final season next year.

Yes, HBO has officially ordered a Game of Thrones spin-off. Specifically, they’ve ordered a Game of Thrones prequel series, set thousands of years before Ned Stark was even born.

The untitled series was co-created by A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin and screenwriter Jane Goldman, who will serve as showrunner on the series. Plot specifics are cloaked in secrecy, but The Hollywood Reporter can unveil these juicy details:

Set thousands of years before the events of Thrones, the project chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. A logline from the network teased the plot wihtout divulging any specifics: “Only one thing is for sure: from the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend… it’s not the story we think we know.”

There’s a lot to unpack there for Game of Thrones enthusiasts. First, making this a prequel is a sly move because now the entire cast of the current show could die and Westeros could be wiped off the globe and this new show could truck on without a care in the world. It spoils nothing! At the same time, that description promises to shed light on some of this world’s ongoing mysteries and unanswered questions. Fans have wondered for years if we’d ever learn the specifics of how the White Walkers came to be (we got a barebones version in a time traveling flashback a little while back) and it looks like they’ll be saving that nugget for this spin-off.

I fell in love with George R.R. Martin’s novels and the television adaptation for a number of reasons, but most of all, I fell in love because I felt like I was reading a fictional history. A history that wasn’t dependent on Hollywood tropes, but a history that felt like, well, history. Aggressively unfair, morbid, and unconcerned with killing off your favorites, this series has leaned heavily on the idea that the “truth” is written by the victors. And we spent five books (those last two books are never going to get finished, huh?) and seven seasons of television watching characters grapple with the ripples of history, making choices and charging ahead based on what they’ve learned from legends and texts alike.

And now, a new show will expose how much of this history was truth and how much tweaked by the winners. If done right, this could be less of a straightforward “here’s what happened first” prequel and more of a tale of what time does to the truth and how legends are born. Of course, the next step is to crack open the books again pick apart which long-forgotten heroes and cities need to make an appearance. If Game of Thrones is a story of a high fantasy world in a late age, this show could be more fantastical, more colorful. Old Valyria, anyone?

While Martin’s involvement means all of this will be canon and so forth, Goldman is wonderful choice to run the show. First, she’s a genuine talent, with writing credits on Kick-Ass, the Kingsman films, and Disney’s upcoming Little Mermaid remake. Second, it will be a welcome blast of female leadership for a world that, let’s face it, has been dominated by dudes. Game of Thrones has had its fair share of empowering female characters, but it has sometimes shot itself in the foot while trying to do justice to its female characters. Having Goldman calling the shots will be a refreshing change of pace.

This series is one of several that HBO ordered written and it remains to be seen if it will be the only one that makes it to this stage. All we know for certain is that this new show won’t arrive until at least a year after Game of Thrones concludes.

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