Game of Thrones season six debuts this Sunday, and showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss let slip that they are only planning two more (shortened) seasons to follow this one. HBO executives aren’t thinking about spin-offs or prequels for now, but the author behind the books says there is plenty of material, and made a suggestion of his own.
George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, on which the HBO show is based, thinks there is a huge opportunity for spin-off shows after Game of Thrones closes its final episode.
“There is certainly no lack of material,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly. “Every episode of The Naked City — one of the television shows I watched as a kid — ended with a voice-over: ‘There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.'”
Martin told HBO — and perhaps other Hollywood producers? — that “there are eight million stories in Westeros as well … and even more in Essos and the lands beyond. A whole world of stories, waiting to be told … if indeed HBO is interested.”
The author (perhaps predictably) suggested another work of his, recently published in anthology format. “The most natural follow-up would be an adaptation of my Dunk & Egg stories,” Martin said.
Last October, he published A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, an anthology of his stories about the hedge knight Ser Duncan the Tall (who later would become a member of the elite Kingsguard) and his squire Egg (who later would become King Aegon V, the Unlikely). These events take place roughly 90 years earlier than the show. There are three novellas published in the anthology, with more planned.
These are great stories, and would make a stellar television show, but PJ Media has some other suggestions as well. Here they are, ranked from worst to best.
Next Page: Robert’s Rebellion, the prequel to Game of Thrones
7. Robert’s Rebellion
I rank this one as the worst because immediate prequels don’t always turn out so well (see Star Wars), and because, if we can trust season 6 trailers, there will be a great scene from this time period in the upcoming episodes of Game of Thrones. Nevertheless, it would be awesome to see a young Ned Stark (perhaps still played by Sean Bean) supporting a young and strong Robert Baratheon (remember the drunk king in Season 1?) fighting to topple the Mad King.
It would be perfect to see the grand battle on the Red Fork of the River Trident, where the scruffy Robert cuts down the resplendent Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Now, that’s got potential.
Next Page: The Intrigues of Old Valyria
6. Old Valyria
A series like Rome or Spartacus, focused on the wars and political intrigues of old Valyria, the land of dragons which was the home of the first Targaryens, would be a perfect way to delve into the history of Essos. The fall of this great civilization — seen by Tyrion and Jorah in season 5, episode 5 — eventually led to the conquest of Aegon Targaryen, the uniting of the Seven Kingdoms, and the backstory of our favorite heroes and villains.
If this show does well, it could even spout a spin-off of its own, focused on the early history of the anti-slave city Braavos (the city Arya goes to) and Valyria’s first daughter city, Volantis. This would add flesh to the world of Game of Thrones, and many of these stories are epic.
Next Page: The Beginnings of Westeros
5. The Andal Invasion and the Foundation of the Major Houses of Westeros
Kings of Westeros are referred to by the title of “ruler of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.” The Starks and northerners are mostly first men, but most of the other kingdoms are ruled by the Andals, who invaded Westeros a long time ago.
In many lands, the Andal invasion (like the invasion of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes in England) is tied to the foundation of major houses and the division of Westeros into its major regions, which became the “Seven Kingdoms.” A show focused on great mythical heroes would be fun to watch and would add more to the world of Westeros.
Next Page: The Epic Civil War, The Dance of the Dragons
4. The Dance of the Dragons
Back when Daenaerys’ ancestors the Valyrians ruled in Westeros, the kings and queens rode dragons. Most of those dragons died during the horrific civil war known as the “Dance of the Dragons.” The question of royal succession and the manipulations of a powerful house led to a devastating war where brother fought brother, and dragons killed one another on the field of battle.
Not only would these events provide excellent fodder for the action and intrigue that drive Game of Thrones, they would also give HBO a seamy story of sex. Rumors flew that the queen slept with many, many men, and for obvious reasons these allegations have a huge impact in a monarchy.
Next Page: Martin’s Excellent Suggestion
3. Dunk & Egg
Yes, I know I already mentioned this, because Martin himself suggested it. The hilarious juxtaposition between the dull Ser Duncan the Tall, who describes himself as “thick as a castle wall,” and his canny princely squire Egg would make a great premise for a show. The exploits covered in Martin’s novellas include a grand tournament (like in season 1), the more mundane local disputes of medieval lords, and the foiling of a major plot, which would have provoked another civil war.
Next Page: Why Are the Seven Kingdoms United Again?
2. Aegon’s Conquest
When the Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen calls herself “of the blood of old Valyria,” and “queen of the Seven Kingdoms,” she is invoking the history of Aegon Targaryen, the first king of a united Westeros. The Seven Kingdoms takes its name from the six kings who bent the knee to Aegon in his conquest, and the Iron Throne is made up of the swords of those kings Aegon defeated.
Aegon’s conquest is fascinating on many levels — you get powerful kings and lords involved in the fighting, huge battles with dragons, and the intrigue of a king with two queens. The great, stern warrior queen Visenya, juxtaposed with the more musical and graceful queen Rhaenys (whom Aegon loved more, but who is rumored to have slept with other men), would be a fascinating dynamic.
This time period also features a fascinating power struggle, between the Faith of the Seven, the maesters of the citadel, the old lords, and the new Targaryen king. Dragons, religion, politics, and epic battles — all fertile ground for a spin-off for Game of Thrones.
Next Page: The Best of All, Fire vs. Water, Dragons and the River Rhoyne
1. The Journeys of Nymeria, princess of the Rhoynar
Martin has his own version of Homer’s epics The Illiad and The Odyssey, and it would make an absolutely masterful television show. The Rhoynar made their way to Westeros, where they form a major part of the population of the southern kingdom Dorne. But before they made it to Dorne, they lived in Essos, and fought the Valyrians, the ancestors of Danaerys and the Targaryen kings.
While the Valyrians rode dragons and burned Rhoynar cities to the ground, the Rhoynar called the mighty river to fight for them. This carries the potential of an epic scene like in The Lord of the Rings, where a river rises to flush out an opposing army. Scenes like this would make amazing episodes, on the level of the penultimate episodes of season 2, “Blackwater,” and season 4, “Watchers on the Wall.”
The leader of the Rhoynar, Nymeria (after whom Arya names her direwolf), takes her people on a quest, seeking a new home. They spend many years in the disease-ridden land of Sothoryos, and finally make their way to Dorne.