Ever since Game of Thrones first debuted eight years ago, viewers have fallen in love with the magical and wild world of Westeros. Unfortunately, in a few months we’ll have to move on from Jon, Tyrion, Daenerys, Ser Davos and countless others. So, with the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones just over a week away, we decided to take a look at what prequels are currently in production and other series ideas HBO should consider.
The Long Night
George R.R. Martin and HBO have already confirmed that this series will happen. In fact, HBO has already released a synopsis of the show:
“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.”
This series will give insights and answers to some of the wildest fan theories. It will be set during a generation-long winter and filled with mythical creatures like the Children of the forest and the Whites. It’s rumored we will get to see epic battles with the White Walkers pitted against the First Men and Children of the forest.
It will also tell us the story of Azor Ahai. According to legends, Ahai led the armies of the living against the dead with his flaming sword. It’s also interesting to note that one widely-held fan theory is that Ahai has been reincarnated as either Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen to help the living defeat the Whites.
While the release year and trailer have not been released yet, Naomi Watts, Josh Whitehouse, Naomi Ackie and countless others have already confirmed that they will be regulars on the series.
For a full summary of what we know about the series, read here.
This is the obvious choice for a prequel, so knowing TV producers, they probably won’t do it. For those unaware, Robert’s Rebellion is the conflict that serves as the historical backdrop to Game of Thrones. Seventeen years before the War of the Five Kings, a jousting tournament was held at Harrenhal. In attendance were a litany of Westeros A-listers. The Mad King Aerys Targaryen. His son Rhaegar Targaryen. Robert Baratheon. Jon Arryn. Brandon, Eddard, Lyanna and Benjen Stark. Oberyn, Lewyn and Elia Martell. Legendary warriors Barristan Selmy, Arthur Dayne and newly appointed Kingsguard member Jaime Lannister. Even Mace Tyrell’s goofy ass was there.
If that list of names doesn’t excite you in it of itself, the events that transpired likely will. Rhaegar, a god in combat, wins the tournament. Upon his victory, he gives his floral trophy not to his wife Elia, but rather to Lyanna, who happened to be betrothed to Robert. Things were not exactly peachy after this.
Amid tension, everyone returns to their respective homes. Yet nearly a year later Rhaegar’s intentions become clear as Lyanna is suddenly abducted right before the wedding of Brandon Stark and Catelyn Tully. Brandon, Ned’s older brother, rushes to King’s Landing to demand his sister’s safe return. The Mad King, being insane as he is, arrests Brandon, the men he brought, and even Brandon’s father Rickard who had come in protest of the Mad King’s actions. Instead of listening, the Mad King executed everyone, save for Ethan Glover, a companion of Brandon’s.
Seeing no other choice, Robert, Ned and Jon Arryn decide to rebel against the Mad King and the Targaryens. The war that followed would be fascinating to see on screen, as would the events leading up to it. It’d also signal the return of many beloved characters, but at a different time in their lives. In addition to the names listed, other characters we could see again given this scenario include Stannis Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Howland Reed, Gregor Clegane and a young Sandor Clegane.
The amount of star power is stupid in a war between the Targaryens and the Baratheons, and is only underscored by the title fight being The Mad King v. Bobby Big Hammer. It’d be must see TV, though it might work better as a series of movies.
I mean, come on HBO. Robert’s Rebellion would be a lot of fun, with familiar characters. Who wouldn’t want to see a young, in-shape Robert Baratheon swinging his legendary war hammer alongside Ned Stark?
The Dance of Dragons
Dragon Civil war. Need we say more?
The Dance of Dragons was a war of succession fought between Aegon Targaryen II and Rhaenyra Targaryen during the Targaryen rule. The previous king, Viserys I, had named Rhaenyra — his only surviving heir from his first wife — his rightful successor. Viserys had also had Aegon II with his second wife but, although the lines of inheritance place sons above daughters, Viserys maintained Rhaenyra would be his heir.
Rhaenyra was set to become the Seven Kingdom’s first queen which made many lords nervous. So, upon Viserys I’s death, Aegon II and his supporters staged a coup in King’s Landing and he was crowned king of the Seven Kingdoms. At the time, Rhaenyra was the princess of Dragonstone and she plotted to take the throne from her half-brother.
The two sides — Rhaenyra and the Blacks and Aegon II and the Greens — fought a bloody, dragon-filled war. In fact, the war ended up killing most of the dragons in the world which weakened the Targaryen rule. The war devastated the Seven Kingdoms and took years to recover from.
This would be an action-packed prequel that, although it lacks much connection to the main series, would make for thrilling battle scenes with dragons fighting dragons and Targaryens fighting Targaryens.
Tales From Essos
We all love Westeros. It’s got iconic locations like King’s Landing, Winterfell and The Wall. But after Game of Thrones, have we spent too much time there?
Martin’s fantasy land has another continent, Essos, that we get a taste of through Daenerys. From what we’ve seen, it’s a wild place, yet the Essos we see is being westernized by Dany. What if we went to before that. Allow the Dothraki to roam free. Let Qarth’s unbridled wealth and Mereen’s tense slave state not be things to defeat entirely, but rather have stories within those worlds exploring themes that Game of Thrones wasn’t as suited to tackle.
There are fascinating organizations like The Second Sons, The Faceless Men and The Golden Company that provide rogue, outlaw intrigue that could turn a series about Essos into a medieval Wild West. They could have it follow someone we know, but don’t know where they came from like Varys. Or they could explore ancient legends such as the Doom of Valyria. Another option would be to continue the story of someone like Daario and see how the events of Westeros and the Night King affect Essos.
The possibilities in Essos are different from Westeros, yet they’d maintain the feeling Game of Thrones evokes while still being its own equally gruesome monster.
-Sam Shiffman and Nick Shiffman