King’s Landing is on fire and winter is coming, but we’ve run out of material? Not if HBO has anything to say about it. The network has made it apparent that George R.R. Martin’s Game Thrones universe is far from over in their cable TV future. On Thursday, the network announced they have hired four writers to explore potential spin-offs of the highly rated and widely beloved show. The wealth of information on the show’s origins makes a prequel an obvious choice.
As Game of Thrones moves into its 7th season, it appears to be drifting farther and farther away from George R.R. Martin‘s original text. As millions of rabid fans wait for Winds of Winter to drop, the disconnect between Martin’s text and the Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss production grows. With that in mind, let’s look into why a Game of Thrones prequel would work.
Tons of Content
A quick Google search will tell you that there is no shortage of information about the world of Westeros, Essos, and Sothoryos. Hundreds of fan sites display content from the history that Martin created. Aside from some speculation and formatting of the script, the material already exists. Moving from page to screen does not appear daunting.
Topographically, very little needs to change. Sure, castles need to look newer and landscapes adjusted, but the basic setting is already in play. In the same way, the Lord of the Rings trilogy created much of the scenery for the Hobbit films.
Martin himself spoke of the excess content available for a prequel series during an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
“There is certainly no lack of material,” Martin told EW. “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.’ There are eight million 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.”
The first seasons of Game of Thrones basically covered one book per season. Without new material, the final couple of seasons mashed book four and five together with creative interpretation and minor Martin hints. Even though the new book hits shelves soon, the content should only follow some of what we have seen and introduce (or correct) some storylines.
If the current series ends with this next season, a large chunk of time opens up. Another new novel appears way too far down the line to plan on doing current television. A prequel based on already created material stands as the only real material ready for a 2018 series. They need to move quickly on this.
Game of Thrones’ popularity has reached a boiling point. Many fans prefer a prequel featuring familiar characters and events. One might expect to see the civil war that crowned Robert Barathian and led to the assassination of the mad King. Season six flashes back to the Tower of Joy, all but proving R+L=J. A proper prequel series could spend plenty of time dealing with the goings on at the landmark tower. Tyrion, Ned, Jorah, Daenerys, and Cersei all have origin stories that merit revisiting.
Those characters reside in Westeros. The rest of the world according to Martin holds dozens of untold stories that provide context for the Game of Thrones series. In the EW piece, Martin pushed the idea that his Dunk and Egg stories (a series of novellas that take place almost 100 years before the current series) could be utilized as well:
“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.”
Regardless, what Game of Thrones has is the ultimate in economics: demand without supply. They’ve created a fandom that is ready to devour anything related to the beloved world Martin created. They better move fast as our current culture seldom waits around. Rather, they jump to one of the thousands of hot, new offerings our multi-media world offers.