In a world where all men must die, Game Of Thrones has been captivating audiences since the very first book was published nearly 20 years ago. In that time frame, author George R.R. Martin has written five books for the series and a couple of spin-off stories of his own. It's been confirmed that the hit HBO show based on Martin's bloody series will be coming to a close after two more shortened seasons, which means fans have wondered vocally if HBO might find another way to expand upon the world of dragons and White Walkers.
HBO's Programming President Casey Bloys has publicly mentioned the possibility of creating a sequel for one of HBO's biggest shows:
“It’s something I’m not opposed to, but it has to make sense creatively. I’m open to it. The guys aren’t opposed to it, but there [are] no concrete plans.”
So that has fans wondering what sort of show could HBO showrunners develop that "makes sense creatively" within the realm of Game of Thrones? Unlike other spin-off TV shows, it would be near impossible to take a lesser known character and create a full-blown show based around them as there is no true main character in Game of Thrones. But George R.R. Martin has created a vastly textured and detailed world and just by delving further into the wonderfully gory history of Westeros and beyond the wall, it's easy to find at least five possible routes for a spin-off series.
5. The Free Folk
Even with a rich history, a new series could perhaps focus on a future after Game of Thrones if it narrows in on a lesser developed element. Perhaps a series revolving around some of the most mysterious people in Game of Thrones: The Free Folk or Wildlings, as those in Westeros call them. It all depends on how the show ends, of course. If a majority of the Free Folk return to the far north beyond the wall after the White Walkers are defeated there could be a story of rebuilding their civilization. The Free Folk might fight amongst their own tribes once the land is once again their own. This angle could be an opportunity to keep some of the lesser known Free Folk characters around while introducing us to some of the more mythical parts of Westeros. Parts we've thus far only heard about but never seen in the show.
4. The Free Cities
Speaking of places we never get to travel to, what about the other side of the world? Sure, we see Daenerys and the Dothraki travel around unfamiliar lands, but imagine further exploration of the lands on the other side of the Narrow Sea. There are certainly new cultures and characters to be discovered. There is a gold mine of story possibilities in the Free Cities. There are the faceless men — which would be an easy way to continue to incorporate Arya if she survives the rest of Game of Thrones. Just like the continent of Westeros, Essos is filled with powerful families that are constantly at odds with each other. Each of the nine Free Cities is vastly different, some facing the threat of roaming people such as the Dothraki clan. The possibilities for blood and gore, cunning enemies and allies, and betrayals all around would make for a show similar to Game of Thrones, the major difference being the locations.
3. The Children Of The Forest, First Men, And The Andals
While they may be the most referenced part of Westeros history, we don't actually know too much about the first people to inhabit Martin's fictional world. Focusing on the Children of the Forest, the First Men and/or the Andals would enable showrunners to keep the same formula going that has worked for Game of Thrones. It could follow multiple factions of people, would have magic, have plenty of blood and gore (as the war lasted for centuries), and would feature places and early versions of families we are already familiar with.
Unfortunately, we already know what happens in this storyline. The Children of the Forest and the First Men fight a bloody war that ends in a pact and then the Andals invade. But the story leading up to this inevitability could still populate new characters and the references to established heroes would be the perfect tie-in to Game of Thrones. For instance, the Stark family would be involved as their patriarch was the King in the North at the time. The Dawn of Westeros has great potential, setting the stage for pretty much everything that happens in Game of Thrones. It would make an excellent prequel.
2. Dunk And Egg
You may not have heard of these two heroes, Dunk and Egg, but George R.R. Martin has written three books detailing their daring adventures. Without spoiling anything, the stories involve characters known by Game of Thrones readers/viewers that deeply impact the events of Game of Thrones. Dunk and Egg's stories could be a unique spin-off path. Their stories are much lighter and funnier than anything Game of Thrones has to offer, which could make for an interesting contrast to the grim world the characters of GoT inhabit.
This contrast, however, could pose a problem. Could these two unknown heroes draw as large an audience? Especially without as much blood and naked women? Or would Dunk and Egg prove that Westeros hasn't always been a place where all men must die? It would be a gamble to take this route, but could create an interesting series. However, as George R.R. Martin has suggested, perhaps this story is better left to film adaptions instead of a weekly series.
1. Valyria And Doom
Although rather unlikely for a spin-off series, the city of Valyria has always struck me as one of the most interesting unexplored parts of the lore Martin has created. We really don't know too much about what happened to the Dragonlords of Old or "the Doom," the cataclysmic event that destroyed the city. In comparison to the other oft-mentioned historical events and places, we know next to nothing about Valyria and its Doom. We know that it forced the Targaryen's to move their stronghold to Dragonstone after one of their family, Daenys the Dreamer, prophetically saw the future destruction.
What all this means is fans would have no idea what to expect from a series that follows this ancient history. It's undocumented so showrunners could have twists equal in scale to the Red Wedding or Jon Snow's real parentage. The only problem this spin-off would face is there being no real way to incorporate any of the characters we have come to love. But those characters will be long established, so perhaps a story full of all new characters would be fresh and fun for audiences.
In a world that is constantly killing off our favorite characters (and even non-favorites), a spin-off would be no easy feat. However, the lands of Westeros and Essos and all that may lie beyond them are ripe with potential storylines and intriguing twists and turns. A spin-off may be a bleak hope, but hopefully, HBO sees that we simply cannot live with only 13 more episodes of one of the greatest shows created.
Are any of these ideas one you'd watch? What else would make for an interesting spin-off? Let me know in the comments below!