With only thirteen episodes left of the worldwide phenomenon that is Game of Thrones it makes sense that HBO continue the series after the core show ends. Rumours have been flying for years now about a possible spin-off to the show but HBO has made the unprecedented move of confirming that they are currently pursuing 4 new spin-off ideas with writers already dedicated to each. I had expected one or two spin-offs would be in the pipeline but with four in active development HBO is showing just how much they want to turn what is currently a single series into a franchise. If this was any other show we were talking about I’d be worried but Game of Thrones has so much potential in its dense and complex world and mythology that four shows might work. Now I don’t want all four concurrently and it’s possible that not all of them will be pursued to a series order but with the vast potential of the series, what could these spin-offs be?
Varys and Littlefinger
I’m currently obsessed with Better Call Saul which is airing its third season; a show intrinsically connected to Breaking Bad and yet is so very different in both tone and pace. A prequel featuring a side character from Game of Thrones could be just as successful but what about a show about two? Sure, Better Call Saul also features fan favourite character Mike but his story is linked to Saul’s and my idea is a show in which both lead characters don’t meet until the very end: Varys and Littlefinger. One of my favourite scenes in Game of Thrones occurs in the season 1 finale in which Varys and Littlefinger stand alone in the Great Hall and speak to each other with both respect and distain about how they both have plans for the Throne and will do whatever it takes for them to succeed before Joffrey arrives and they both clamber to his side. I would love to explore the pasts of both characters, comparing and contrasting their very different upbringings and rise to power. What drove both men? With Varys we would see more of Essos from his life as a slave, thief and his encounter with the sorcerer while Littlefinger, or Petyr Baelish, will rise from his small holding, journey to the Riverrun, meet Catelyn Tully and begin his feud with the Starks. Baelish’s narrative would allow us to see notable characters from Game of Thrones as he frequented tourneys, even seeing the Mad King himself. Eventually we could see Robert’s Rebellion through their eyes with them being on different sides: Varys advising the Mad King and Littlefinger serving Jon Arryn. It would be fascinating to see their separate journeys and for them to first meet in the final episode.
It was revealed in the premiere of Season 6 – aptly named ‘The Red Woman’ – that there was more to the Red priestess from Asshai, Melisandre, than first meets the eye: she’s very, very old. Removing her magic necklace, she quickly turned into her true old (naked) self, similar to the scene in The Shining with the mouldy old naked woman that haunted so many dreams, and with such a twist came many possibilities. Born about 400 years before Game of Thrones, little is known about her past other than that she was born a slave and hailed from Asshai on Essos. It could be fascinating to explore her rise as a priestess and the many famous characters from Westerosi lore than she may have encountered in her many years. The series could be more anthology based with each episode looking at a different time in her life and era in history. In truth, the main reason I want this show is to see Asshai which is an area I’ve been fascinated by since first reading the books especially because of its proximity to the Shadowlands which is where Daenery’s dragon eggs came from.
The Tales of Dunk and Egg
Of all my suggestions, I think this is the most likely. Currently The Tales of Dunk and Egg are a series of three novellas set about 90 years before A Game of Thrones which focus on the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall (Dunk) and Aegon Targaryen (Egg) who would later become Commander of the Kingsguard and King respectively. I read these stories in the collection A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and really enjoyed them, the tone is much more light-hearted and fun than the main novels. I feel these stories are ripe for adaptation, not for an ongoing series but instead a series of feature length specials that would air maybe twice annually. The stories are relatively short and would fit a film format and shouldn’t be stretched out. While only three stories have been written by George RR Martin he does have several more planned which would span the entire lives of these two characters and with Martin onboard these stories could play out onscreen years before the novellas are actually written just like the situation we are in currently with Game of Thrones.
All of the similar articles pitching what they think these spin-offs could/should be are delving purely into the past history of the show, looking at the origins of a particular character or a past event that we have only heard about. From the above you can see that I’m guilty of this too but what about going forward instead of back? Now this is difficult to write and speculate about because we have no idea how the show will end, who will sit upon the Iron Throne and whether or not the Iron Throne will still mean what it currently does. It would be interesting to see the aftermath of the War of the Five Kings years later after the dust (and snow) has settled. Could there be another rebellion against the King or Queen highlighting a cyclical nature of the Game of Thrones. It could be disappointing and maybe even ruin the ending of Game of Thrones if done poorly but correctly it could be a fascinating experiment if nothing else.
What do you want the Game of Thrones spin-off to be? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about all things Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire on Twitter @kylebrrtt.