10 Potential ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequels (That Are Totally Canon)
So after a long time I have finished reading The World of Ice and Fire. This not unsurprisingly dense tome provides an in-depth account of the world of Westeros from before written history to the events that we’re familiar with, along with accounts of the surrounding waters, the main cities and regions of Essos and a bit of insight into the southern continent. I was going to do a review of the book, but you’re the sort to read a massive history of a fictional world or you’re not. If you’re that sort, you should check it out.
Instead here’s ten parts of pre-Game of Thrones locals and events that may make a good story on their own.
10. The Imprisonment of the Mad King
One would assume that the obvious place to start would be with Robert’s Rebellion, the major conflict that sets into motion the events in Game of Thrones. In reality we’d be casting younger versions of familiar characters (never an easy task) and depicting events we know the resolution to. We all know the last Targaryen king was insane and that he was usurped by Robert Baratheon…but what made him mad?
There was already a heavy dose of paranoia and ego at work in the mind of Aerys II from day one. When nearby port city Duskendale expressed a desire to operate independently from the Iron Throne, Aerys II and his host rode to the city to deal with it personally. The governor of the city killed his people and imprisoned Aerys II for several months while they tried to have their demands met. The months of imprisonment, torment and starvation drove the king further mad. Meanwhile a young and powerful Tywin Lannister held the city to siege while legendary knight Barristan Selmy single-handedly launches a rescue.
It’s a chance to see some of the aged characters in their prime, to see what they did to become so respected and feared in Westeros, and an insight into who the infamous Mad King was, perhaps even cast him in a sympathetic light. Action, tension, character and a unique setting make this a solid proposition.
9. The Coming of the First Men
Long before any of the cities began to appear or the land was turned to fields by farmers three major races roamed the continent of Westeros. The giants of the northern wastes lived simply and with few foes, the mysterious Children of the Forest worked their magic on the land and controlled the forests and the first men began to build their societies. With the focus on a small faction of each this could be a story with a greater focus on magic and wonder. The threat of the White Walkers (who used to get around on giant spiders) could be used again to drum up some horror, and the building of the Wall could be a central part of the story.
8. Lann the Clever and the Taking of Casterly Rock
Damn the Lannisters, they cause nothing but trouble. Conversely their origin is quite a fun tale, beginning with House Casterly. This is the powerful family who carved a castle out of the enormous coastal mountain that would become Casterly Rock, finding endless seams of gold in their tunnels. From here they reigned supreme for many generations.
Then a golden haired rascal called Lann the Clever decided to get up to no good. Different versions of the stories have been passed through the ages, but they all amount to Lann taking the Rock for himself through deceit and trickery. In most versions he would enter the castle at night through a crack in the wall only known to himself, but what he did upon entry is up to speculation. Some claim he would bang on walls and move furniture around to create the impression the castle was haunted, others would claim that he would impregnate sleeping women throughout the castle, producing a generation of golden haired children born out of mysterious circumstances. Whatever the angle, there’s a fun story to spin.
7. Tales from Yi Ti
Yi Ti is a large and powerful nation that has all but nothing to do with the events of the series we know. Located in the most southern and easternmost part of the known parts of Essos the culture is extremely different from the that of the rest of the world. Much of their culture appears to be influenced by Chinese history with long dynasties, similar philosophies, scientific advancements and culture. Their civilisation predates much of Essos and Westeros and has at turns suffered long periods of war and enjoyed long periods of peace.
There is room for stories featuring wholly original characters set at any number of eras in Yi Ti history, with a focus on some of the hostilities they face from their neighbours. The Dothraki get a mention, but the riders of Jogos Nhai do. Also riders of the wide grasslands, they mount ‘zorses’, a cross breed of horse and zebra, and bind the heads of their young to give them an unusual pointed skull. The immensely tall, slender legged and beautiful people of Leng will be the source of other conflicts and treaties. If you want to continue the story of he world with a very different flavour, this is the one.
6. Ancient Valyria
If you’d like a new culture with closer links to the current events, Valyria might be more your stead. In the southern region of Essos the greatest and most powerful of all civilisations rose up, the one that spawned eight of the nine Free Cities of Essos. Moulded out of melted rock by dragons, the dragon riders built an unfathomably large and wealthy kingdom amid a chain of volcanoes. The powerful sorcerers of the city controlled the molten rock, and the mighty towers would have rivers of lava flow between them.
White haired and purple eyed, the people of the city were known for their wisdom, cruelty and beauty, and they conquered all of the known world at the time. Many cities and forts were built on the back of slaves, and they would continue to rule until the great Doom, the time when the volcanoes erupted and destroyed the landscape. Whether a story is set during the rise, the pinnacle or the fall of Valyria, you’re looking at a visual feast. Plus: heaps and heaps of dragons!
5. Invasion of the Andals
The First Men were a more savage race than that of modern Westeros, having built a society but spent much time fighting amongst themselves. Then came the Andals from the east, the people whose conquest would set the foundations of the society and culture we know. Stories about Andal invasions stretch from the cold north through to Dorne, but the most interesting come from the Vale.
Amid the mountains the first wars against the Andal’s were fought, with many great heroes emerging as the tide flows back and forth. It would be akin to the Roman Centurions warring against vikings, culminating with the rising of the Eyrie. This is a war that would be fun to see play out on the screen.
For one of the largest, most historical and most influential cities in Westeros, Oldtown gets very little time dedicated to it in Game of Thrones. Apart from being home to Citadel, the home of the Maesters that have so much influence (and we’ll learn more about as time goes on) there’s very little said. The true founding of the city is shrouded in mystery, but throughout the ages it’s remained a cultural and economic hub to the southern regions. The Hightower’s of Oldtown themselves are worth some time, occupying the giant tower on Battle Isle in the cities port. The tower itself contains a fascinating mystery, the ground portion being a complex labyrinth moulded out of one piece of solid black rock.
This region would give writers the chance to carve their own Westeros story while remaining linked to known characters. Close ties to the Tyrell’s and Highgarden makes it even more enticing.
3. Ten Thousand Ships
With Westeros conquered by the Andals and Valyria at strength, there weren’t many safe places in the world. When Valyria took an interest in the mighty Rhoyne river the various towns and settlements on its shores fell quickly and without mercy, the people being left dead or as slaves. Princess Nymeria was not ready to bow to the dragons, or be incinerated by them, so she gathered her people on board a massive fleet of ten thousand ships, sailed them south down the Rhoyne and took to the seas in search of a new home.
The journey was not an easy one, with vast numbers perishing on the way. Sea monsters, pirates, raiders, dragons and failed attempts to settle various locations make for one exciting tale indeed. By the time they land on Dorne (where they weren’t exactly welcome) they’ve had enough strife and adventure to fill a couple of series worth of television. Costly, yes, but awesome. Princess Nymeria is a swashbuckling, take-no-shit character we’d love to see on the screen.
2. The Founding of Braavos
Remember when I said that eight of the nine Free Cities were founded by Valyria? The ninth is the most interesting of them all. Currently being explored by Arya Stark it is a melting pot of every culture and faith in Essos and Westeros, old and new. When a fleet carrying slaves for Valyria saw mutiny, the slaves of all nations and banded together to take control of their fate and create a secret city for themselves. They found a lagoon surrounded by mountains and covered in mist, keeping it hidden from dragons flying overhead, and their settlement grew into Braavos. Hiding their valuables in a disused iron mine, the founders eventually stockpiled enough worth to found the Iron Bank, supplying loans to other kingdoms and becoming the richest nation on the planet.
The history of the city is a fascinating tale, and it’s eventually reveal to the world changed the entire world for generations to follow. Neighbouring cities were forced to give up the slave trade for fear of incurring the wrath of Braavos. There could be a couple of stories grown out of Braavos, easily one of Martin’s most interesting creations.
1. The Dance of Dragons
The newly crowned Aegon II Targaryen, king of the Iron Throne at a loyal band of supporters. His cousin, Princess Rhaenyra, known as the ‘Realm’s Delight’, contested his claim to the throne and had her own supporters. The Targaryen family was split, and ready to fight.
AND THEY HAD DRAGONS.
At the mid point of the Targaryen reign over Westeros the royal family initiated an all-out, no holes bared and savages civil war and as you can tell by the name of the conflict, a lot of it was full on dragon vs dragon combat. How is this not the most awesome thing ever?