Why We Need A ‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-off Show
Spin-off shows can be tricky. For every Torchwood and Frasier there’s a Joey or The Lone Gunmen. It’s the proverbial Forrest Gump with a box of chocolates situation. While the ingredients can be in place (actors, writers, setting) the execution can bomb like Carl Lewis at a Bulls game.
Game of Thrones is without question one of the best television shows ever made. We’re in the midst of an epic season.. The writing is spectacular, the casting near perfect, the acting phenomenal, and the cinematography breathtaking. It’s the best water cooler show we’ve had since LOST. (Seriously, if you have friends at work who watch the show the first thing you do Monday morning is talk to them about GoT. I know I do.)
Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire has rewritten the rule book when it comes to epic fantasy. No character is safe, the good guys don’t always win, and modern social commentary permeates the show. Unfortunately, the show now has a limited shelf-life with only two more seasons planned and those shortened ones. The final episode hopefully will rival such series finales as M*A*S*H and Cheers. The stories of Jon, Dany, Tyrion, and Arya will end and the world of Martin’s brainchild will be no more.
Or will it?
There’s been talk over the last few years of a possible Game of Thrones spin-off after the show concludes. Martin has suggested a series focused on the Tales of Dunk and Egg which Martin has popularized through several novellas. The series is set about 90 years before the events of Game of Thrones and revolves around eventual King Aegon V (called Aegon the Unlikely) the brother of Maester Aemon from the Night’s Watch. Dunk refers to Ser Duncan, a hedge knight and eventually the commander of the Kingsguard.
While I admit that the novellas are excellent, I don’t think it’s the right play. You’re talking about several characters that only the most avid GoT fans would know. It also focuses on a lesser known character before they were even king. Duncan is the real star of the show in these stories which aren’t quite as gritty or engrossing, fun though they may be. If it happens I feel it would play out like a cheesy 1970s sitcom. Are the masses really asking for a buddy cop show set in the world of GoT? I highly doubt it.
No I think the right way to go would be with Robert Baratheon’s Rebellion.
First off you have familiar characters as their younger iterations. Characters like Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, Jamie Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Tywin Lannister, Catelyn Tully, and Walder Frey are well-known to fans of the show. It would be an excellent opportunity to examine and flesh out their back stories. Furthermore, characters only heretofore hinted at or with limited screen time–Lyanna Stark, Rickard Stark, Jon Arryn, Mad King Aerys, Rhaegar Targaryen, Ser Arthur Dayne–these are people who fans would love believe me.
One of the key reasons for Game of Thrones’ success stems from its excellent source material. You’d be hard pressed to come by better writing than GRRM when it comes to epic fantasy. The same applies here. There’s a virtual goldmine of material to excavate as it relates to the story of Robert’s Rebellion. Imagine the Battle of the Trident between Robert and Rhaegar, the scene where Rickard Stark is burned to death while his son Brandon watches, Jamie’s final confrontation with King Aerys at King’s Landing, all brought to life on the small screen. Those scenes and a plethora of others would be just as exciting as anything we’ve seen on Game of Thrones thus far.
One tragic downfall of popular television shows is that they tend to hang on WAAAAY too long. Honestly, what was the last popular show you can think of that lasted over ten years and was solid the whole way through? It’s a rarity nowadays. Thankfully, I don’t think Game of Thrones is in any danger of going the way of The Big Bang Theory as I once thought. It’s clear show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have an endgame in mind now even if George R.R. Martin does not. (Seriously dude not trying to tell you how to live your life Georgie but stop going to cons and get these books done before The Stranger comes for your ass. If Robert Jordan can write eleven of the fourteen Wheel of Time books in fifteen years, not one of which is under 700 pages, you can get it done.)
A Game of Thrones spinoff/prequel doesn’t have to worry about overstaying its welcome. There’s a clear timeline between the start of the Rebellion and Robert ascending the throne. You could start with the tournament at Harrenhal, where Rhaegar crowns Lyanna the Queen of Love and Beauty instead of his wife, and end with Robert’s coronation. I envision this series going for say five years. Elio M. Garcia Jr. and Linda Antonsson’s companion work The World of Ice and Fire would provide plenty of good source material for the series. Additionally, there’s leeway for the show writers to bring in new characters and events like they have in Game of Thrones.
I’ve tried to think of several possible names for the series. However, Better Call Aerys or Before Ned Lost His Head don’t feel right. It will probably be something shitty like Game of Thrones: Robert’s Rebellion, but I would hope the show runners can do better.
Regardless I think a Game of Thrones spin-off show would not only be welcome by audiences, but HBO execs alike. After all the fan base is already in place and the marketing aspect sells itself. Any way you look at it it’s a win/win for both HBO and the fans.
LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN!
You can follow me on Twitter at @DarthGandalf1