The final season of “Game of Thrones,” premiering April 14, is not the last time audiences can experience George R.R. Martin’s masterful fantasy world. A “Thrones” prequel series—scripted by Martin himself and Kingsman screenwriter Jane Goldman—will hopefully start production later this year, according to Deadline.
A spin-off series is the natural progression for the cultural phenomenon as the “Thrones” world is a narrative goldmine that would be creatively irresponsible not to make use of. As compelling as Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is, the most impressive part of the narrative is the immense amount of worldbuilding he’s done around the story.
The series’ events truly feel like the latest in a history that spans thousands of years and that history is referenced all throughout the show’s eight-season run. “Thrones”ian lore is fleshed out even further in the books, where Martin was able to spend more time addressing Westeros’s history and has even written companion novels entirely devoted to that cause, like last year’s complete history of House Targaryen, Fire and Blood.
There are countless untapped Westerosi stories to be explored in prequels and spin-offs of HBO’s landmark program; the world isn’t ready to say goodbye to Westeros yet.
Case in point, the already-announced prequel series is set to take place thousands of years before the main story and will provide audiences with a concrete story about the mythological event known as “The Long Night,” according to Martin’s personal blog.
The Long Night is essentially a winter that lasted for generations and was the setting for the White Walkers’ first invasion. It is rife with potential to illustrate iconic “Thrones” events that audiences have only heard (or read) about thus far, like the creation of the Night King or the construction of the North’s massive ice wall.
This decision to create a “Game of Thrones” prequel series may seem like a simple cash grab; of course, HBO is going to try and continue to profit from its massively successful cultural phenomenon. “Game of Thrones” is unique in the way that it pervades popular culture.
Obviously, there are other popular TV shows, but in a world over-saturated with content that fills every niche, “Thrones” seems to be the last bastion of a shared monoculture. Appointment viewing is dying, yet record-breaking millions will surely tune in for the show’s final premiere and it will prove to be the only ubiquitous bit of programming that desperate small-talkers can be sure their co-workers have seen.
It would be foolish not to further capitalize on the phenomenon, yet the decision has to do with more than just financial gain.
Although this is the only confirmed spin-off, there are four other scripts rumored to have been proposed to HBO, according to IndieWire. It’s rare for a fantasy world to be as realized as Martin’s, and if this first “Thrones” prequel proves successful, then HBO should certainly continue to give their audience epics from the world they’ve grown to love.
Stories ranging from the Targaryen civil war to Robert Baratheon’s rebellion are ripe for telling, particularly considering the Westeros-shaped void that will be left in pop culture after the “Game of Thrones” finale on May 19.
Martin told The Guardian that “People read fantasy to see the colors again. Fantasy shows us wonders, and that fulfills a need in the human heart;” it’s a need that HBO has fulfilled and should continue to fulfill by further adapting Martin’s inimitable world.