‘Game of Thrones’: How George R.R. Martin’s ‘World of Ice and Fire’ Could Inspire the Successor Shows
From the ancient days of Westeros to the far reaches of Yi Ti and beyond, Martin’s world contains enough history to fuel several new series set in the ‘Thrones’ universe.
When Game of Thrones ends, it almost certainly won’t be long until a new chapter of Westeros begins. With that said, there will be no new beginnings for Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) or any of the other fan-favorite figures from the Emmy-winning series.
Over the weekend, author George R.R. Martin provided an update on the four developing Game of Thrones spinoffs, beginning with the fact that he doesn’t like the word “spinoff.” He prefers “successor show,” and what’s more, there are five such shows in the works, not four as previously reported. More than that, Martin provided some key details on what the Thrones successor shows won’t focus on: Robert’s Rebellion and Dunk & Egg, two of the most popular prequel pitches within the fandom — and perhaps even more importantly still, all five of the developing pitches are set before the events of Game of Thrones.
“None of these new shows will be ‘spinning off’ from GOT in the traditional sense,” Martin writes, “where characters from one show continue on to another. So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set in Westeros.”
In that regard, Martin offers another clue, that he has spent time with the successor show writers “discussing their ideas, the history of Westeros and the world beyond, and sundry details found only in The World of Ice & Fire and The Lands of Ice & Fire.” It’s the first of those two books that provides the most comprehensive details about the realms within and beyond Westeros, a massive text co-authored by Martin and Westeros.org founders Elio M. García Jr. and Linda Antonsson.
Written from the perspective of a maester of the Citadel named Yandel — a clever story-protecting mechanism, as Yandel can only weigh in on what’s officially known about the history of the world within the world itself (in other words, no “Jon Snow is a secret Targaryen” spoilers) — The World of Ice & Fire contains sprawling stories about old Targaryen kings, and dives even deeper into the past, extending far beyond the Seven Kingdoms and into lands thus far unmentioned on HBO’s Thrones.
If Martin and the successor show scribes are considering a closer look at the World of Ice & Fire, then it behooves us to do the same. Here are just a few areas of that world and moments in history that could provide the spine for the four — scratch that, five; what a time to be alive — potential Game of Thrones successors.
The blanket term of the earliest known point in Ice and Fire history, the Dawn Age refers to the period of time in which Westeros was settled by the First Men, the Andals and the Rhoynar. There are epic stories about warriors ravaging the lands destined to one day become the Seven Kingdoms, including an ancient war between men, the Children of the Forest and the White Walkers.
Also featured during this time: the Age of Heroes, in which ancestors of classic Thrones families including the Starks and Lannisters first thrived. In The World of Ice and Fire, Maester Yandel writes: “Names such as Brandon the Builder, Garth Greenhand, Lann the Clever and Durran Godsgrief are names to conjure with, but it is likely that their legends hold less truth than fancy. Elsewhere, I shall endeavor to sift what grain can be found from the chaff, but for now it is enough to acknowledge the tales.”
Elsewhere, you say? Sounds like a great title for a successor show.
The Legend of Nymeria
Based on Martin’s blog post, we won’t see Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) again once Game of Thrones ends. But what about the proud warrior who provided Arya with the name for her direwolf Nymeria all the way back in the earliest days of the series? Now that’s somebody who could provide the backbone for a successor show.
As it stands, Princess Nymeria of Ny Sar is already the subject of one of the most compelling segments of the World of Ice & Fire, in which the men and women who lived along the great Essos river called the Rhoyne were forced out of their lands due to a devastating war. Nymeria led the refugees away on ten thousand ships, searching for freedom far away from the grips of Valyria, the ancient civilization from which the Targaryens are descended.
The chapter, “Ten Thousand Ships,” sees Nymeria and her people sailing through a variety of lands — the Summer Sea and the Basilisk Islands, as two examples — before finally reaching familiar territory: Dorne, a kingdom unlike any other in Westeros, thanks in large to Nymeria and her hard-fought warrior ways. The journey to and subsequent war for Dorne lasts several years, providing fodder for seasons upon seasons of a Nymeria spinoff — er, successor show. Still getting used to the lingo.