Game of Thrones is over, but the spinoff series are still on their way, and fans are tearing their hair out trying to guess what the shows will be about.
Author George R.R. Martin has created one of the most rich fictional worlds in modern fantasy with his series A Song of Ice and Fire, and related texts. Between the five main series novels, the encyclopedia-style book The World of Ice and Fire, the fictional history Fire and Blood, and a handful of novellas, there is more than enough material for the spinoff shows HBO has in development.
In fact, there is so much to choose from that fans are finding it hard to narrow down their guesses. Martin has provided a solid history of Westeros going back about 300 years, and an interesting skeleton for world events stretching back as far as 10,000 years.
He has also fleshed out far-flung cultures that the main story has never even touched, and given us glimpses of magic, monsters and politics that many are eager to see more of.
There are three Game of Thrones spinoffs still in development, and in his last update Martin assured fans that they are all “moving forward nicely.” One, we know, is currently filming its pilot overseas. It is set at least 5,000 years back in Westerosi history, and will be concerned with The Long Night, the first rise of the White Walkers.
This still leaves plenty of questions about the content of the series, as you will see below. In the meantime, there are two there are two other shows to account for, and there are so many facets of Martin’s world that they could focus in on.
Here are some of the top theories circulating right now about what the Game of Thrones spinoff series will be about.
The first spinoff series is a prequel, with the working title Bloodmoon. So far, we know that it will see humanity’s transition from the half-mythical “Age of Heroes” into “The Long Night” — the war with the Others that led to the construction of The Wall.
Fans expect a lot from the series, as they hope it will give a more satisfactory conclusion to the White Walker arc than we got in Game of Thrones Season 8. In fact, some even beliee that the main series intentionally abbreviated its war with the Others to leave more material open for this prequel.
Bloodmoon features acclaimed screenwriter Jane Goldman as writer and showrunner. It stars Naomi Watts, Josh Whitehouse and a cast of other rising stars.
The fact that Bloodmoon will begin in the Age of Heroes may raise more questions than it answers. Little is known about his time period, as Martin always writes about it through the unreliable narrative voice of his characters.
Given that it is effectively prehistoric, a growing number of fans are expecting a highly primitive setting for this series. The First Men of Westeros had only Bronze Age technology, and lived in a kind of tribal, pioneering society.
At the filming locations for Bloodmoon, fans have spotted signs with pictures of mammoths on them, directing delivery trucks and other vehicles into the closed sets. They speculate that this means mammoths will feature in the show, giving yet another hint about the prehistoric, arctic setting.
Finally, fans hope that this Age of Heroes setting will give more insight on the greenseer magic that Bran Stark ultimately used to become king in the main series. The Age of Heroes is when the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers to aid them in their war against the First Men. When they reached a truce, humankind adopted the religion of the Children, leading to the Wierwood tree worship we see in the main series.
It could be that a version of the Three-Eyed Raven will appear in this prequel, casting an eerie, monotone shadow over ancient Westeros.
Another mysterious part of Martin’s fictional history is the Valyrian Freehold, the old empire that once reigned over much of Essos. This highly advanced, dragon-riding society is where House Targaryen comes from, and its magical impact on the world plays a huge part in the main story.
Many fans hope that Old Valyria will get its own spinoff series, although others expect it to play into Bloodmoon. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in November, Martin noted that the timeline that far back was not clear. The maesters believed that The Long Night was between 10,000 and 8,000 years in the past, but it may have been more recent than that.
“‘10,000 years’ is mentioned in the novels,” he said. “But you also have places where maesters say, ‘No, no, it wasn’t 10,000, it was 5,000.’ Again, I’m trying to reflect real-life things that a lot of high fantasy doesn’t reflect. In the Bible, it has people living for hundreds of years and then people added up how long each lived and used that to figure out when events took place. Really? I don’t think so.”
“I think it’s closer to 5,000 years,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Martin’s maesters know that Valyria first began to grow in power 5,000 years before the main series, so this statement tells us that the two events likely happend around the same time. This makes a lot of sense, knowing that Martin likes to group his magical world events together. Even in the main series, the rise of dragons in the east coincided with the rise of the Others in the west.
In addition, we know that The Last Hero of the First Men fought the Others with a “dragonsteel sword,” as Sam discovered in a scroll in Castle Black. If the First Men could only work bronze, there is no way they could have created this magic sword, so we may see them getting aid from their dragon-riding neighbors across the sea.
Some fans are guessing that one of the spinoff series will concern the Andal invasion of Westeros, a historical event that gets curiously little discussion among Martin’s characters. In his world, the First Men crossed a land bridge to Westeros in ancient times, but it later receded. Generations later, the Andals sailed across the sea, bringing the Faith of the Seven and the technology of iron work.
The Andal invasion was slow and bloody, as the seafaring newcomers waged war on the First Men. In the process, they spread their religion, as we see in the main series, and they eventually interbreed with the Westerosi until they are indistinguishable. Only in the north do the old gods and the blood of the First Men prevail.
This is certainly a big enough part of Martin’s world to fuel an entire story, though it is not one of the most likely candidates. For one thing, this is a generations-long event, so it would be hard to encapsulate in a series. For another, there are few real characters in this part of history that fans already know, so it might be hard to get them hooked.
On the other hand, this would be the perfect setting for a show that wanted to get back to the roots of Game of Thrones: a politically driven medieval fantasy drama, not concerned with magic or prophecy. For many fans, this is why the show thrived in early seasons, so it might make sense to build a show out from that concept.
From here, there are four likely candidates for spinoff series based on a recent statement by Martin. In November, the author released Fire and Blood, a 1,000 page fictional history book telling the first half of the Targaryen dynasty in Westeros. In a blog post last month, Martin told fans explicitly that the book had a major impact on the spinoffs.
“What are they about? I cannot say,” Martin teased. But maybe some of you should pick up a copy of FIRE & BLOOD and come up with your own theories.”
Of course, fans did just that. Fire and Blood begins with Aegon’s Conquest, the war in which King Aegon I Targaryen united the Seven Kingdoms under him and forged the Iron Throne from the swords of his enemies.
This is obviously a strong contender for a spinoff series. Fans know the basics of this story well, from all the places it has been mentioned in Martin’s writing and on the show. There are even some beloved characters in it, and getting a firsthand view of this story would illuminate a lot about the main series.
To summarize, before the conquest, House Targaryen resided on the island holdfast Dragonstone. They were one of the last surviving dragon-rider families, who had fled the Valyrian mainland after Aegon’s great-great-great grandmother had a vision of its destruction.
Knowing that he and his sisters were some of the last dragon-riders on the planet, Aegon set his sights on Westeros. In a series of decisive victories, he persuaded six of the Seven Kingdoms to bend the knee to him, then set about uniting the land for his own mysterious reasons.
There is a lot to explore here, and plenty of iconic scenes from the books to show on screen. If one of the prequels takes this route, fans would undoubtedly be glad.
Jaehaerys brought down Vermithor on the wide marble plaza outside the Starry Sept, but it was his queen who made the city gasp when Silverwing alighted atop the Hightower itself, the beating of her wings fanning the flames of its famous beacon.#FireAndBlood pic.twitter.com/DBHWVvgSnl
— AQuoteOfIceAndFire (@SerASOIAF) February 6, 2019
Another strong possibility for the Fire and Blood-based prequel series is a show revolving around King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, best-known as Jaehaerys the Conciliator. The old king was the grandson of Aegon the Conquerer, and he reigned for a staggering 55 years.
At a book release event for Fire and Blood, Martin told fans that Jaehaerys was by far his favorite Targaryen monarch. It makes sense, as the Conciliator was as fair and just a ruler as Westeros ever saw. He served his people dutifully, and his long tenure on the Iron Throne had just about every kind of drama Martin loves to explore in his work.
There is limitless potential for a series about the reign of Jaehaerys. The king faced a tenuous ascension to the throne, threats of war, political strife and supernatural concerns. Meanwhile, he and his wife raised six children, providing material for a tight family drama as well.
One of the most dramatic chapters of Fire and Blood was an account of The Dance of the Dragons, a Targaryen civil war that plagued Westeros about 170 years before the main series. The war pitted dragon-riders against each other, creating a highly cinematic story that fans are dying to see on screen.
The Dance of the Dragons was a war for succession fought between two Targaryen heirs. It has a cast of colorful characters, and fan theories often guess that some plot lines directly impact the main series.
We already know that HBO would shell out the money for a CGI-heavy Game of Thrones spinoff, so perhaps this is somewhere on their list.
Finally, Fire and Blood capture fans’ imaginations with the story of Elissa Farman. Farman was a friend of Princess Rhaena Targaryen during the reign of King Jaehaerys. However, the seafaring Farman was not content to sit idly in castles feasting with her royal friend.
To get away, Elissa stole three dragon eggs from the princess and fled Westeros. She traded them for a ship called the Sunchaser, and sailed it west of Westeros. She never returned, though a generation later another sailor claimed to have seen the Sunchaser docked in the eastern city of Asshai.
Obviously, this story has some strong parallels to the journey of Arya Stark at the end of Game of Thrones. However, HBO has already stated that they are not doing a spinoff about Arya, so this might be the next best thing. An Elissa Farman series would be a way to build out the world while starting in familiar territory, and taking fans to where they really want to go.
Whatever the Game of Thrones spinoffs are about, we will not get to see them any time soon. The prequel series Bloodmoon is filming its pilot now, and if it is picked up to series, the earliest we are likely to see it on TV is the spring of 2020.
Check back for updates on the Game of Thrones spinoffs in development.