Of course HBO would pull a Showtime and encourage Game of Thrones to run for at least eight seasons, one more than originally assumed. It’s one of the biggest shows on TV, pulling in an average of 20 million viewers per episode, and just received 24 Emmy nominations, more than any other series. (For the record, if Thrones does go eight seasons, that would equal 80 episodes — the only HBO dramas to top that are The Sopranos with 86 and In Treatment with 106; True Blood also ran for exactly 80 episodes, albeit in one fewer, crummier season.)
So, nothing HBO’s Michael Lombardo said yesterday should have come as a surprise, including a possible prequel series. There haven’t been any official conversations about Westeros Babies (“We make our prophecies come true”) yet, but “I would be open to anything [showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] want to do,” Lombardo said, with dollar signs in his eyes.
But what would the prequel cover? Here are the most likely scenarios, with minimal spoilers.
Robert Baratheon had to die to advance the plot, but I miss that jovial drunk. Especially now, when so many of the characters are trapped in miserable situations. He could return, however, if the prequel goes back to the War of the Usurper, when he, Ned Stark, and Jon Arryn, among others, rebelled against Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, who was eventually slain by Jaime Lannister. It would cover many events referenced in Game of Thrones, including the Tourney at Harrenhal, Rhaegar’s abduction of Lyanna Stark, Ned marrying Catelyn, and the Battle of the Trident. Plus, the whole question of who Jon Snow’s parents really are would be answered.
But who’d play young Sean Bean?
Dunk and Egg
If that sounds too similar to the original series, and/or you still hate Jon Snow, there’s always Tales of Dunk and Egg. Based on George R.R. Martin’s novellas of the same name, Dunk is Duncan the Tall, the legendary future Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and Egg is his then-squire, “jolly fellow” Aegon V Targaryen, who was referenced by Maester Aemon during season five. Their stories take place some 90 years before the novels, and are a little less heavy.
On his deathbed, King Aegon IV Targaryen legitimized all his bastard children, collectively known as the Great Bastards. Naturally, this led to many disputes, especially when Aegon bestowed his Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre to his illegitimate child, Daemon Waters — not his actual son, Daeron Targaryen. The Targaryens might be the most popular non-Stark family on the show, and focusing on House Blackfyre (founded by Daemon in an attempt to overthrow the Targaryens) means Game of Thrones fans would get all the violence, incest, and back-stabbing they’ve grown to love. But it’s the least likely of the three scenarios presented here. For one thing, it’s very insular, focused largely on one family (though Dorne plays a major role). Also, it’s not THAT interesting, at least when compared to Robert’s Rebellion. Maybe this explainer will help:
If none of those float your boat, I dunno, Better Call Sansa?