Two years after the infamous end of Game of Thrones, we now have a prequel series officially in production. House of the Dragon will dive deep into the Targaryen Dynasty’s rule of Westeros, particularly the events that led to the Dance of Dragons (Targaryen civil war). This show will be based on George RR Martin’s book Fire and Blood (2018), which is a history of House Targaryen’s rule over Westeros. And what’s even more interesting is that this is just one of a number of spin-off series that will pretty much create a “Game of Thrones Cinematic Universe” of sorts – just like Marvel and Star Wars. In short, there are going to be a lot of Game of Thrones in the next few years. So, the question that I want to ask is: Is a Game of Thrones prequel necessary?
Three more spin-offs planned – will they capture the interest of the public?
What’s interesting is that this isn’t the only Game of Thrones prequel in the works. There are at least three more shows that HBO has planned, which are “9 Voyages”, “Flea Bottom”, and “10,000 Ships”. 9 Voyages will focus on the life of Corlys Velaryon, also known as the “Sea Snake” and head of House Velaryon, husband to Rhaenys Targaryen. Meanwhile, Flea Bottom is about the poorest region in all of King’s Landing, where Ser Davos and Gendry both hailed from. And lastly, 10,000 Ships is a story of Nymeria and the Rhoynar, who migrated from Eassos to Westeros and established their new base in Dorne with the Martells.
Now, anyone who has read A Song of Ice and Fire would be hyped to watch these spin-offs. But, what about the majority of Game of Thrones fans who care mostly about the Starks, Lannisters, and Targaryens? Moreover, the show did a really poor job in dealing with Dorne. What makes those showrunners think that 10,000 Ships will be appealing to the common viewer? If these were anthology series, one can make a case in favor of them. The Game of Thrones universe is known to have very shady and interesting characters and it would be extremely interesting to watch more and more of them in every episode of an Anthology series. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Despite these questions, however, there is one large one that looms in the air: Is there an appetite for Game of Thrones prequels after what David Benioff and DB Weiss did to the original show’s ending?
The legacy Game of Thrones left behind
Just like King’s Landing, the final season of Game of Thrones was in ruins. The stories were incoherent and not given enough time to grow organically. Furthermore, it seemed rush, despite the lavish CGI battles, etc. And it left quite a bitter taste in the mouths of several viewers. To end arguably the biggest show in Television history on such a disappointing note leaves quite a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths. And that has tarnished the legacy of this show to an irreparable extent. And that will have an effect on House of the Dragon.
There are many shows that aged like fine wine. Look at The Sopranos and Mad Men for example. These two shows had incredibly organic and well-written endings that with age and the internet, only grew in legend. The myth around them deepened as fans re-watch these series on a yearly basis in some cases. Let’s look at Lord of the Rings and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Now, I’m not saying these two shows can necessarily be compared to Game of Thrones. But the way they ended cemented their legacy as the pinnacle of fantasy fiction. That way, people are a lot more accepting and tolerant of any content derived from these movies and shows.
Even the memes from Game of Thrones are seen less frequently on social media. And that indicates the audience losing interest in a series that had captivated them for the better part of a decade. Remember Dexter? It also had a similar fate as Game of Thrones all because of a poorly executed ending. Such a dent in the show’s reputation requires an excessive amount of work to fix. However, all is not lost yet for the upcoming Game of Thrones prequels.
Not all doom and gloom for House of the Dragon
Despite everything that is going against House of the Dragon, there is still hope for the show. For now, we know that George RR Martin is personally involved in the production of the show. Furthermore, the show has announced a very promising cast of Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Paddy Considine, and noteworthy showrunners like Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, one will be wise to place their bets in favor of House of the Dragon.
However, what the showrunners and HBO have to take into account that this spin-off will not only have to be amazing in itself, but it also shares the burden of somewhat repairing the tarnished legacy of Game of Thrones. Yes, it is a tough ask from HBO, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s them. The quality of shows that HBO puts out is simply jaw-dropping, and I’m sure they must have learned some valuable lessons after what happened in season 8.
Moreover, this isn’t an insurmountable task. Many franchises have done it before, and I don’t see any reason that HBO can’t do it for themselves. For instance, look at how The Mandalorian resurrected interest in the Star Wars universe after the debacle caused by Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. A Baby Yoda was able to save the entire franchise, even when a perfectly great movie like Solo: A Star Wars Story did.
Regardless, the task is big, but it’s not undoable. However, HBO will have to take each and every step carefully, while doing utmost justice to the source content. Therefore, in conclusion, all I have to say is that for the viewers, a Game of Thrones prequel is desirable. However, for HBO, it is an absolute necessity to save their most coveted possession in the 21st century.
Related: How Sexism Ruined Game Of Thrones