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7 Possible "Game Of Thrones" Prequels, And Why They Might Happen

With Game of Thrones coming to an end in 2018, it's time to look at what might fill that void.

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This week HBO announced that it was developing four different scripts for Game of Thrones spinoffs that would "explore different time periods of George R.R. Martin’s vast and rich universe". Here we take a look at some of the most likely options.

1. Robert's Rebellion

HBO

Backstory: Even the casual Thrones fan will be well aware of this one – the repercussions of Robert's Rebellion are what has driven everything we've seen in Westeros over the last six seasons. After centuries of Targaryen rule, heir to the throne Rhaegar Targayren falls for the wrong girl and in doing so tears apart the entire kingdom. We've all been there.

When: 17 years before Game of Thrones.

Connections: With it being so recent, nearly every big player in this story is someone we've seen before. Ned, Robert, Lyanna, Tywin, Jamie, the Mountain, Jon Arryn, Varys, Pycelle, Cersei – not to mention baby Jon and baby Dany.

Pros: The advantages of making a show about Robert's Rebellion are clear. Within the Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin has given us a comprehensive account of what went down, and having so many familiar faces – even if they were played by younger actors – gives continuity that very few other spinoffs could. Fans have been waiting to see events like the Battle of the Trident or the tourney at Harrenhal played out on screen for two decades – could their wait soon come to an end?

Cons: The rebellion being so tied into Thrones means it's something fans would love to see – but it's probably the very reason that it won't happen. Ever since Bran became BFFs with the Three-Eyed Raven, we haven't needed a prequel to see what happened back then. We've seen the Tower of Joy, we know that Jon Snow isn't Ned's son, we've even seen flashes of the Mad King yelling "BURN THEM ALL!" as Jamie shoved a sword in his back. By the end of Season 8, who's to say we won't have seen the rest of it?

Robert's Rebellion could one day make a great movie, but when looking for a new show you'd imagine that the showrunners will want to start with a clean slate. Sorry, but this one feels unlikely.

Likelihood: 5/10

2. Aegon's Conquest

HBO

Backstory: As the name suggests, this one involves a guy called Aegon doing a shitload of conquering. Centuries ago, Westeros was – unlike "today" – split up into separate kingdoms that each had their own laws, their own kings, and – inevitably – their own wars. That was until Aegon Targaryen, together with his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys, rode into town on the back of three dragons and told everyone he was in charge.

When: Around 300 years before Game of Thrones.

Connections: Though the 300-year time difference obviously means there would be no character crossover, the major houses and locations involved would all be very similar to Game of Thrones.

Pros: Aegon's Conquest is without doubt one of the most important moments in the known history of Westeros. From the carefully planned diplomacy of persuading Houses Stark, Arryn, and Tully to bend the knee, to the devastating and spectacular defeats of Houses Lannister and Gardener at the Field of Fire, there's something for everyone. Especially people who don't mind a bit of incest.

Cons: From a story point of view, the biggest mark against this idea is that it's a little too familiar – or at least, soon will be. At the end of Season 6 we saw Dany and her rather sizeable armada heading towards Westeros, with every indication that Season 7 will pick up with her using her dragons to take what is hers with fire and blood. Just like her great-great-great (etc) grandfather Aegon did. The symmetry is absolutely intentional, but once we've seen this happen once, will we really need to see the same thing happen again so soon?

Add to this the fact that dragons are REALLY FUCKING EXPENSIVE for the CGI teams to create, and you're left with the conclusion that Aegon's story will probably have to stay in the fictional history books for the time being.

Likelihood: 6/10

3. The Dance of the Dragons

HBO

Backstory: Throughout history there is a long tradition of wars starting because men jumped the queue – the Dance of Dragons is no different. Around 170 years after Aegon's Conquest, King Viserys I Targayren had a daughter – Rhaenyra – and no sons, so he trained Rhaenyra to be his heir. Great. Unfortunately, and predictably, Viserys went on to remarry, this time he did manage to produce a son. You can probably see where this is going. The Targaryens, and the Seven Kingdoms, were split down the middle as civil war nearly brought Westeros to its knees. Cool, huh?

When: Around 170 years before Game of Thrones.

Connections: Again, there would be no characters we've seen before, though the Dance of the Dragons has been referred to a number of times throughout Thrones – most notably when Shireen Baratheon tells her dad, Stannis, all about it. Just before he burns her at the stake.

Pros: In terms of drama and intrigue, there are very few stories from GRRM's universe that are quite so appealing as the Dance of Dragons. Sibling on sibling. Dragon on dragon. What's not to love?

Cons: As with Aegon's Conquest, one of the biggest strikes against this idea is purely financial. You can't make a show that is actually about dragons without, you know...including an absolute fuck-ton of flying, fire-breathing, lizard-y things at every opportunity. That, sadly, comes at a cost. That said, CGI technology improves on an almost daily basis, and given that HBO already knows that any story based in Westeros will allow them to practically print money, perhaps it will be a price worth paying.

A show about this period of Targaryen history would have everything Game of Thrones has, and more. It is without question a frontrunner, but might just involve HBO making a little trip to the Iron Bank first.

Likelihood: 8/10

4. Dunk and Egg

HBO

Backstory: The tales of Dunk and Egg are three novellas by George R.R. Martin that tell the story of Ser Duncan the Tall (who will eventually become Lord Commander of the Kingsguard) and his friendship with the young prince Aegon Targayren (who will eventually become king, against all the odds). They travel around Westeros, getting into trouble, having adventures, foiling rebellions, and indirectly causing the death of the heir to the throne. Basically your everyday teenage boy shit.

When: Around 90 years before Game of Thrones.

Connections: Despite the fact it's set so long before the events of Thrones, there are characters that cross over. Egg, or Aegon, is the younger brother of Maester Aemon, while the Hand of the King was Brynden Rivers, aka Bloodraven, aka the Three-Eyed-Raven!

Pros: One thing that makes the Dunk and Egg stories a very likely option for HBO is that three stories have already been written. Not only does this make the writers' jobs a little easier, but it also adds a level of authenticity that die-hard GRRM fans may require.

Cons: Game of Thrones is infamous for having an absolutely huge cast. There are so many characters that it's possible to go a whole season (or three, Gendry) without seeing your faves make an appearance. Dunk and Egg would be the polar opposite of this – yes, characters come and go along the way, but at its heart, it's a story about two friends, from two very different backgrounds, forging a lifelong friendship and finding out who they are. For many this could be a very welcome change of pace, though there's no doubt it would be a big departure – and therefore a very real risk – for HBO.

Likelihood: 9/10

5. The Andal invasion

HBO

Backstory: Before man came to Westeros, it was inhabited solely by two races – the Children of the Forest, and the Giants. They lived peacefully until the arrival of the First Men. War raged between the Children and the First Men for 2,000 years, until eventually they made peace – resulting in a period known as the Age of Heroes. Jump forward another 2,000 years and then things really went to shit, as a race of men from Essos – the Andals – invaded Westeros at the Fingers, resulting in a lengthy and bloody war.

When: Around 6,000 years before Game of Thrones.

Connections: House Arryn is directly descended from one of the original Andal families, but the biggest impact they had on Westeros was bringing their faith – the Faith of the Seven – with them.

Pros: If the showrunners wanted something totally different that had almost nothing to do with the Westerosi houses we're used to seeing, this would be ideal. There are no dragons, there is lots of fighting, and on the whole the Vale is an area of Westeros that we have seen very little of throughout the six seasons of Game of Thrones. Save for the odd person being thrown through the Moon Door, of course.

Cons: Seeing as these events took place so long ago, they have barely been touched on by George R.R. Martin, and so the source material is almost non-existent (though you can read a little about it in A World of Ice and Fire). And though a clean slate may in many ways be a good thing, it's likely that 6,000 years is a just a little too distant from the events of the show to make people feel invested.

Likelihood: 2/10

6. The rise and fall of Valyria

HBO

Backstory: The Valyrian Freehold is the Game of Thrones equivalent of the Roman Empire; advanced, powerful, culturally rich, but ultimately extinct. The Valyrians were the first known civilisation to tame dragons, and at the height of its power the Freehold covered most of Essos. Despite its size, however, it was destroyed in an instant – when all of the Fourteen Flames (a string of volcanoes) erupted at once, decimating the entire city of Valyria. This would come to be known as the Doom of Valyria.

When: 6,000 to 400 years before Game of Thrones.

Connections: The Targaryens were the only noble Valyrian family who managed to survive the Doom – they relocated to Dragonstone around 100 years beforehand, after Daenys the Dreamer had a premonition that a cataclysm was coming. A century after Valyria was destroyed, Aegon and his sisters invaded Westeros, using the only three dragons that had survived the Doom. In Season 5 we also saw Jorah and Tyrion sail through Valyria's ruins.

Pros: Moving the entire story to Essos would allow us to see parts of the world that are as yet untapped by Game of Thrones,and it would also prevent any new show from feeling too familiar. There's only so much time you can spend in King's Landing, and no offence, Jon, but Winterfell is hardly visually impressive. The grand architecture and blue southern skies of the Valryian Peninsula would be a welcome departure from Flea Bottom.

Cons: Even ignoring the fact that an authentic Valyria should have hundreds of dragons flying around above it, a new city would mean new locations, which means a lot more time and money. And just like an Andal invasion story, the writers would be starting from scratch. The only family we know in any great detail is the Targaryens, so for now this feels unlikely.

Likelihood: 3/10

7. The Blackfyre Rebellions

HBO

Backstory: Long story short: The Blackfyre Rebellions involve yet more Targayren infighting thanks to succession-based disagreements. Legitimised bastard Daemon Blackfyre challenges true successor Daeron Targaryen's claim. War breaks out. You've heard it all before. Over the following decades there are four more rebellions, from various descendants of Daemon. And yes, it is confusing how similar Daeron and Daemon's names are. Thanks, George.

When: 103 years to 40 years before Game of Thrones.

Connections: The Blackfyre Rebellions happened at a similar time to the Dunk and Egg stories – in fact they were integral in the foiling of the second rebellion – so once again, Bloodraven and a young Master Aemon could appear. By the fifth rebellion, familiar faces such as Tywin and Kevan Lannister, Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, and Barristan Selmy were fighting on behalf of the crown.

Pros: This is an almost ideal candidate as far as HBO is concerned. For a start, these events took place during a time when it was thought dragons had died out, so the CGI bills would be nice and low. And from Bloodraven to Barristan Selmy, there are enough familiar characters to keep Game of Thrones fans happy without it feeling too much like a remake.

Cons: By the end of Game of Thrones we'll have seen the War of the Five Kings, a Targaryen invasion, and a Queen blowing up the Sept of Baelor, not to mention some sort of White Walker invasion from the North. That's some act to follow. And while the Blackfyre Rebellions are an interesting time in Targayren history, they're probably not at the top of any fan's wish list.

Likelihood: 6/10

Seeing as I'm almost always wrong about this stuff, let me know your thoughts about possible spin-offs in the comments below!

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