The historical universe that George R.R. Martin created for Game of Thrones in his books that complete the A Song of Ice And Fire saga is rich in characters and stories that fans discuss often on Reddit and social networks. The award-winning HBO series was forced to end BEFORE the final books were written, but that’s because the author is taking more than 15 years to close the story, which generates a popular argument that the controversial ending that displeased many people would be caused by the delay. In any case, the series was shown between 2011 and 2019, in eight seasons, and remains one of the most viewed on the platform and most loved in history.
To create a dramatic narrative that fit the TV and production budget, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff created the series by altering some elements from Martin’s five books (eliminating characters, switching events from some to others, letting some who died live, and backward, etc), and also used unpublished material based on what the author describes future events in his literary universe. Although there are those who question it and even statements by Martin that suggest the opposite, the conclusion of the story was made with what the showrunners had as designed by the writer for the end of the saga. “Fortunately, we’ve been talking about this with George for a long time, since we saw this could happen and we know where things are going. And so basically we’ll find ourselves in pretty much the same place that George is heading to; there may be some detours along the way, but we are heading towards the same destination. I kind of wish there were some things that we didn’t have to screw up, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The show must go on. . .and that’s what we’re going to do,” Benioff said at Oxford in 2015.
I’ve already written a lot about the end of Game of Thrones and how George’s plan, who still hasn’t released the book even in 2023, “lost” with the delay because we went through a great cultural shift in 2018, especially with the movement of # metoo, leaving much of what was addressed in the story – sexual abuse, psychological abuse, sexism, femicide, prejudice – dated and questioned. D&D tried to adapt what was possible, growing the female lead in the series (Sansa, Arya, and Cersei), but keeping the inversion of the great character of the story, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) who would go from heroine to villain, to reinforce the motto of the author: every villain is the hero of the opposite side. While she was in Essos, she was divine. Upon arriving in Westeros, it was another. It is obviously an overly simplistic summary. But among several controversies at the conclusion, Dany’s death and madness remained, betrayed by Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
I’m one of those who regretted the changes that affected Jon Snow’s trajectory and who was dissatisfied with his ending in the series. So I celebrated that Kit immediately assembled a creative team to create a short sequel, momentarily called Snow. The still-in-development series will address the mental state and consequences of Jon’s choice after the series concludes and has been confirmed by HBO to be under review. Then came new changes.
Discovery’s merger with Warner Bros artistically interfered with ongoing projects. While the GOT franchise is important and lucrative, it is being evaluated from a financial perspective more than an artistic one. House of the Dragon, the spin-off that came out of one of the chapters of the 2018 book Fire and Blood, aired in 2022 (the second season began shooting this week), but not even its resounding success guarantees its future. Only the second season was approved (Martin wants four) and it only goes ahead if it keeps the results, so Snow still has a lot to face before leaving the paper.
But the main hurdle may prove to be general trauma over Game of Thrones‘ rejected ending. Before House of the Dragon, they spoke of six projects around Martin’s universe and the approved Bloodmoon, even had a pilot recorded in 2018, but was discarded and replaced by House of the Dragon in 2019. Bloodmoon would be set 8 thousand years before GOT and would talk about the events that gave rise to the Nightwalkers, the Long Night. Perhaps because it was only a year old after the series’ conclusion and the negative wave was at its peak, or because 8,000 years is a very wide gap, the series never got past the hidden pilot. The choice of House of the Dragon was safe and sound because it is about Daenerys and Jon’s family, but it is far enough away to have common names and settings, with an independent and rich plot in itself.
So, unsurprisingly, even with all the talk surrounding Snow, the next content to be explored by WBD is one of the most popular books in the saga, The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Fans have been begging for decades for the adventures and friendship between Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire, Egg (actually Aegon Targaryen V), to move from paper to screen. In the same week that House of the Dragon resumes (no casting announcement), George R. R. Martin himself confirmed that he will lead the next production. At this point, we can forget that he’ll have time to finish the last Game of Thrones book…
The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms will be based on the stories of the legendary knight and the prince disguised as a squire traveling through Westeros on quests and adventures that take place more than 100 years before the main events of Game of Thrones. I like to imagine that we’ll have Jenny of Oldstones on screen too!
Preempting another production whose fan base loves before bringing original stories demonstrates that WBD wants to play it safe. The difference is that while Bloodmoon has been discarded, Snow is still on the horizon, the question is to create the same distance from GOT. In addition to Jon Snow’s story, there is a project for an animated series (we don’t yet what period of history it would be) and a series about Aegon’s Conquest, in which fans want Henry Cavill to star at all costs.
It remains to be seen if Kit Harington will even consider returning to his original role more than ten years later. Serious! After all, with everything being filmed, it’s hard to imagine that Snow will air before 2027. Will we still care about his pain by then? What is more than suggested is that it is still too early for a revisit. Longing is the best alternative.