Final week, HBO announced that the primary (and probably solely) of the five prospective Game of Thrones prequel spin-offs to get a pilot order will go method, method, method again into Westeros’ previous, to a time interval earlier than recorded historical past, the place the reality is misplaced in a fog of legends and myths. Of all of the eras value exploring, it’s the one with essentially the most query marks, which is why it makes essentially the most sense for a brand new (outdated) story. Greater than some other interval from George R.R. Martin’s insanely deep and sophisticated historical past of the Seven Kingdoms, it gives essentially the most freedom to inform a narrative even essentially the most ardent followers of A Tune of Ice and Fireplace don’t already know. Sadly that’s precisely why, together with a well-known enemy, it may find yourself hurting the unique present.
That is the official synopsis for the collection from HBO:
“Going down 1000’s of years earlier than the occasions of Sport of Thrones, the collection chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And just one factor is for positive: from the horrifying secrets and techniques of Westeros’s historical past to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend … it’s not the story we expect we all know.”
George R.R. Martin himself further revealed how a lot the story will revolve across the notorious invasion of the lifeless; he thinks the unnamed collection ought to be known as “The Lengthy Night time,” suggesting that, identical to on Game of Thrones, the blue-eyed ice demons will possible be the present’s large baddies. But additionally like with Sport of Thrones,there are nonetheless tons of different vital figures and occasions from that period, which in some ways formed the Westeros we all know at this time.
The Age of Heroes is the time interval after the First Males and the Youngsters of the Forest had ended their warfare with each other and lived in peace. Thought to have taken place 10,000 years in the past—although, as Martin factors out, the maesters assume it was solely half as way back (and I believe the maesters are proper)—it options larger-than-life figures like Bran the Builder, the founding father of Home Stark credited with constructing the Wall, Winterfell, and Storm’s Finish, in addition to Lann the Intelligent, founding father of Home Lannister. And people are simply essentially the most well-known figures for Sport of Thrones viewers, who won’t be as aware of different vital historic figures (actual or legend), like Garth Greenhand and Durran Godsgrief, to not point out the founding of the Night time’s Watch.
Whereas the widely accepted timeline of Westeros places the Age of Heroes at 10,000 years in the past, till the beginning of the Lengthy Night time roughly 2,000 years later (eight,000 years earlier than Aegon’s Conquest), the timeline is totally unreliable. Recorded historical past didn’t start in Westeros till lengthy after the primary Lengthy Night time, when the Andals invaded from Essos wherever between six and two thousand years earlier than the occasions of Sport of Thrones. I are inclined to assume all of those numbers are massively inflated, just because it’s laborious to maintain one single home in steady existence for 10,000 years when a single plague may wipe out a whole household.
A compacted, correct time interval would make for a way more thrilling present, as a result of it could create way more overlap with these massively vital historic figures and occasions. Perhaps Bran the Builder actually was only one one who did all of these items, and perhaps he knew all the opposite nice heroes, together with Azor Ahai (who may also have been the unique Prince That Was Promised), the “final hero” who’s credited with main the First Males to victory over the Night time King.
The truth that we don’t actually know is why it is a excellent time to set a prequel. I’m fascinated by the Targaryen kings, and I’m particularly obsessed by the famed Blackfyre Rebel that just about tore the household aside. However not solely do I understand how that story ends, I do know a lot of the main gamers and occasions of that Civil Conflict. I nonetheless hope HBO turns it right into a spin-off collection, however it could be restricted in what new data it may usher in methods this Age of Heroes collection wouldn’t be. There’s additionally the truth that magic on the earth would possibly by no means have been better than it was when the White Walkers first invaded (on the backs of big ice spiders!), versus the largely magic-free world of Westeros below the post-dragon Targaryens. Sport of Thrones is best for having magic current within the story, so wouldn’t a spin-off collection additionally wish to preserve that factor?
However giving us solutions to mysterious questions isn’t all the time a superb factor, and when mishandled they will even damage the unique story. I like the speculation that Brandon Stark from Sport of Thrones can be Bran the Builder from the myths, and that each one Brandon Starks in historical past are in reality the identical individual. Not as a result of I agree with it, however as a result of it’s enjoyable to debate and take into consideration. That each one goes away if we discover out that each one Brandon Starks merely have a excessive midichlorian rely.
A giant a part of what makes George R.R. Martin’s insanely detailed historical past so intriguing to obsessives like me are all the spots the place we don’t have solutions, as a result of it permits us to discover the gaps with out being upset by the place we find yourself. I genuinely belief Martin’s judgment, and if he imagine it is a story value telling it in all probability is, however the freedom granted by this time interval additionally contains taking place roads we can have most popular to keep away from.
On high of this, the brand new present looks as if it should have, in some kind, the very same essential villain as Sport of Thrones, with the White Walkers taking part in a serious function. It’s attainable the Night time King may need been an vital member of Home Stark, or somebody much more stunning, and that the start of the White Walkers’ story may very well be way more fascinating than their finish, which we’ll presumably get a method or one other with Sport of Thrones. However both method, their mere presence will solely invite comparisons to the unique present, which may unfairly damage it within the eyes of viewers. Any spin-off of the one hottest TV collection on the earth will reside in an enormous shadow, one that can solely get greater by repeating the villain.
None of this implies this collection received’t work, or that the present received’t truly improve how we view Sport of Thrones if its solutions add new depth and nuance to authentic story. The Age of Heroes and the primary Lengthy Night time provide a bounty of unimaginable potentialities for a tremendous story filled with fascinating characters, unbelievable parts, and main occasions, as a result of what we “know” about that point interval is product of sand that may be molded into one thing nice.
But when it’s true that typically what you don’t know received’t damage you, the alternative is true too.
What do you assume? Do you wish to study extra from this mysterious time interval, or would you somewhat some query stay unanswered? Inform us why within the feedback under.
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