The wait between now and April 2016, when Game of Thrones is set to return for its sixth season, might just be one of the most excruciating in all of fandom. Considering the massive cliffhangers that ended the show’s fifth season, fans understandably have a long list of questions they’d like to have answered. Of course, while we’re going to have to wait until George R. R. Martin releases his next book or the show returns to get anything new in the Game of Thrones universe (what’s the current status on Kit Harrington’s hair length?), we also have to come to terms with the fact that Game of Thrones only has a few seasons worth of story left to tell. What’s HBO going to do when their premier program inevitably ends? Considering the enormous size and complexity of Martin’s fictional world, it seems well within the realm of possibility for HBO to launch a spin-off series (after all, The Walking Dead‘s doing it and that show doesn’t even need one). Based on what we know so far of this fictional world, HBO couldn’t go wrong with greenlighting these 9 potential Game of Thrones spin-off series.
9. 12 Years In Slaver’s Bay
Daenerys Targaryen’s story arc over the last few seasons has often felt like the unwanted stepchild of Game of Thrones plotlines, but it has at least introduced the interesting politics and ethical dilemmas of Slaver’s Bay. Season 5 notably introduced us to the fighting pits of Meereen, which are a hallowed tradition of the city’s culture. 12 Years In Slaver’s Bay would explore the experience of a single slave who spends over a decade in captivity while becoming a champion of the fighting pits. It would be kind of like Gladiator but with a lot less Russell Crowe and a lot more insight into the region’s turbulent, barbaric culture.
8. Dothraki Hordes
One of the more fascinating cultures in Game of Thrones that hasn’t received much attention since the first season are the Dothraki, the nomadic horselords who inhabit the plains of Essos. While the conclusion of season 5 saw them return in a major way, it still feels like there’s a lot more story to tell. Dothraki Hordes would be a spin-off that, much like the political machination plots in Game of Thrones itself, examines the conflicts and interpersonal relations between the various Dothraki khalasars. It would be a suitably brutal and violent series, but as seen in characters such as Khal Drogo, there;s degree of nobility and spirit to the Dothraki that would be fascinating to explore in further detail. Plus, it would just be neat to see if there’s a Khal more fearsome and lethal than Drogo.
7. Breaking Bronn
It’s a shame that season 5 basically wasted an entire season of Bronn’s time because the witty sellsword is easily one of Game of Thrones‘ most charming, likable characters. Really, Bronn’s become too good for the storylines he’s been saddled with lately and deserves to have a series of his very own. Breaking Bronn would focus on Bronn’s adventures before he met Tyrion and started working exclusively for the imp. Bronn would travel Westeros and beyond, selling his services and generally living up to his reputation as a dastardly rogue. Basically, he’d do what he does best: drinking, fighting, and sleeping around with beautiful women. This series would sell itself.
6. House of Lions
Besides the Targaryens, the most intriguing and scandal-prone family in the Seven Kingdoms are the Lannisters. From their seat of Casterly Rock (a location that has disappointingly yet to be featured on the show), the Lannisters are one of the most powerful and richest families in Westeros. Therefore, a spin-off series dedicated to the power-hungry family could be a surefire hit — especially if Charles Dance was brought back to play the delightfully cold and calculating family patriarch, Tywin Lannister. House of Lions would be a great way to see the inner-workings of the most-hated family in Westeros before they started chopping off the heads of almost every major character. It would be like The Borgias, only with a lot more incest.
5. Better Call Hodor
Hodor is a man of few words (well, one word actually), but that hasn’t prevented him from becoming a fan-favorite minor character. Bran Stark’s enormous protector is a gentle soul but as has been shown time and again, he is much more capable than he appears, especially when it comes to feats of strength. As such, a Hodor spin-off has the potential to be a rollicking good time. The basic premise would be that Hodor travels Westeros with Bran and a whole new set of allies as part of a for-hire team of mercenaries (the good kind though). Hodor and his posse would help various people with their problems. One week may see them clearing out a bandit camp that’s been giving a local village some problems. Next week, they could be hired to get rid of a monster problem. Better Call Hodor would be a more light-hearted adventure in the world of Game of Thrones; plus, more Hodor is always a good thing.
Season 5 gave us a brief glimpse of Valyria, the ruined land of a once prosperous culture that is currently the home of savage stone men. The Valyrian empire is essentially Game of Thrones‘ version of the Roman empire, which means that a series focused on Valyria before its destruction would make for a suitably epic spin-off. The show would not only have all of the political intrigue of Game of Thrones, as Valyria had its fair share of turmoil, but would also have an increased emphasis on fantastical elements, as the empire was ruled by dragonlords. As for a point-of-view, the series could follow the rise of House Targaryen before they conquered the west, as Valyria was their ancestral home. To cap it all off, it would also be extremely cool to see the Doom of Valyria on-screen and how the empire’s destruction affected the rest of the world.
3. Dawn of the White Walkers
The White Walkers made a major appearance in season 5 and are assuredly going to be around much more in the future. That being said, there’s still a lot we don’t know about these ice zombies to the north. Dawn of the White Walkers would be a prequel series that would explore the origins of the White Walkers and the events surrounding their first conquest of Westeros, known as the “Long Night.” It could even be a mini-series, depicting the conquest and subsequent miraculous defeat of the White Walkers by the people of Westeros in the “War of the Dawn.” It’s too bad we couldn’t see this story play out before the eventual conclusion of Game of Thrones, as it would surely offer some much-needed answers as to how the Seven Kingdoms could stop the imminent White Walker invasion heading their way.
2. Keeping Up With The Targaryens
As we already know, the Targaryens ruled Westeros for hundreds of years before losing the Iron Throne to Robert Baratheon not long before the start of Game of Thrones. There are countless references to the history of the Targaryens strewn throughtout the series and it’s the stuff that epic fantasy dramas are made of. Dragonriders, incestuous inbreeding, mad kings…a Targaryen spin-off might actually be more outrageous than the series that spawns it. A great starting point for Keeping Up With The Targaryens would be the conquering of Westeros by Aegon and his two sisters on dragonback and a subsequent look at the family drama of House Targaryen as its power slowly erodes over the next few centuries. There’s huge potential for compelling stories here and the prospect of more dragon action alone would be reason enough to tune in.
1. Unbreakable Eddard Stark
Of all the historical backstories in Game of Thrones, the events surrounding Robert’s Rebellion (which takes place about 15 years before the start of the series) are the most significant to the overall plot. The show makes numerous references to the various battles and events of the war for the Iron Throne, and it honestly sounds more interesting than what’s happening in Game of Thrones sometimes. Naturally, a series dedicated to the events of Robert’s Rebellion would be the most likely candidate for a Game of Thrones spin-off and the proposition is very enticing. We’d get to see characters like Rhaegar Targaryen in action and witness firsthand the sacking of King’s Landing and the infamous deed that made Jaime Lannister the Kingslayer. Unbreakable Eddard Stark would obviously take place from Ned’s perspective and provide further insight into his noble worldview and heroic acts in the rebellion, with the added benefit of not having his head chopped off by some punk kid all of a sudden.