The world of Game of Thrones has been filled with murder and scheming and sex for thousands of years, it is known. And now it’s official: Game of Thrones will get the Harry Potter and Star Wars treatment and become a franchise that continues indefinitely. HBO announced on Thursday that four spin-offs are in development, set in different time periods of the world of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series.
At this stage, it isn’t certain that all four will make it to air — but that doesn’t stop us from trying to read this story’s future in the flames. Here’s what the Lord of Light points to as the most apt time periods in Westerosi history for future shows to cleave to.
1. The Doom of Valyria
Four hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones, the political makeup of Westeros and Essos looked very different. Forget the Seven Kingdoms; The Valyrian Freehold was the most powerful empire in the world. The advanced city of Valyria was its centerpiece, ruled over by dragonlords. This is exactly as cool as it sounds: forty noble families who were known for their beauty, incestuous practices (this is Game of Thrones, after all) magical abilities, and dragon-riding. The Targaryens were obviously one of these families.
However, like Atlantis, this advanced civilization of beautiful and magical people came to an abrupt end in a vague and mysterious disaster known only as the Doom of Valyria. In it, thousands of people died and knowledge was lost — including exactly how to forge Valyrian steel swords. Some think this was a natural disaster, others think it was man-made. This show could explore the years and months leading up to the Doom. Did we mention that its protagonists would be dragonlords?
2. The Origin Story of the Night King
The mysterious Night King is mostly famous for locking eyes with Jon Snow and making a “come at me, bro” gesture in “Hardhome.” However, there’s a lot more to him than that. According to legend, he started as a Stark and the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. (To give you an idea of where this stands in context to the events of the show, Jon Snow was the 998th Lord Commander).
The Night King was fearless but unfortunately fell for a woman with white skin like “ice” and eyes like “blue stars.” Kind of like Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when he slept with her he relinquished his soul. They lived side by side as a terrifying couple committing atrocities until Stark ancestor Brandon the Breaker joined forces with the King Beyond the Wall to take him out and strike his name from record. Was he just misunderstood? Was it a true embrace of evil? That entire saga of his rise, fall, and defeat is its own show waiting to happen.
As a caveat, George R.R. Martin has said the Game of Thrones version of the Night King is different than the books because he’s unlikely to still be around in the present day. However, the show has taken liberties with tying characters together for simplicity’s sake, like Sansa and Jeyne Poole and Benjen Stark and Coldhands. It would be easy for a spin-off exploring this fascinating origin story tying the Starks to the White Walkers to link it to the figure who has appeared on Game of Thrones.
3. Robert’s Rebellion
The era just before the events of the show is arguably the most ripe for a spin-off, as it contains events that have been discussed at length onscreen in Game of Thrones. This show would chronicle how Jon Snow’s parents Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark actually met — probably when Lyanna disguised herself at as a mysterious knight called the Knight of the Laughing Tree at a tourney.
It would follow their relationship and its consequences, which include Lyanna’s death in childbirth, Rhaegar’s death at the Battle of the Trident, Ned Stark’s father and brother’s deaths at the Mad King’s hands, the Mad King’s eventual death at Jaime Lannister’s hands, and Robert Baratheon’s ascension to the Iron Throne. This show would have everything: secret identities, star-crossed romance, war, tragedy, and heaps of blood. It would also be satisfying for audiences to finally see characters who have had such a strong offscreen presence on Game of Thrones.
4. The Dance of Dragons
The Dance of Dragons isn’t just the name of the fifth book of the Song of Ice and Fire series or the ninth episode of Game of Thrones Season 5. It’s also the name of a civil war during the Targaryen reign of the Seven Kingdoms. This clash was between Aegon II, the sixth Targaryan king, and his half-sister Rhaenyra. The upshot was that both parties died, and Rhaenyra’s son Aegon III ascended to the Iron Throne in the end.
Aegon II was mysteriously poisoned while Rhaenerya got one of the most epic deaths in the form of being fed to her own dragon. This story involves spying, intense inter-family rivalries, incest, dragons, and death. In other words, it’s perfect material to expand the world of Game of Thrones.
There is no word yet on an air date for the spin-offs. The seventh and penultimate season of Game of Thrones premieres July 16, 2017 on HBO.