In hindsight, it’s pretty amazing that HBO’s epic fantasy series Game of Thrones made it to live-action in the first place.
George R.R. Martin, who penned (and is still slowly penning) the novel series upon which Game of Thrones is based, wrote his books at a seemingly unadaptable scale. Following a career of writing for television, Martin surely never envisioned that the medium would have the budget, expertise, or ambition to bring his world of Westeros to life. Then HBO came along. According to a new blog post from Martin himself, however, even pay cable might have its limits.
In a blog post titled “Amazing Animation,” Martin shares his thoughts on the medium (he loves Netflix’s Blue Eye Samurai) while also providing a critical update on the many Game of Thrones prequels moving forward at Warner Bros. Discovery. That update confirms what we’ve long expected. The only way to truly move forward in Westeros is through animation. Martin explains thusly:
As it happens, HBO and I have our own animated projects, set in the world of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE. None of them have been greenlit yet, but I think we are getting close to taking the next step with a couple of them. When this last round of development started a few years back, we had four ideas for animated shows, with some great talents attached. Writers rooms and summits, outline and scripts followed in due course … but, alas, two of the original projects were subsequently shelved.
For those in need of a refresher, HBO initially announced many Game of Thrones spinoffs and has since added more to the pile. While House of the Dragon was the first to make it to the air, there are still some others on the docket. Of those previously announced, one seems pretty close to getting picked up: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, which will be based on the first installment of Martin’s “Dunk & Egg” prequel novellas. Other titles announced (or teased by Martin in other blog posts) include: 10,000 Ships (about Rhoynish Queen Nymeria), 9 Voyages (about Corlys Velaryon a.k.a. the Sea Snake), a Jon Snow spinoff, something about the common folk in Flea Bottom, and an untitled animated project (potentially about Yi Ti, the Golden Empire in Essos).
Interestingly, none of these were originally pitched as animated projects, aside from the aforementioned untitled one. But according to Martin, at least four animated projects were in development at one point before being narrowed down to two. And actually, go ahead and make that three because later on in the blog post Martin clarifies that the Sea Snake series has now been switched to animation as well. Martin says:
Budgetary constraints would likely have made a live action version prohibitively expensive, what with half the show taking place at sea, and the necessity of creating a different port every week, from Driftmark to Lys to the Basilisk Isles to Volantis to Qarth to… well, on and on and on. There’s a whole world out there. And we have a lot better chance of showing it all with animation. So we now have three animated projects underway.
If HBO came to the realization that budgetary restraints would require a move to animation for the Sea Snake series, then wouldn’t they come to a similar situation for most of the other prequels in development? We would wager that they have. Aside from A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and the Jon Snow series that Kit Harrington surely wants to return for, it seems entirely possible that every other Thrones prequel to see the light of day will do so in animated fashion.