HBO has ordered a second Game of Thrones prequel to pilot. Unlike the one that has already been filmed, which is set thousands of years earlier during the mythological Age of Heroes, we know a lot about the era in which this new show will take place. It will be set only three centuries prior to Robert Baratheon’s death, when Aegon the Conqueror was named King of Westeros. But it will also cover a Realm-changing event that happened over a century later, during a civil war that led to the death of dragons and began the Targaryen dynasty’s downfall. And if the show will include both wars, we are likely getting a Game of Thrones anthology series.
Deadline first reported that HBO had ordered a second Thrones prequel pilot, and it’s based on the first (of a planned two) of George R.R. Martin’s House Targaryen history books, Fire and Blood. Per the reports, the show “is set 300 years before the events in Game of Thrones and tracks the beginning of the end for House Targaryen.” Their demise started with the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, which “will be a significant part of the TV adaptation.”
However, Ageon’s Conquest and the Dance of the Dragons are separated by 130 years, and outside of 700-year-old witches like Melisandre, no one who was alive when Aegon was crowned was around to see dragons fight dragons in the feud for the Iron Throne that tore Westeros in half. Any show that would tell both stories would have to change their entire cast and almost certainly skip massive chunks of time between seasons, even multiple decades. But an anthology series sounds like the perfect way to bring some of the best Targaryen tales to life.
The actual conquest of Westeros, while visually stunning and full of compelling characters, deaths, and political maneuvering, didn’t take all that long. And while certain events during Aegon’s then (mostly) peaceful reign are interesting, especially his continuing efforts to take Dorne, it’s not quite suited for a long-running TV show in a franchise where big things happen a lot. Even the Dance of the Dragons, which had countless twists and turns, murder, betrayal, royal intrigue, family chaos, great heroes and villains, and whose own facts are muddled by multiple historians of questionable integrity, likely would work best as a three-season show at most.
An anthology series would allow HBO to tell both stories, and also to mix in another engrossing era of Targaryen upheaval that took place between them. After his death, Aegon’s two sons were beset by major problems that risked Targaryen power. One son proved ineffectual, the other cruel, and combined the story of Aegon’s successors would make for a riveting couple of TV seasons as well.
And while HBO is making the show, George R.R. Martin might even release some new books (SHUT UP, HE MIGHT), including the second part of Fire and Blood. It will recount more attempts by Targaryen kings to conquer Dorne, the odd rule of Baelor the Blessed, the despicable reign of Aegon the Unworthy and the Blackfyre Rebellions, the Tragedy of Summerhall where Dunk and Egg both died trying to hatch dragon eggs, and finally the death of the Mad King.
On their own none would make for a long-term TV show, but each would make for an amazing entry in an anthology series.
Want to know more about the rise and fall of the Targaryens? Check out our series History of Thrones, which explores the lore and past of Westeros.
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