Dread it, run from it, but there is no escaping the reality that Game of Thrones season 8 is over, and with it, the show at large. But don't fret; not only is there a Game of Thrones prequel TV show already in production, but HBO and George R. R. Martin have confirmed that at least two more spin-offs from the show are in the works, alongside a bunch of other ideas floating around in between. That means the era of Thrones on our small screens is far from over, but we're still in the dark as to how each new show will look compared to its predecessor.
That said, there's been a couple of rumours about when and where these Game of Thrones spin-off shows will take place, and the Game of Thrones ending itself seems to have planted a few seeds for further adventures beyond the Iron Throne, but HBO is staying quiet for now. Even so, we have a few sensible (and slightly more hopeful) ideas about what could be coming next from R.R. Martin's fantasy universe, with full spoilers for season 8 included. You've been warned.
The adventures of Arya
This is the imaginary show that's on everybody's mind right now. While HBO has outright stomped on any rumours that it's developing a standalone series following Arya Stark after the events of season 8, that doesn't mean fan demand won't win the programmer over to greenlighting a pilot focused on her travels west of Westeros.
Not only would we get to spend time with one of Thrones' best and brightest lights, who still has plenty of places to go as a character, we'd be travelling to uncharted territories beyond the boundaries of R.R. Martin's known world, severing ties with the mainline show and everything we know about it. The fact that Melisandre's prophecy of Arya permanently shutting three sets of eyes has been left unfulfilled suggests HBO, despite its claims, has absolutely held the door open for a follow up series with her as the lead star in the future. Suffice to say, we would be all in from day one.
Fire & Blood
Writing in a blog post earlier this year, George R.R. Martin gave a brief update on all the Thrones spinoffs in the works, teasing that, while he couldn't divulge much, "maybe some of you should pick up a copy of FIRE & BLOOD and come up with your own theories." Fire & Blood, as it happens, is Martin's history of House Targaryen, taking place around 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, beginning with Aegon I Targaryen's conquest of the Seven Kingdoms and ending right up at the reign of his grandson, Aegon III.
Fans are iffy over the quality of the material itself, which reads less like a fantasy drama and more like a dry history book, but Martin's comments suggest that perhaps this unlikely novella is HBO's new inspiration for an upcoming Thrones show. We have to admit, this is the one we're least excited about, but there's no reason it couldn't work with the right people involved.
Dunk & Egg
No, this isn't the name of a new Dr. Seuss book, but an ongoing series of shorter stories from R.R. Martin set just under a hundred years before the events of the main show. Slightly more lighthearted than that of the author's main tales, Dunk & Egg follows the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, a legend of the Kingsguard, and his squire, Egg, who eventually goes on to become Aegon Targaryen (a.k.a. the future king of Westeros).
Given the bouncier tone of Dunk & Egg, a TV adaptation would certainly make for a nice breather to the cynical realpolitik that we're used to seeing from a Thrones show, while also enriching Westeros' history with more characters and stories leading up to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. Intriguely, Martin has stated that HBO don't actually own the rights to Dunk & Egg, but is more than willing to work with the programming giant to develop a miniseries, so we shall see whether anything comes out of it.
The already announced Game of Thrones prequel takes place thousands of years before the events of the mainline show, but what about a spin-off that leads up to the moments seen in the season 1 pilot itself? For years, fans have been dying to witness the war between Robert Baratheon and Aerys Targaryen that everyone talks about as though it were yesterday in Game of Thrones.
We could learn how Robert devolved from a great warrior to a podgy, depressed monarch, see the moment where Jaime became the infamous Kingslayer, and witness first hand the delirium of the Mad Targaryen King himself. Obviously, HBO will either have to recast several of its known characters, or pull a "Hobbit" and digitally de-age the likes of Mark Addy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, to make them look several years younger. They certainly have the budget, but the logistical challenges for spin-off makes it seem a less likely option than the rest.
The Doom of Valyria
In the Game of Thrones season 8 finale, we see Drogon – Daenerys' last surviving dragon – fleeing the Red Keep with his surrogate mother's corpse, and heading East. The going theory is that he's travelling to Old Valyria, the mystic homeland of both the Targaryens and their pet dragons. That dangling story thread could kick off a spin-off show about the history of the flying reptiles themselves, and how this fire-blooded family came to tame and master Westeros' most powerful beasts.
Such a show could also offer more insight into the events of The Doom, a mysterious cataclysm which turned Valyria from a city of might and magic into a despondent ruin, and while Martin has offered small insight about the event in various works, a full show devoted to the timeline could be a great way to flesh out that history, while giving us one last chance to say our goodbyes to Dany and Drogon.
Check out our Game of Thrones season 8 recap to catch up on every episode, or watch the video below for a visual summary of everything that happened.