It would be weird if it didn’t, as it’s HBO’s most storied TV series and proved to be a cultural phenomenon in the process. And with reports from many spin-offs in the works, the network should look at animation as another avenue worth exploring. According to those reports, there are at least a few of these projects already in development, and harnessing the newfound appreciation for animation might be something else worth doubling down on.
game of Thrones managed to explore many locations throughout Martin’s world, from beyond the wall to the southern regions of Dorne in Westeros and a handful of locations in Essos. But as with most fantasy franchises, the world from A Song of Ice and Fire it has loads of lore and world building that paint a much bigger picture not seen in the HBO series.
With the massive prices that come with fantasy epics like game of Thrones, House of the Dragon and especially the next The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power by Prime Video, there is a lot that the studios are probably willing to portray through live action and CGI. Animation for a Thrones spinoff could vibrantly, or somberly, bring to life adaptations from the various nooks and crannies of Martin’s dark fantasy universe.
One of the reported animated spin-offs furthest along in development is under the working title The Golden Empire, and would be set in Yi Ti. This country in Essos is inspired by imperial-era China as an analog of medieval Britain’s Westeros twist.
That’s already a good start if the project gets off the ground, as most of the passing references to different places and people in Martin’s books and the show already have plenty of lore ripe for adaptation behind them. Bringing the unseen history of the world, namely Essos, to the screen would also be an excellent opportunity to explore a diverse new cast of characters.
Similarly, many other locations could be recreated in animation with impressive effects that might not be explored in live action, such as the rich lands of Old Valyria where the Targaryens and the various other Houses of Dragonlord ruled.
Leaning more towards the mystical and supernatural
Martin’s World Song of ice and fire is dense with the supernatural and the mystical, and while there were some tantalizing looks at that aspect of the universe in game of Thrones, certainly could have leaned towards more. Understandably, this isn’t like the most vibrant high fantasy world of The Lord of the Rings Tolkien, but even the mid-range fantasy of thrones it felt like she was intentionally holding back as much as possible.
From a contextual standpoint, it made some sense, as magic was recently creeping back into the world with the birth of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons. Likewise, whenever we saw something otherworldly, whether it was Dany’s dragons or the Red Priestesses’ dark occult magic, it’s true that they had an air of awe towards them.
Perhaps it was due to budget constraints for an already expensive show, creative decisions by showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss, or a combination of the two, but animation could and should allow the studio and writing team to become more imaginative. about the wonderful side of this dark fantasy world.
The mysterious Shadowlands beyond Asshai is one such alluring prospect, as this region has been described in sinister tones and has even been claimed to be the origin of dragons. Even more ghostly stories have sprung from it than just the iconic beasts, like demons and an ancient ghost town that even practitioners of dark magic are terrified of.
Even the Free Cities of Essos that audiences got a taste of through Arya Stark’s adventures training under the Faceless Men and their god could be a good template, as all nine cities have a deep history when it comes to mythological customs, magical and even hidden from its people.
Understandably, political intrigue is a big part of what makes game of Thrones be so compelling and set up much of the world building in its own right, but it’s time for its spin-offs to get more inventive with the fantasy aspect.
This might be an unlikely development considering the current uncertainty behind the merger, but using the platform hbo max for animated originals it could encompass television and film. The new leadership in the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery has given the hack to many originals, including TV shows and movies, and animated works have also been forced to cut.
However, the great power behind game of thrones as a series and brand could make it a rare exception. While Netflix is dealing with its own issues, it has also doubled down on animated adaptations of video games and the like in both formats.
An example is The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, which is an animated prequel film to the main television series centered around Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir. Backed by HBO money and the creative pedigree behind the brand, letting the stories dictate whether a long-running series, limited series or movie is in order could pave the way for exciting new directions for the GoT franchise. .
Regardless of what details or lore you’re adapting, investing in animation would be a great way to expand this world into a vastly immersive and diverse on-screen universe.
game of Thrones is available to watch now on both HBO and HBO Max, with House of the Dragon scheduled to premiere on August 21 on both platforms as well.