There’s been another set of possible Game of Thrones spin-offs announced because HBO is still chasing that sweet dragon money. I’ll be honest that my initial reaction was something along the lines of this:
Flea Bottom - Flea Bottom is a slum neighborhood of King’s Landing that spawned several of our favorite characters and was a setting early in the first season of the show. Davos Seaworth and Gendry both started their lives in Flea Bottom, and Gendry was found there working as a blacksmith by Ned Stark. Arya wandered through the streets of Flea Bottom after escaping the Red Keep before Yoren found her at Ned’s execution and got her out of King’s Landing. Presumably, a series set there would focus on the lives of the so-called small folk, the question is WHEN this series would be set. King’s Landing was entirely destroyed at the end of Game of Thrones, so it’s definitely before those events, but whether it’s contemporaneous with the original series or whether it’s set in a specific period of the past has yet to be announced. Because there aren’t many details here, it’s hard to know how much of this will be based on existing material and how much is being created new for the series.
Nymeria - Nymeria was a warrior queen from Essos who led a fleet of refugees from the Rhoynar to Dorne several centuries before the Targaryen conquest of Westeros. This means this series would be set around 1,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The good news is that the rough outline of this story has been a part of the books already, so there’s a blueprint to work from. It’s also a chance to rehab some of the impressions of Dorne, a region that Game of Thrones did not portray particularly well or consistently. (Oberyn Martell: Good! Sand Snakes: Incredibly underwhelming! Areo Hotah: WTF?!? Prince Doran: Massive shrug.) Side note: I know these kinds of timelines are common in fantasy series but it always makes me think what it would be like for a contemporary show to have a “spin-off” that took place 1,000 years prior. Like, a Sherlock spin-off that focused on the life of William the Conquerer.
The Sea Snake - This is hands-down the WEIRDEST of the newly announced spin-offs because it seems like it’s a spin-off OF one of the previously announced spin-offs. The Sea Snake is Lord Corlys Velaryon, a character in the upcoming House of the Dragon series. The part has even been cast; it will be played by actor Steve Toussaint. Lord Corlys Velaryon was an accomplished sailor and the husband of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. Some of this history has been written in Fire and Blood, but there are plenty of details that can be filled in for the show. Still, if this goes forward, good for Steve Toussaint. Getting double that HBO money.
It’s almost certain that not all of these shows will end up as full series. I think a lot of these announcements are meant to test the waters to see what kind of excitement can be found for different areas of the Game of Thrones universe among fans of the show. So far, I have the most hope for Dunk and Egg, because the format of the material means it has the best chance for a solid adaptation. The other spin-offs are starting from much sparser material or just a setting, and while it’s possible that there are some excellent stories to be found there, we have been burned by showrunners trying to create a story based on simple plot-points before. Given how desperate HBO seems to be to get more mileage out of the Game of Thrones franchise, I wonder how likely it is that they’ll just reboot the final two seasons “Snyder Cut” style at some point. Hey, George R. R. Martin himself was originally planning a five-year time jump in the books, why not give it a shot?