For those hoping to see George R.R. Martin return to A Song of Ice and Fire on the small screen, there’s hope.
Writing on his Not a Blog, the man behind the Game of Thrones books shared more details on the first prequel series to get the green light, as well as his thoughts on the Age of Heroes show getting cancelled. Plus, he revealed what series House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal actually suggested first. That’s right: We could’ve gotten Dunk & Egg.
“He is also a huge fan of my Dunk & Egg stories. In fact, that was the show he wanted to do initially, but I’m not prepared to bring Dunk & Egg to television until I’ve written quite a few more stories,” Martin wrote.
Martin also shared more information about House of the Dragon, the Targaryen-focused spinoff being helmed by Condal and Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik. The prequel, which takes place about 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, is largely based on stores from Fire & Blood, Martin’s companion novel detailing the history of the Targaryen family through their rule of Westeros. It was picked up straight to series with 10 episodes.
Martin said House of the Dragon was the first concept he pitched to HBO back in summer 2016, when the network was reportedly first showing interest in a new Game of Thrones series. He said he’s loved working with Condal on the project, who’s already done a “considerable amount of writing,” and Martin expects to take an active role in the series. He’s even hoping to get some writing in himself. But he promised that it wouldn’t happen until he was done with the long, long-awaited The Winds of Winter. Dammit, he’s a professional.
“I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent…and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of Game of Thrones,” he wrote. “But…let me make this perfectly clear…I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered Winds of Winter. Winter is still coming, and Winds remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of House.”
However, news of House of the Dragon came with a downside, as it meant the Age of Heroes-set prequel, tentatively called The Long Night, had not been picked up to series. Martin shared his thoughts on the cancelled series, which he was working on with Jane Goldman and was set to star Naomi Watts, Miranda Richardson, and many others:
It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series. Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her. I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had to do with House of the Dragon. This was never an either/or situation. If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and Chicago shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters for a dozen shows.
Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and have it come to nought, it’s not at all uncommon. I’ve been there myself, more than once. I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy… with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.
Game of Thrones completed its eighth and final season earlier this year. House of the Dragon is in early stages of pre-production and an expected release date has not been announced.