George R.R. Martin Was ‘Surprised’ to Learn HBO Had Four ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequels in the Works

The "Song of Ice and Fire" author was taken by surprise to learn, back in 2017, that HBO was forging ahead on multiple prequel series for its fantasy hit.

The new book “Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers” by journalist James Andrew Miller is the gift that keeps on giving for fans of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” The book features extensive interviews with author George R.R. Martin about the beloved fantasy series that ended in 2019 — but has a raft of prequels and spinoffs coming down the pipeline.

The world of Westeros is returning to HBO in the new year with the prequel series “House of the Dragon,” and that’s not at all. Just this week, news broke that Steve Conrad has been hired as the writer and executive producer of a second spinoff series titled “Dunk & Egg.” There are also reports that HBO is in development on two animated series set in the “Thrones” universe. And according to the book, back in 2017, Martin was surprised to learn just how many prequels HBO had in the cards. (Via Insider.)

In the book “Tinderbox,” Martin told Miller that he spoke to HBO about “two successor shows” circa 2017, knowing that they’d need a new showrunner as he was still working on the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series. (The upcoming “Winds of Winter” is being eyed for a late 2023 release.)

“Then I suddenly found out that they had put four prequels in motion,” Martin said. “The ‘Dance of the Dragons’ idea was just one of them. And the other three were ideas that had come from other people who I guess had read my books or had some of the documents at HBO.”

Martin apparently suggested the “Dance of the Dragons” idea, which centers on a civil war amid the Targaryen family and originated in “Fire and Blood,” as a series concept along with the “Dunk and Egg” novellas.

“They didn’t like the ‘Dunk and Egg’ idea because they were familiar with the novellas — somebody there had read them — but it was too soft,” Martin said. “But they did respond to the ‘Dance of the Dragons’ idea.”

Then Martin was surprised to learn that HBO had “four writers and we suddenly had four shows in development.”

“It surprised me, I’ll admit that,” he said. “I’d never heard of that before. I thought we’d be going ahead with one, with one development, with the one that I pitched to them, the ‘Dance of the Dragons’ idea.”

It can be tricky to keep track of just how many “Game of Thrones” prequels and spinoffs are in the works. Among those to get scrapped was the first to be announced, dating back to May 2017.

According to “Tinderbox,” Martin was “on the road” when news of the prequels broke. “I met with all four of the writers,” Martin said, according to the book. “They came to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I lived, and I had meetings with them, discussed their idea, did workshops, tried to fill them in on any questions and all that.”

For now, the only prequel that’s a sure bet is the upcoming, 10-episode “House of the Dragon.” It’s created by “Colony” showrunner Ryan Condal and Emmy-winning “Game of Thrones” director Miguel Sapochnik.

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