'Game of Thrones': What a Sequel Could Look Like

There's nothing more powerful in the world than a good story — and nothing worse than a bad one, as The Hollywood Reporter's Josh Wigler explores.
Courtesy of HBO

Following "The Iron Throne," Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss' time in Westeros has officially come to an end — but that doesn't mean viewers have seen the last of the Seven Kingdoms, if not quite the six ruled by Bran the Broken (Isaac Hempstead Wright).

At the end of the series, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) returned to Castle Black before disappearing into the Haunted Forest with the Free Folk, becoming the new King Beyond the Wall. Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) became Queen in the North, ruling over the newly independent kingdom. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) abandoned her killer instincts and embraced her wanderlust, all with one question on the mind: "What's west of Westeros?" Bran the Broken rules as the new king of the six remaining united kingdoms, with a true who's who populating his council: Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) as Hand of the King, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) as the new Captain of the Kingsguard, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) as Master of Ships, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) as Grand Maester and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) as the new Master of Coin, among other lofty titles. The series' final dialogue-heavy scene features Bran's new councilors debating immediate policy concerns, such as whether to prioritize rebuilding ships over rebuilding brothels.

"I once brought a honeycomb and a jackass to a brothel," Tyrion says, the series' penultimate line of dialogue, once again telling a recurring joke with a punchline we'll never get to hear.

Unless we do get to hear it, some day.

While the Game of Thrones series finale landed with a mixed reaction among the audience, it also set an HBO ratings record; the appetite for more stories set in the world of ice and fire created by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin remains in place, even if it is somewhat dulled in certain corners of the fandom. Active strides are already underway for at least one successor series, with Jane Goldman's planned drama (set thousands of years before Game of Thrones, during the "Age of Heroes" and right around the first White Walker war) shooting a pilot in June. Two other successor series remain in varying stages of development. 

All three of those projects take place before Game of Thrones. Given the way Benioff and Weiss ended the series, how about a sequel? Is it a possibility? Is it something that can or ever will happen — or even should happen? In an attempt to contemplate the possibilities, for the last time (until the next time), here's one final conversation about Game of Thrones between THR Westeros beat reporter Josh Wigler and himself.

Wigler. We meet again.

Indeed we do. How have you been? Have you caught up on sleep?

Sleep is for the weak. I can't stop thinking about Game of Thrones. My mind's racing with possibilities about the future. The way the series ended, it feels like a sequel is inevitable, right?

"Nope, nope, nope."

Oh, okay. Well, see you later!

Hey, don't go! We can still chat! I wasn't trying to brush you off. It's the actual answer, at least as far as one exists right now. Speaking earlier this week with The Hollywood Reporter, HBO programming president Casey Bloys indicated there wouldn't be a direct sequel to Game of Thrones in the future, at least not any time soon. Here's the full quote: "Nope, nope, nope. No. Part of it is, I do want this show — this Game of Thrones, Dan and David's show — to be its own thing. I don't want to take characters from this world that they did beautifully and put them off into another world with someone else creating it. I want to let it be the artistic piece they've got. That's one of the reasons why I'm not trying to do the same show over. George has a massive, massive world; there are so many ways in. That's why we're trying to do things that feel distinct — and to not try and redo the same show. That's probably one of the reasons why, right now, a sequel or picking up any of the other characters doesn't make sense for us."

Fair enough. But what about further down the line? Are we really going to live in a world where there's never a sequel to Game of Thrones?

It would be unwise to rule it out. Nobody anticipated more Star Wars films after the prequel trilogy, and yet here we are in 2019, on the verge of completing a brand new sequel trilogy. A Game of Thrones sequel set ten years from now, with the core cast ten years older and wiser? Crazier things have happened.

Indeed, they have. Good enough for me! Well, see you later—

"What kinds of crazy things," you ask? 

(Silence.) Uh… I didn't ask—

Good question! Here's what happens in Game of Thrones II, the sequel you never knew you needed:

Ten years after Bran the Broken assumes the throne, Westeros has once again fallen into disarray. Dorne has been destroyed, razed in a mysterious incident of fire and blood. Some say it's the Doom of Valyria all over again. Others suggest the second coming of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). 

In the face of the fiery threat, Bran and his council make overtures to the North to return to the fold, so the now Five Kingdoms can become Six again, united in the face of whatever new evil is making its move. Sansa Stark refuses the call, leading to open rebellion between the North and the South, for reasons Tyrion Lannister and his council can't quite explain. Why would Sansa not only refuse her own brother, but declare war upon him?

Meanwhile, Jon Snow continues reigning peacefully in the real North. Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) once told him he would find no happiness in life, but tell that to Jon and his new family, including his children Robbert and Lyanna Snow. Jon's capacity for rallying unlikely forces together has even expanded to include the White Walker hybrids first created by the Night King, once deemed a fail-safe threat, now viewed as powerful allies to Free Folk Nation. From the Wall to the Land of Always Winter, this part of the world has never been more peaceful.

Jon's idyllic life takes a deadly turn when newcomers arrive in the Real North: Children of the Forest, ones who have lived far away from Westeros for thousands of years in self-imposed exile. Their leader…

… Arya Stark, who found and aligned with these Children during her travels away from Westeros. They come with disturbing allegations about a new enemy, one that's both ancient and tragically familiar.

Back in Westeros, Tyrion Lannister leads an envoy of negotiators to Winterfell in hopes of figuring out why exactly Sansa won't bend the knee to her brother. When he arrives, Sansa walks Tyrion through what she's learned from Arya, who already passed through the North on her way to find Jon. It turns out the world of ice and fire has long possessed a dark evil at its heart, one that was responsible not only for the Doom of Valyria, but also the recent fall of Dorne, not to mention all of the other deadly events seen throughout Game of Thrones…

…the Three-Eyed Raven, an old darkness currently inhabiting Bran Stark's body, with the sole purpose of ruling all life and bending the human race to its will.

As if on cue, the Three-Eyed Raven arrives in full force in the form of Drogon, the dragon he's long since conquered. Drogon is not alone, either; before their deaths, Rhaegal and Viserion produced dragon eggs over on Dragonstone, and so there are now dozens of dragons of varying sizes at the Raven's disposal. Bran Stark will fly, indeed. 

Arya, Jon and his allies from Beyond the Wall converge on Winterfell at the exact same time as the Raven's arrival. Jon's White Walker friends are huge assets in the new War for the Dawn. They all ride upon the backs of gigantic ice spiders, and it is glorious. Ice lances are flying through the air, as are the dragons. It's an even matchup — until the death of one individual.

That's Jon Snow, in case you can't see him. Alas, poor Jon. He is not only killed once more, but resurrected once more, as the Three-Eyed Raven claims the former heir to the Iron Throne's body as his own, turning him into his new steed of death. With Jon at his command, the Three-Eyed Raven not only has his dragon armada, but also wins over the hearts and minds of the Free Folk and White Walkers who believe themselves to be following the King Beyond the Wall. Ice and fire have never been so terrifyingly aligned.

What happens next? That's for season two and onward! Arya clearly survives the battle because, duh, she's Arya. She sneaks off with some survivors, including Lyanna Snow (rest in peace to her brother Robbert; it never works out well in Westeros for the Bobs) and Davos Seaworth (because someone's gotta smuggle people out of the North and who better than Old Man Onion?), and tells them that Westeros is a lost cause; best to head back west where she and her many allies can regroup. 

But what about east of Westeros? In a final scene, the action shifts far away to the Shadow Lands of Asshai. A silver-haired boy frolics through Ghost Grass, under the smiling eye of a hooded woman. The two of them stop in their tracks when a third person appears: Kinvara, the Red Woman played by Ania Bukstein in season six. 

"Who is she, mother?" the young boy asks, speaking in perfect Dothraki. The boy's mother removes her hood, revealing…

…Daenerys, Queen of Nothing. The grim look of concern on Kinvara's face tells Dany all she needs to know. 

"Pack your things, Rhaegar," she tells her son. "We're going home."

And scene!

… I said, "And scene!"

Can I… can I go now?

Was it really that bad?

Uh, ask me again in ten years?

Would it help if I explained the honeycomb and the jackass?

It would not.

Fair enough. Look, the body isn't even a full week cold on Game of Thrones. Many people are angry and disappointed right now, and likely will be for quite some time. But there are also a lot of people who are not only perfectly fine with the finale, but actually loved it, believe it or not. We can debate the merits of the final season and the series at large for years and years to come. The good news is this: the story ended on such an open note that we can fantasize all we want about the future direction of the characters who were lucky enough to survive — and maybe even one or two who didn't survive. (Seriously, Kinvara made it clear in season six how much the red priests love Daenerys, we have seen twice how red priests can bring people back to life, so why wouldn't they bring Daenerys back to life?)

You're ruining your point.

Sorry! Point: Game of Thrones just ended. A prequel series is coming, most likely. A pilot is filming, definitely. George R.R. Martin's two remaining Song of Ice and Fire novels are still coming, hopefully. A Game of Thrones sequel series that further explores the characters we've left behind? Not in the works, but when I said "crazier things have happened," I really do mean it. But do not hold your breath, for so many reasons. Instead, my advice: let the characters swim in your mind. Let them breathe and live there. Think about all the Small Council sessions and cross-table bickering still happening in Westeros. Think about the fresh air of the real North on Jon Snow's face. Bring Dany back to life in your mind, if you want to, or very much don't. Contemplate the horrors she committed and what that says about human nature, how even the best of us can fall into our worst selves under the tragically wrong circumstances — or don't think about that stuff, if you simply can't get past the way in which Dany was utilized as a conveyer of those thematic ideas; such is your right. Think about the spectacular performances from the cast across nearly a decade of television, the outstanding work from all corners of the crew, coffee cup included. Or don't! Such is your right. Think about the conversations you have had with family, friends and strangers about a fictional universe as real and lived-in to you as your own. Please do; that's the stuff that I'm taking with me and holding onto the tightest. Given the ending, and even without it, Game of Thrones at the very least left you and me with this: a sprawling story. Good or bad, it's one that can never be stopped or defeated — and it's why we came all this way. 

Read all of THR's Final Path series, featuring character-by-character predictions:

1. Jon Snow
2. Daenerys Targaryen
3. Tyrion Lannister
4. Cersei Lannister
5. Jaime Lannister
6. Sansa Stark
7. Arya Stark
8. Bran Stark
9. Samwell Tarly
10. Theon Greyjoy
11. The Hound
12. Brienne of Tarth
13. Varys
14. Melisandre
15. Davos Seaworth
16. Jorah Mormont
17. Bronn
18. Tormund Giantsbane
19. Beric Dondarrion
20. The Dragons
21. The Night King
22. Across the World of Ice and Fire
23. Final Predictions

Follow THR.com/GameOfThrones for continuing coverage all season long.