HBO Was Initially Skeptical Game of Thrones Could Be A Franchise

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HBO insider recently revealed that the network was initially “understandably very nervous” about expanding Game of Thrones into a franchise. HBO was initially skeptical that Game of Thrones could be a successful franchise. The hugely popular fantasy series first aired in 2011 and steadily rose in ratings to become a bona fide pop culture phenomenon. Based on George R.R. Martin’s expansive A Song of Ice and Fire series, the network’s adaptation of his complex world became the most Emmy Award-winning drama of all time.

Game of Thrones ended in 2019, many fans of the show were left wondering what was next, despite the finale’s less-than-favorable reviews. The answer was unveiled in October 2019 when the network ordered House of the Dragon, a straight-to-series prequel to Game of Thrones created by Martin and Ryan J. Condal. Based on Martin’s 700-page book Fire & Blood, the highly-anticipated spinoff follows the Targaryen Civil War and is set to premiere its first episode on HBO Max in August. In addition to House of the Dragon, HBO reportedly has several other spinoffs in the works, including The Sea Snake, Ten Thousand Ships, and a rumored Jon Snow sequel series, among others.

Finally Put A GOT Dany Misconception To Rest House of the Drago will see dragon fire as a significant weapon in the Targaryen civil war, which will finally dispel a GOT Dany misconception. House of the Dragon’s fiery civil war will finally put a common misconception about Game of Thrones’ Daenerys and the Targaryens’ fire resistance to rest. The magical and supernatural aspects of Game of Thrones have often caused misinterpretations among audiences, with the Targaryens’ true relationship with fire and dragons being one of the most notable errors. Alongside some believing Targaryens are immune to fire, Game of Thrones’ confusing details include Jon Snow’s warging abilities, whether Jon is immune to aging after being resurrected, and if the Night King is responsible for Westeros’ harsh winters. Before HBO’s House of the Dragon prequel, Daenerys Targaryen was the only significant representation of the history of House Targaryen in Game of Thrones. While Game of Thrones would include lore about Targaryens like the Mad King, Rhaegar, and Aegon the Conqueror as well as depictions of Viserys Targaryen and Jon Snow (whose true name is Aegon Targaryen), most of the information gleaned about the Targaryens came from Dany’s character. As such, it’s unsurprising that some of Daenerys’ supernatural miracles were seen as attributable to the entire Targaryen family line rather than simply a one-time miracle.

Game of Thrones’ season 1 finale created such a notable misconception about Daenerys and House Targaryen’s abilities that even George R.R. Martin had to address it, as the situation was critical to Dany’s storyline. Game of Thrones’ season 1 ending sees Daenerys walk into Drogo’s burning funeral pyre holding her dragon eggs, with it at first appearing that Dany has perished. However, once the fire burns out, Daenerys appears unburnt and unharmed, with her dragons officially hatched. Many fans interpreted this scene to mean that Daenerys was immune to fire, with other details seemingly hinting that all Targaryens share this ability. However, Daenerys is not, in fact, resistant to fire, nor are the rest of the Targaryens – a fact that House of the Dragon’s war will prove time and again.

HBO insider revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the network was initially skeptical of Game of Thrones’ franchise potential. Showrunners understood fans’ desire for more stories from Martin’s universe, but according to HBO Executive Vice President of Drama, Francesca Orsi didn’t want “to try and replace Game of Thrones as the most epic show in history.”

Game of Throne’s legacy as a TV giant meant that expanding the universe was somewhat of a gamble for HBO, who in its nearly 40-year history had never made a single spinoff show. Multiple ideas for a Game of Thrones prequel or sequel series were tossed around by writers at HBO, many of which were looking to Disney IPs like Star Wars and Marvel for examples of a successful franchise. From Martin’s numerous books, he, Condal, and HBO executives eventually settled on House of the Dragon for their safest bet to propel Game of Thrones into a franchise. It’s not surprising that the network landed on a Targaryen-centric spinoff, considering casual Game of Thrones fans are already loosely familiar with the family and its history.

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