'Game of Thrones' prequels are about new characters, author says

George R.R. Martin also says the show list is up to five, and don't expect to see two of the plots readers are longing for.

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Gael Cooper
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The eventual new "Game of Thrones" shows will be prequels to the HBO show's current setting.


George R.R. Martin, author of the books that inspired HBO's hit fantasy series "Game of Thrones," revealed some details about the new related shows announced last week -- and he doesn't want fans calling them "spinoffs." Martin posted a lengthy update on his website Sunday night addressing the news.

Here's the short version, since we all have dragons to hatch and kingdoms to conquer:

Five, not four
"We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five," Martin wrote. He's keeping the fifth writer's name under wraps, only to say that, "He's a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe (Westeros.org creators) Elio (Garcia) and Linda (Antonsson), I don't know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does." Martin also said that though early reports were that he himself was working directly with two of the first writers, he's actually working with all of them.

New characters, and set in the past
"We are not talking 'Joey' or 'AfterMASH' or even ('Frasier') or 'Lou Grant,' where characters from one show continue on to another," Martin wrote. "So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros."

They're prequels, but don't call them that
You'd expect a writer like Martin to be persnickety about terminology, and so he is. "Rather than 'spinoff' or 'prequel,' however, I prefer the term 'successor show,'" he wrote.

No Robert's Rebellion, no Dunk and Egg
Robert's Rebellion, of course, refers to Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon and Jon Arryn's rebellion against House Targaryen, a year-long fight that put Baratheon in power and eventually led to the events of the book and TV series. Dunk and Egg are other Martin characters, a hedge knight and his squire, who have their own stories taking place a century before the current books. Martin said when he's done writing all his tales of Dunk and Egg, he'd love for them to have a show, and that Robert's Rebellion will be explained in the current book series when (if...) he finishes. "Feel free to makes your (new show plot) guesses, if you like ... but I am not going to be confirming or denying anything, so don't expect replies," he warns. (Personally, I'd still like that Dothraki deep dive, but we shall see.)

But what about the next book?
Martin knows what fans really are longing to hear -- that he has a completed manuscript for the sixth novel in the series, "The Winds of Winter" -- but don't bet your castle on it.

"And yes, before someone asks, I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it's done," Martin writes. "I will confess, I do wish I could clone myself, or find a way to squeeze more hours into the day, or a way to go without sleep. But this is what it is, so I keep on juggling."

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