Game of Thrones may have come to a (disappointing) end, but that doesn't mean that HBO is done with this universe - and the spinoffs have the chance to learn from the mistakes made by the original show. Multiple prequels are currently in development at the network, and for now it seems that the focus is on going backwards in time.
The first prequel to get a pilot order is currently titled Bloodmoon, although this may be a working title. Previously assumed to be developed under the title The Long Night, Bloodmoon takes place around 8,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones, set during the Age of Heroes and exploring the fall into the Long Night, when Westeros was consumed by ice and darkness.
Recently, reports came in that a second prequel was about to get the green light. This has no working title, but it said to be set only 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, and is going to focus on the history of House Targaryen. While there is plenty of speculation about what particular part of the story will be covered, it's likely to be either Aegon's Conquest or the Dance of Dragons. Other prequels are also still in the development stage, and whether all or none actually make it to the small screen, it will be a chance for fans to revisit this world - and for HBO to learn from past mistakes.
The Story Mistakes Game Of Thrones Made
While there's little doubt that Game of Thrones was an incredibly popular series, there's also little doubt that many fans were less than thrilled about how it ended. While the early season were beautifully written, the final seasons became increasingly rushed, sloppy, and problematic. One of the biggest issues here seems to be that the source material ran out, as George R.R. Martin has not yet finished his A Song Of Ice And Fire saga. Without the books to rely on, the complex storylines that fans loved dried up, and were replaced by a significantly simpler narrative.
Some characters were simply killed off or abandoned when there was nothing left to do with them. Littlefinger got one of the most disappointing deaths of the series (with some believing that he must have faked it, and would return to the show before the end). Varys, despite being a main character for multiple seasons, was killed off with almost no fanfare, and other characters seemed to just... disappear. And while major character deaths were actually a good thing in the early seasons, when given enough weight (the show just wouldn't be the same without the shocking death of Ned Stark!), by the end of the series half the cast seemed to be wearing hastily thrown-together plot armor.
In addition, the show had a few other problems from the start - not least of which was the portrayal of sexual violence and the way that female characters were developed. Rape scenes were plentiful, and few of them really added much to the plot. In addition, many of the scenes of sexual violence focused on the male characters and perpetrators, and in season 8 Sansa implied that she was glad she'd been raped because it had made her strong. While there's no doubt that Game of Thrones was always going to be a series steeped in violence, many of these scenes could have been handled better.
Finally, many plotlines seemed to fizzle out by the end, or simply not get the attention that they deserved after seasons of build up. Fans were unimpressed when Arya, after years of training as a Faceless Man, got back to Westeros and stopped swapping faces. The White Walkers and the sacrificed babies were vanquished in a single battle, the dragons seemed suddenly incredibly easy to kill, the Direwolves were wildly underused, and even the battle for King's Landing seemed over far too quickly. All in all, as the show progressed, it seemed to rush to the finish line (perhaps so that showrunners D&D could move on to new things) - and Game of Thrones deserved better.
Game Of Thrones Prequels Can Fix Those Issues
Thankfully, the prequels won't have many of these issues to deal with - and that's because George R.R. Martin has already written the stories that will be explored. Fire and Blood is the most detailed look at the history of Westeros, but it's far from the only extra writing that Martin has done about the events leading up to Game of Thrones. The World Of Ice And Fire covers the entire history of Westeros (albeit in less detail), including the characters, bloodlines, feuds, and battles. For prequels, therefore, writers will be adapting complete stories, not having to work from the notes of a half-finished series. It's also possible that prequels will be designed to be a specific number of seasons from the start, to tell the story in the best-paced way.
While the issues of the stories themselves can be solved by more extensive (and finished) source material - what about the issues of sexual violence? While these are not quite so straightforward to fix, HBO will be aware of the way that fans felt about them, and hopefully make a sincere effort to change those from the start. Strong female characters have been promised (although Game of Thrones certainly had those, too), and the fact that they are being mentioned from the start suggests that the prequels will be more thoughtful about how the women are written. Dragons and Direwolves, too, were such major disappointments in the original series that a new series, learning from the previous one, would hopefully set aside enough of the budget to do these mythical creatures justice.
A Game Of Thrones Sequel Could Also Avoid Past Mistakes
While a prequel seems to have the most likelihood of easily sidestepping the issues Game of Thrones had, by delving into the rich (complete) story history Martin has created, that's not to say that a sequel would be incapable of learning from those mistakes as well. There are plenty of options for spin-offs, and while an Arya Stark seems to be the current fan-favorite, it is far from the only option.
Although a sequel would have essentially no source material to draw on, that may actually be something that works out better than only having half the story already written. Whereas Game of Thrones had to try and guess where Martin was going, and finish plot threads that he started, a sequel could be written from scratch by people with a vision of how the whole thing would come together.
Whether or not the prequels do manage to learn from Game of Thrones' mistakes remains to be seen, though - and any bookworm knows that even the most detailed source material doesn't necessarily lead to a perfect on-screen adaptation. However, with a devoted fanbase and a map of where things went wrong, it would seem hopeful for the newest series taking place in this universe.