You know you’ve thought about it. “Game of Thrones meets Westworld?” Absolutely. The clock is ticking on HBO’s fantasy epic, and time is running out. As season 7 continues filming and the final battle for the Iron Throne approaches, fans can’t help but wonder what’s next for George R. R. Martin's beloved story.
Enter J.J. Abrams’ and Jonathan Nolan’s Sci-Fi sleeper hit, Westworld. With its intricate narrative web and many secrets, the labyrinthine story has made us wonder: what would happen if Westeros met Westworld? The outlandish scenario first proposed by George R.R. Martin himself presents the best of both worlds: Game of Thrones could effectively continue forever, allowing fan-favorite characters to function as androids, and the Westworld experience would be enhanced by a whole host of tantalizing elements. At the same time, some things are better left alone, unless your name is Bran Stark.
Weighing the positives and the negatives, we answer the most pressing question of our time: should Westworld and Game of Thrones crossover? Here are 9 Reasons They Should, and 6 Reasons They Shouldn’t.
15 Why They Should: Respawning Characters
Ned Stark, this one’s for you. If you have a soul, chances are you never got over the sudden and all-too-final decapitation of the head of Winterfell. He was one of the last great men in Westeros, and his shocking death telegraphed the litany of losses Game of Thrones had in store.
How great would it be to be able to bring Ned back? A merger of Westworld and Westeros would give him infinite opportunities to live out his life in a variety of ways. If Teddy can die thousands of times under the watchful eye of Robert Ford, Ned can live to see another day with his noggin intact. The senior Stark member wouldn’t be the only one to profit from respawning potential in Westeros. His dear son, Robb, would have a second crack at surviving the Red Wedding (as would Lady Catelyn), Ygritte would be able to live out her wilding love loop with Jon Snow, and our favorite bits and pieces from Game of Thrones could be preserved for time immemorial. Where do we sign up?
14 Why They Shouldn't: Arnold Would Unleash the White Walkers
Arnold is out there, and we solemnly swear he’s up to no good. When you type in the phrase, “These violent delights have violent ends,” on DiscoverWestworld.com, you’ll get the cryptic message, “Arnold will come for you.” It’s an undeniably creepy response, and it’s not entirely unfounded. Indeed, many of the hosts are communicating with Arnold, Robert Ford is acting nervous, and Elsie has suddenly disappeared. Someone is destabilizing the safety of the park. Who does that remind you of over in Westeros? Say, the Night's King beyond the wall?
Whoever the true villain of Westworld turns out to be, whether it’s Robert Ford (a likely candidate), the mysterious Wyatt, or Arnold himself, he or she presents a major threat to the fabric of both parks. No insurance company would deign to protect the Westworld/Westeros amalgam, given the nearly infinite number of problems that could arise. If the fire-breathing dragons get loose, or the White Walkers reach total consciousness and enter berserker mode, the park owners will surely have a catastrophe on their hands.
13 Why They Should: Theon Greyjoy Deserves a Nicer "Loop"
Despite the recent twists in the show, there are many enduring mysteries in Westworld. One such question asks why Dolores has been relegated to such a horrific “loop,” considering Ford’s apparent empathy for her. Indeed, some fans theorize that Dolores is an android replica of his long-lost daughter, or someone near and dear to his erstwhile family.
Either way, Dolores does not need to be consigned to violence, death and rape, as she and William have successfully shown in recent episodes. With a Game of Thrones and Westworld crossover, some of George R. R. Martin’s characters will be overjoyed to learn that their truly sadistic loops can be re-written. Chief of all the abused, Theon Greyjoy, will surely benefit from such a merger. Rather than leaving him in the twisted hands of Ramsay Bolton, we could move him to King’s Landing, or better yet, put him somewhere warm and hospitable like Dorne. Though Theon appears to be returning to a semblance of his earlier form, the Westworld/Westeros crossover would help him keep what’s nearest and dearest to his heart.
12 Why They Shouldn't: It Would Be A Legal Bloodbath
Litigation in Hollywood is a constant threat. That’s why everyone in town has a lawyer, and why the constant stream of lawsuits is seldom cause for alarm. Intellectual property deserves to be carefully guarded, but the potentialities for suing on a massive scale would be enhanced with a Westworld/Westeros crossover. HBO has effectively optioned every character and creation in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, so that shouldn't be too problematic. That is, until the day Martin realizes that by building a park out of his own literary vision, he signs away the rights to determining the fate of his characters' stories. Add in the guests, who will definitely meddle with the “loops” and narratives as much as they can (just imagine what some of the crazed GoT fans would accomplish), and HBO will need to lawyer up.
Things get even more complicated when you introduce Michael Crichton’s estate, conflicts with the 1973 Westworld movie, and the bevy of difficulties that may arise from keeping the two worlds separate.
11 Why They Should: Dolores and Daenerys Would Be BFFs
Barring their physical similarities, Dolores and Daenerys have a lot in common. They have both been consigned to a paltry lot in life – Dolores sequestered to a menial existence of death and destruction, and Daenerys sold as a young bride to a warring nation on behalf of her megalomaniac brother. One is an android built to please her father and show affection towards Teddy, while the other has been conditioned to believe her life's purpose is to satisfy Khal Drogo.
Despite these underlying circumstances, both women inherently yearn for something more. They defy their station in life to reach for satisfaction not only on an emotional level, but to a social (if not political) degree as well. The more they understand the potential of their powers, the more ambitious they become. Daenerys strives to take back the Iron Throne, and Dolores seeks to fulfill her life's purpose while (unwittingly or not) finding the entrance to the Westworld maze.
Should the two worlds be united, there’s no question Dolores will be riding shotgun on Daenerys' dragon. (Assuming she isn't already one of the dragon riders herself, of course.)
10 Why They Shouldn't: George R. R. Martin Would Never Finish The Books
If you’re the creator of a world, you'd probably spend every waking minute living in it. Look at how often Robert Ford shares a drink with the hosts or sets out to investigate parts of his immaculate land. Imagine what would happen if George R. R. Martin were in a similar position. His love for the characters and their respective kingdoms runs so deep that he would likely never set pen to paper again. He’d simply be too absorbed in designing the hosts to meet his standards, then ensuring that every ornate detail and house sigil were on point.
Even without the park crossover, it’s been a rough go for George R. R. Martin to keep up with the ever-encroaching deadlines and pressure from HBO. The last thing he needs is a true-life representation of Westeros to halt him from finishing one of the greatest fantasy epics of all time. Stay focused, George! We’re all counting on you.
9 Why They Should: So Jaime Can Get His Hand Back
Jaime Lannister is the ultimate swordsman, and rumor has it he could rival even the famed Ser Arthur Dayne in a duel. While the books make a big deal out of his talents, Game of Thrones has never truly featured Jaime at his fullest potential. It didn’t help that during his time in purgatory, where he was dragged through the woods and humbled by Locke, that he lost his most valued appendage: his right hand, his fighting hand, his reason for living and his claim to fame. This callous slice left Jaime broken and enfeebled in the eyes of Brienne of Tarth (an emotional state that she may or may not have fallen completely in love with).
While we would certainly miss that hair-raising monologue in the baths of House Bolton, the merger of Westworld and Westeros would set Jaime Lannister back on his predestined path of heroism. He would regain his hand and become the fearsome warrior Tywin and Cersei expected him to be. On the other hand (sorry), if Jaime didn’t lose his fist, then he might never have evolved into the empathetic man he's since become. More importantly, without that sensitivity, he wouldn't be prepared to potentially stop Cersei as she most certainly becomes the Mad Queen. The plot thickens.
8 Why They Shouldn't: The Guests Would Choose Westeros
The sobering reality of the Westworld/Westeros merger is that it would spell the eventual demise of the post-war theme park. As enthralling as the late 19th century universe may be, with its authentic towns and sprawling landscapes, the vast majority of visiting guests would leave it behind and jump at the opportunity to live in Westeros.
Thanks to the smash-hit TV show and the support of Martin’s beloved novels, Game of Thrones has the rabid fan base on its side. When seasons seven and eight of GoT end and the new ruler (or rulers?) of Westeros is decided, fans will surely be clamoring for more. HBO has a high-class problem on its hands, given the enthusiasm and support for both shows, but as it stands, Westworld is a temporary distraction from the absence of Game of Thrones. Should the shows crossover, the same allegiances of audience engagement may be reflected in the overall success of the parks.
7 Why They Should: Eternal Justice for Ramsay Bolton and Joffrey
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies in the world’s greatest fantasy mash-up. No, Ramsay Bolton and Joffrey Baratheon will pay a high price for their transgressions. Many have complained that The Purple Wedding death scene wasn’t satisfying enough for audiences, given the many atrocities Joffrey had committed. Never fear, for in a world where Westeros can be accessed like Westworld (though perhaps via a boat on the Narrow Sea and not a train), guests familiar with the tyrant King will be able to exact revenge on behalf of Ros, Sansa, Tyrion, and anyone else that blonde brat has wronged. That’s right, citizen soldiers will have their chance to play the grim reaper.
And how could we forget Ramsay Bolton? We recently learned that his death-by-Jon-Snow-and-hungry-dog was actually toned down for TV. Quelling the rage in his heart, even Jon Snow slowed his roll and allowed Sansa to do the honors to her vile husband. In Westerosi-Westworld, Ramsay would be sentenced to a vicious loop as eternal and unforgiving as hell itself.
6 Why They Shouldn't: It Compromises Their Integrity
However exciting the prospect of a crossover may be, a fatal flaw exists in the plan. By uniting Westworld with Westeros, the fictional integrity of both worlds are compromised. There’s a purity to the narrative of Daenerys Targaryen, and the history behind R+L=J, so why dare to mess with that? As much as we love Teddy, Dolores and Bernard, they may be best served in the sanctity of their own reality.
Indeed, the success of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy world lies in the audience’s emotional investment. We have wept at the Red Wedding and suffered panic attacks during the Battle of the Bastards, so any attempt at undercutting those scenes would be a disservice to the years of blood, sweat, and tears poured into the success of the show. Westworld is still very much in its infancy, but it’s clear that J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have created a very special piece of entertainment. Just as Robert Ford wants the Delos executives to keep their paws off his project, we think HBO is probably best served to keep their offspring apart until they’re much older.
5 Why They Should: Because Varys is Basically A Host
Bernard Lowe, meet Varys, the Master of Whisperers. Doesn’t it seem like a great match? After much anticipation and prognostication, we recently learned that the right-hand man of Robert Ford is an android after all. Bernard Lowe had been fed a whole host (apologies again) of fictional backstories to keep him operating as the lackey and sentinel that he truly is. “It doesn’t look like anything to me,” Bernard states just minutes before beating his ex-girlfriend into the afterlife.
Doesn’t this remind you of Varys? Sure, the court eunuch has seemingly never physically hurt a fly -- save for that sorceror who maimed him as a boy of course -- but, like Bernard, he is the eyes and ears of King’s Landing (and the whole of Westeros, for that matter). His loyalties have yet to be objectively disclosed, but being the master meddler that he is, Varys has his hands in everything. Indeed, he would be an extraordinary android to have in the Game of Thrones park, a host with incredible intuition and savvy, not unlike the cunning Maeve. Rest assured, an android Varys wouldn’t take long to gain the full benefits of the bicameral mind, becoming like the Westerosi version of Arnold as he manipulates everyone to achieve his own political ends.
4 Why They Shouldn't: Jaqen H’ghar Would Just Mess Everything Up
Does anyone even miss this guy? He may have saved Arya Stark a few times, but Jaqen proved to be an Indian-giving sadist who employs total monsters in the form of The Waif. While Mr. H'ghar still has time to redeem himself in the coming seasons, he’s currently on our watch list. Just imagine what this guy would do in the Westworld/Westeros crossover. He would be a massive troublemaker, and what’s more, given his power over death and dark magic, he’d be totally unrecognizable. With technicians like Elsie desperate to track him down, Jaqen could hide anywhere he wanted and blend in with the guests as he wears the faces of his latest victims.
To play devil’s advocate, Jaqen may actually fit right in with Dr. Ford’s weird science. After all, the co-creator of Westworld has a wall of faces not dissimilar to the Hall of Faces. As the adage goes, Ford should keep his friends close and his Jaqen H'ghars closer.
3 Why They Should: To Battle White Walkers, Duh
We’ve watched the Man in Black and Teddy encounter some strange people in Westworld. The more they move away from Sweetwater, the greater the park becomes. The same principles apply to Game of Thrones, where setting foot outside your respective kingdom could lead to irreversible consequences. And even if you stay put, the odds are that something explosive will happen within the city (hi, Cersei!). And if that doesn’t happen, winter is coming anyway, and history will repeat itself.
Wildings have fought White Walkers, as has Jon Snow, but their efforts only get us so far. By uniting the two worlds, guests would have the unique opportunity to pick up their dragon-glass blades and seek out the Others north of the Wall. It would be all-out war, an escape into the unknown, and a risk that presents a legitimate safety threat to guests themselves. Fighting White Walkers would be like venturing to the Pariah village in Westworld, where the consequences seem more lasting, more real, and more violent than ever.
2 Why They Should: A Maelstrom of Meta
When the news broke that seasons seven and eight of Game of Thrones would be heavily truncated, fans wept. For more than half a decade, George R. R. Martin’s imagination has been a major part of our annual entertainment diet, and we simply don’t want to live in a world without the Starks, the Lannisters, and the Targaryens.
Easy solution, HBO: bring Westeros next door to Westworld, and thank us later. Imagine the sheer meta-ness of it all, where patrons of Robert Ford’s park take a break from icy Winterfell and discuss the happenings in and around Westeros over a cold beer. After winning a shootout at the local saloon, Westworld guests sip on scotch and talk about who should sit on the Iron Throne. Unlike armchair athletes of our world, however, these patrons can actually head to Westeros and affect change themselves. It’s the ultimate cross-pollination possible, where the two parks feed off of one another and perpetuate their evolution.
1 Why They Should: Perfect Timing for the Prequel Series
In the crypt below Winterfell, we caught a fleeting glimpse of the famed Lyanna Stark. On the far side of the wall, we’ve watched Bran greensee into past, present, and future. The histories of Westeros have piqued our fancy, but they still remain the stuff of legend. Imagine getting to interact with these backstories and investigate them as guests, free from the scripted restraints of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (whose work has been incredible, but let's be real, Pinocchio is at his best without strings).
The good news is that the Game of Thrones prequel series is alive and well in the HBO boardrooms and meetings. George R. R. Martin himself has expressed interest in keeping Westeros in the public eye, and his legion of fans are already clamoring for its debut. How perfect, then, to build the Game of Thrones and Westworld crossover right as the history of Westeros receives total expansion. The time is now.
What are your thoughts on a Westeros/Westworld crossover? Let us know in the comments!
Westworld continues next Sunday at 9pm on HBO.