With prequel Bloodmoon canned, the fate of the TV smash only gets more pitiful. Perhaps its time for HBO to snuff out the world of Westeros altogether
These are testing times for Game of Thrones. After the series ended on an unmistakably damp note, with even its director admitting it was rushed, last week the showrunners put the boot in even more, alienating the core fanbase at a film festival panel. Now comes even worse news: Bloodmoon, the long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel, has been killed, with another spin-off being put to series ahead of it.
Its a big, embarrassing about-face for HBO, who have been pouring millions into wringing more cash out of the Game of Thrones universe. Bloodmoons development was in the advanced stages it had a cast including Naomi Watts, a set, an in-the-can pilot, an audience of eager fans who you suspect would gobble up anything with the Game of Thrones stamp but it wasnt enough.
The most optimistic explanation for its cancellation was that its scope was too big for a single series. Spread across 100 Westerosi kingdoms thousands of years in the past, HBO explained that the series would chronicle the worlds descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour from the horrifying secrets of Westeross history to the true origin of the White Walkers. Which sounds like a big old chunk of history to roll the dice on, not to mention too many opportunities for Starbucks cups to go astray.
But there are other as yet unsubstantiated rumours surrounding its downfall. One tweeter seemed to suggest that the show depicted the Children of the Forest as black humans who were struck by a curse and turned into monsters, while their caucasian colonisers got to remain human, which isnt a terrific look. Then theres the the less exciting explanation; that Bloodmoon just wasnt as good as anyone wanted it to be. Right now, the truth is anyones guess.
Still, it isnt as if this leaves HBO in the lurch. Last January, programming president Casey Bloys teased that he had anywhere from zero to five potential prequels on the boil, which explains why Bloodmoon was so swiftly ditched for the newly announced House of the Dragon.
And, at least on paper, House of the Dragon seems a safer bet. Its about the Targaryens so it has a more tangible connection to Game of Thrones. Its only set hundreds of years before its predecessor, rather than thousands, so it has a more tangible connection to Game of Thrones. Its based on last years book Fire and Blood, so you get the idea. Plus it shares a name with a Glasgow Chinese takeaway, making it more appealing than Bloodmoon, which sounded more like a sustainable menstrual startup than a hit TV series.
But a safer bet isnt always a better bet, and just because House of the Dragon is a more meat-and-potatoes prequel, theres still no guarantee that it be worth the effort. Television is littered with the corpses of unnecessary spinoffs, from Caprica to AfterMASH, Baywatch Nights to Joey. Even successful spinoffs, like Better Call Saul, quiver under the shadow of their parent shows. At this point, with a tainted brand, an irritated fanbase and a pilot thats proved a colossal waste of effort,perhaps the sensible thing would be for HBO to ditch Game of Thrones altogether.