Certainly, all the variables, at the least on paper, pointed to an auspicious method for carrying out the bold goal of showcasing a fantastical story. Set throughout the historic “Age of Heroes,” the story would turn out to be relegated to Westerosi legend—as briefly teased on the primary collection in Bran Stark’s warg-induced flashbacks—concerning the origin of the Kids of the Forest, and the vengeful member of the First Males who would turn out to be the Evening King and unleash the white walkers and an undead military of wights throughout the Lengthy Evening, a interval of perennial darkness throughout the recognized world. Furthermore, with its period set round 8,000 years earlier than the primary collection, the prequel would have operated in a model of Westeros that—in an arguably refreshing method—is unrecognizable to followers. The truth is, in 2019, Martin himself teased a chaotic dynamic resulting from a setting full of 100 separate “petty kingdoms,” though assured the presence of direwolves and white walkers.
Nevertheless, based mostly on Greenblatt’s feedback, the pilot didn’t appear to evoke the Recreation of Thrones branding in a robust sufficient method to justify its existence. It’s an comprehensible notion, given the undertaking’s clear detachment from most acquainted and iconic components from the primary collection. Whereas hardcore followers could be excited to see a radically totally different, practically-prehistoric model of Westeros, the bigger demographic of informal watercooler viewers would probably wrestle to make significant connections. Moreover, with the primary collection having already performed out the specter of the Evening King in his try to recreate the Lengthy Evening and conquer Westeros, beginning with Winterfell, such stakes could be a tough promote. Plus, some theorists imagine that the duo of Clarkson and Goldman took the traditional setting—and its legendary standing in Martin’s lore—as a license to take the collection in unproductively anachronistic instructions that might have additional alienated the collection from the sacred small display continuity and its literary supply materials.
Regardless, upon the 2019 completion of the exorbitant pilot, HBO rapidly impaled it with a proverbial dragonglass dagger, shattering its collection hopes to items. “So, we sadly determined to drag the plug on it,” defined Greenblatt. “There was monumental stress to get it proper and I don’t suppose that might have labored.” Nevertheless, from what was, in hindsight, an egregiously expensive mistake, got here a brand new prequel technique that may lastly bear the fruit that’s Home of the Dragon. Whereas its 200-years-past setting relegates the collection to historical past, it should nonetheless be a contemporary story within the context of the mythos, centered on the travails of Targaryens, Starks and sure, even these rattling Lannisters, in acquainted settings, with drama that’s extra instantly related to the primary collection. Furthermore, HBO executives opted to train persistence by choosing a undertaking that works and greenlighting it as a collection, reasonably than blow $30 million on an untested idea. But, it’s a lesson that needed to be twice-learned, since Recreation of Thrones famously deserted its underwhelming unique pilot.