Say it with me now: may the Jon Snow spin-off help fans heal from the Season 8 disaster!
With that brief incantation out of the way, let’s get to our discussion of the Game of Thrones spin-off and how it could potentially remedy the final season. Although it’s a bit of a long-shot to hope for the spin-off to rewrite the entire ending, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to hope for a rekindling of the show’s prestige in a new story.
In channeling that sort of hope, here are 8 ideas on how the spin-off can potentially make amends with fans after the universally abhorred Season 8.
1. Bye Bran
The lovely Tweet below finds levity in one of the greatest fan grievances: Bran’s inexplicable appointment as King of the
Seven Six Kingdoms. Sure, it’s cool that he’s the Three-Eyed Raven and all, but it was so out of left field to randomly vote him in to serve as King.
Though many fans spent the majority of the series rooting for Jon to make his merry way to the Iron Throne (he is, as Aegon Targaryen, the official heir), this ideal replacement has become a bit of a pipe dream. In regards to the throne, Jon said, “I don’t want it” so many darn times! (I was always plugging my ears, though). If the spin-off wants to remedy the finale, I think step one is to give Bran the boot and let Jon return from exile.
2. The Lore of the True North
If the spin-off focus remains centered on a new adventure beyond the wall in the “True North,” there would have to be some meat to the story. Though we’ve learned through flashbacks about the creation of the Night King, there is a lot that remains shrouded in mystery about Wildling history and the wintry expanse beyond the wall. Therefore, I think it plausible that the spin-off could concoct an intriguing plot that ties to the Lands of Always Winter, which is largely unexplored…
3. Arya Reappears
Though she deserves a spin-off of her own, I, like most fans, would love to see Arya reunite with Jon again. If it’s not asking too much, I also would want to see her reprise her vigilante-esque activities, using her ability to change faces acquired by training with the Faceless Men. In theory, Arya’s already fully avenged her family (though she didn’t get to kill Cersei). But in the sprawling world of Westeros and beyond, there are always villains, con artists, false prophets, and more lurking about.
4. Flashbacks To The Rescue
Flashbacks might really be the saving grace for a spin-off if the showrunners wish to establish a satisfying amount of continuity or story parallels. In the original show, one of the most important storytelling points involved flashbacks (per Bran, as the Three Eyed-Raven). Namely, that of young Ned Stark and Howland Reed at the Tower of Joy. Through that glimpse into the past, we eventually learned Jon’s true identity. Given how universally beloved Ned Stark was in GOT, I think it would be interesting to explore Jon’s character arc in parallel with his long-assumed father (real-life uncle). Especially that which surrounds the vital quote, “love is the death of duty,” which played a huge role in Jon’s journey.
5. King Beyond The Wall
This idea somewhat coincides with number two on this list. With Jon accompanying the Freefolk, including his good pal, Tormund, perhaps it is his destiny to be the new King Beyond The Wall. Just because the White Walkers are gone doesn’t confirm that there aren’t other obstacles that need to be subdued for the sake of protecting the livelihood of the Free Folk. For instance, what happened to the rest of the unruly, murderous Thenns?
6. Let George Take The Reigns
George R.R. Martin is a busy man, but he seldom leaves a GOT-related project untouched. Given his production efforts adjacent to House of the Dragon and the in-the-works animated projects, Martin remains the key leading voice for this fantastical world of his creation. Although I desperately want Martin to stay home and finish writing The Winds of Winter, I also think his consistent creative input and direction for a GOT sequel is vital. With original showrunner duo (David and Dan) gone, I hope there will be a fresh new discussion about storytelling for the long-haul – something Martin surely has spent ages thinking about in trying to finish writing the books.
7. Remedying The Many Half-Hearted, Elusive Endings
There is a hefty list of character endings in Season 8 that just felt so vague, rushed, and plain unsatisfying. Hence, if the spin-off wanted to play damage control for the many letdowns of the finale, they would ideally look to revive some of the beloved characters. A short list of which may include Brienne, Sansa, Arya, Gendry, Tyrion, Samwell, Yara, Davos, and Meera Reed. Bringing back familiar faces besides Jon Snow seems crucial if the spin-off wants to swiftly establish that strong fan connection once again.
8. Bring Dany Back
Okay, I know this last one is a bit of a long shot. Emilia Clarke has made it pretty clear that she’s done with her role as Daenerys. However, that can’t stop us fans from dreaming! Ever since her death in the Season 8 finale, there have been strong (and pretty convincing) fan theories about how Drogon carried her body off to be resuscitated by one of the Red Priestesses (much like what happened to Jon Snow). However, if Clarke is ready to move on, us fans will have to begrudgingly approach a different GOT vision surrounding the spin-off.
Altogether, I know many of us want to block out that Season 8 trauma altogether- perhaps even pretend it never happened! However, for the sake of the spin-off, I’ve found it helpful to try and dive back in to the world of Westeros and see where that magic of the original show could be rekindled. I think it’s plausible (but not guaranteed), so here’s to crossing our fingers and hoping for the best!
For more speculation on this major GOT development, check out this recent article on 5 things we would want to see for Jon Snow in the spin-off.