Egged On

HBO Reportedly Mulling 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Series

Reports are swirling that HBO may be in talks with George R.R. Martin for a Game of Thrones prequel, but HBO refuses to comment on the possibility of a Dunk and Egg series.

HBO/Helen Sloan

Game of... Dunk and Egg?

It's no secret that HBO's fantasy drama Game of Thrones—which returns for a third season on Sunday, March 31—may overtake George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, at the rate that the author is writing the massive multiple-volume book series. Martin is hard at work on Book 6, currently entitled The Winds of Winter, of his magnum opus but it's possible that the HBO series could catch up or even pass Martin, even with the third book being split into two seasons.

So what is a pay cable network to do when the underlying source material might not be ready for adaptation? While executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have allegedly been given advance plot details about the final novels, in the event that Martin should die before he could complete them, there may be a potential stopgap measure in the works, according to Martin.

In a recent interview with IGN, Martin said he has been in talks with HBO about possibly developing a prequel series for Game of Thrones, which would revolve around his Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas, which are set roughly 90 years before the start of the HBO series (and the first novel, A Game of Thrones).

"We have been playing with the idea of doing those as prequels," Martin told IGN. "They would be prequels in a sense [as] they're a hundred years earlier but in the same world. They're somewhat lighter in tone than the main series, a little more adventurous. But my fans love them and I love the two characters too, and it all ties into Westeros history."

Martin's comments to IGN come about a month after Martin made a similar announcement on his own blog about the possibility of further shows set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire as part of his development deal with HBO. ("Dunk and Egg are being discussed," he wrote.)

To date, Martin has published three Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas—The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight—and allegedly has ideas for "nine or 10 others" as well. These works revolve around Dunk, who will one day become a member of the Kingsguard, and Egg, a.k.a. Aegon Targaryen, the future king of Westeros and the ancestor of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). According to Martin's novels, Aegon dies in a fire at Summerhall, one of the Targaryen homes, while trying to hatch dragon eggs.

Other series have attempted to stave off continuing a narrative (due to outside circumstances) with a prequel: Starz's Spartacus aired a prequel season, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, between Seasons 1 and 2 after the show's lead, the late actor Andy Whitfield, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

But there's no telling when—or if—any of Martin's plans to bring The Tales of Dunk and Egg would come to fruition, or if talks between Martin and HBO are just that: preliminary talks. Particularly as an HBO spokesperson, reached by The Daily Beast via email, could not confirm the report.