Game of Thrones ENDS in 5 weeks—here’s what to watch next


Here we are, at the precipice of the season 8 premiere and the first new episode of Game of Thrones since August 27, 201 and the fervor is at an all-time high. Unlike some television series, GOT’s ratings have continued to climb with each successive season, and demand has only continued to grow with the 20-month delay.

I signed up for HBO this morning in order to ensure I could watch it live and not risk any slight detail being spoiled by the inevitable maelstrom of mouth running and internet news to follow. Friends begged off Sunday plans because the entire day has been reserved for the phenomena–people proving unwilling to risk anything infringing upon their Thrones experience. There’s no way they’ll miss it because the car broke down or because they had to help with their kid’s homework! They’re not driving today and they gave the kids up for adoption.

But believe it or not, despite the wait and the anticipation (and the continued lack of books), GOT will end, for good, on May 19, 2019. That means you’re only getting a short and sweet return to the series before its ultimate goodbye. And it means a lot of us are going to be going into serious epic fantasy withdrawal way too soon after getting another taste. With that in mind, here’s an update on everything that’s coming to fulfill that particular itch. Please allow me to apologize in advance that there are no known release dates for any of these projects as yet—we’ll update you when that changes.

The Lord of the Rings

Probably the best-known fantasy series outside of Game of Thrones the original Lord of the Rings film trilogy broke ground for fantasy in film and television in ways you might not even appreciate. In fact, I’d wager to say that GOT might not have been possible if not for the massive success of the LOTR film franchise. Lucky for us, fictional assets aren’t like real ones: there’s always more to mine from the mountain!

Why you should care …

Back at the conclusion of 2017, Amazon won a massive bidding war for the television rights to the LOTR franchise to the tune of $250 million. Then, world’s most eligible bachelor Jeff Bezos hefted his crotch and earmarked another quarter billion to produce the first two seasons of the series.

Originally, speculative rumor-mongering concluded that the series would focus on a young Aragon. Sure, it’s a safe route, and not untried, but boring. We know where that story is headed already. Most recently, details from Amazon’s own social media accounts have hinted that the series might take back much further in JRR Tolkien’s fictional world. This means, we’re getting totally new territory, totally new characters, and largely, a story that will be new to all but the most wizened of Tolkien scribes. In other words, yes, precious!

Filming appears to be set to begin this summer in Scotland while the release date is still unknown, but you can bet your Amazon stock that they’re rushing to fill the GOT market share void as much as anyone else.

Game of Thrones

Like I said, there’s always more to mine from the mountain. Did you think HBO would just up and let their tentpole franchise die? Hell no! Much like LOTR, GOT has a massive fictional history and worlds of other stories to tell. At one point, as many as five different prequel or spinoff series seemed to be in development at HBO. Few details are known other than the fact that HBO execs are going to beat the fucking shit out of that dead milk cow/horse/beast. Mixing analogies totally appropriate. 

Why you should care …

It’s Game of Thrones. This is what spawned this entire conversation. We want more. The people demand it. The only problem? HBO’s parent company Time Warner was just bought by behemoth AT&T and AT&T is busy trying to compete with Netflix in the volume media game. This means there are massive changes happening both publicly and behind the scenes and decision-making processes are almost certainly changing. The next GOT might not be made to the same exacting standards as what we’re used to. And the acquisition might delay development on these projects. Then again, we really have no idea what we’ll get, but we should be getting something more. 


The Kingkiller Chronicles

Patrick Rothfuss’s purported trilogy currently consists of two novels (and a companion book) that center around Kvothe, an arrogant young man with a penchant for music and magic. The novels do borrow from other fantasy canon, but Rothfuss’s voice is unique and he’s crafted a character that’s the right blend of anime-can’t-be-beat-must-get-stronger hero and sympathetic wiseass with a way of getting things done that must be admired.

In 2017, Showtime announced it had picked up the rights to an adaptation for television while Movies Anywhere holdout and baby-haters Lionsgate was optioning the books for film. Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is creating a musical score to span both worlds. Showtime’s story was rumored to begin a generation before the events of Rothfuss’s first novel, The Name of the Wind (think Black Sails before Treasure Island), leaving plenty of room for story development, creative license and more seasons.

Why you should care …

Kvothe is a rule-breaker by nature. He’s like a too-wise-for-his years Harry Potter at a Hogwarts where Harry tells Professor McGonagall and Snape to go fuck themselves. Oh, and magic, or sympathy in this world, can be linked to blood. Kvothe gets dark.

 The Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan began publishing his sprawling epic fantasy novels back in 1990, six years before A Game of Thrones hit bookstores, and he kept writing, consistently, up until his death in 2007. At the time, he’d been writing the twelfth and planned final book in the series, but fortunately, he left extensive notes on how to complete the series. His wife sought the help of author and longtime WOT fan Brandon Sanderson to complete the book, which ended up being three.

Sony acquired the rights to produce the series back in April of 2017 and since then Amazon Studios has come onboard for distribution. As I’ve previously expounded upon, this series deserves to be done by a premium distribution channel—someone with deep pockets who won’t water down the violence or censor the elements of the series that make it just as graphic and shocking as GOT ever was. Well, no one has deeper pockets than Amazon—and they’ve proved they have the gall to go where basic cable and network won’t.

Why you should care …

There are 14 books! And this author made sure to leave enough information and plans in motion before his death to complete the story! If you’ve felt some stories were stretched, or that certain television runs went stale as writers had to take liberties filling in for gaps in the original material, this story will allay all fears. These books takes human motivations and unfurls all their complications and pits them against one another through a cast of hundreds of characters: even when the end of the world draws near, people are going to try to get theirs. It will make you rethink what the people around you want. Oh, and all while immersed in a world with magic (the one power) and orcs (trollocs) and a Sauron like figure (Shai’tan). And, have I mentioned Matrim Cauthon? 

The Black Company

Ten books worth of fantasy wizardry comprise the material detailing the annals of the Black Company, a band of legendary mercenaries at loose in a world filled with magic and mayhem. Told from the perspective of a defacto grunt rather than a hero, this series will envelop you in its soldiers’ ethos and language. Highly recommended for fun, light reading, this series also doesn’t have a proclaimed home, yet, but expect it to soon, and pray that it’s done right. There’s a lot of potential here to show you the violent side of magic and medieval warfare that doesn’t get caught up in the details of how or why it works, only that it is.

IMDB is now listing this as a television movie rather than a series, which is disheartening. While the first Black Company book is condensed enough to be made into a single film, there’s a lot to try to unpack in such a short time and it would almost definitely be better served as a miniseries or full-blown counterpart.

Why you should care …

Eliza Dushku, aka Buffy‘s ‘Faith’ and David S. Goyer (BladeThe Dark KnightMan of Steel) are developing. With these two at the helm, I expect great things. And with a different angle than its competitors, this series could fill a niche successfully.


The Chronicles of Narnia

Netflix got their piece of the proverbial fantasy pie (or scrambled to grab crumbs, depending on how you look at it) in October last year when they announced they’d bought the rights to a multi-year deal with The C.S. Lewis Company to develop television series and films. 

Why you should care …

This is the original fantasy series, predating LOTR by four years. No one has ever given this beloved franchise the full treatment it deserves. While 2005’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film was well-made, it’s still a movie, and as such, by its very nature, is a condensed version of the book its adapting. A television series could do for this franchise what HBO did for GOT: bring it to the next level. Not only that, but this commitment probably speaks to a higher degree of certainty that the franchise will progress beyond three films (as happened last time). Remember, the book series is seven tombs long. A big money commitment and overarching agreement from Netflix likely means we’ll see more of this world brought to life in fine detail than ever before.