Game of Thrones was one of the most successful series ever to hit American TV. The mysterious fantasy world, epic battles, and, more importantly, intriguing political plots made the show an instant success. Fans and critics loved it, and despite costing between $6 million and $15 million for each episode to be produced, the series was a success. So much so that, despite its controversial ending, the spin-off prequel title House of the Dragon is about to be released, even with a much higher budget.
The show in fact became so famous that it invaded other forms of media. The series was adapted into a celebrated graphic adventure from renowned studio Telltale Games, and a turn-based strategy mobile game called Beyond the Wall. Its influence can also be seen in the Gala Bingo Slingo section where the game Fire and Ice sits front and center, heavily influenced by Westeros, right down to its soundtrack. The show also motivated studios to release games that included locations, mythological creatures, and political intrigue clearly inspired by the show, something that can be observed in titles like Dragon’s Dogma and, of course, Elden Ring.
Despite its dominance in popular culture, eventually, the series ran out of steam, due to a poorly written (and possibly rushed) ending. However, fans of the franchise still crave the complex fantasy politics, personal drama, and massive battles featured in the show.
Sadly for them, the publication of the next book in the series has been postponed repeatedly. There’s also a prequel TV show that takes place a long time before the events depicted in GoT took place and the main characters were even born, making it easier for fans of the early sessions to connect with it. However, House of the Dragon is still months from release. So, in order to satisfy their need for this type of content, it might not be a bad idea to consider watching one of the following films.
Seven Kings Must Die
In 2015 BBC released an epic and tragically underrated historical series titled The Last Kingdom. The series tells the story of Uhtred Ragnarsson, a descendant of Saxon noblemen from what is known today as Northern England. However he is adopted by a Danish family and raised as one of their own. The series follows his journey to re-conquer his land, while he tries to overcome religious and political conflict brewing between the different factions populating the land, and surviving epic battles to gain people’s trust. The excellently written series has five seasons but will end with a Netflix-produced movie to be released in early 2023. The film will adapt the final books of the Bernard Cornwell series, and provide a much-deserved epilogue to the critically acclaimed show. Despite being originally a five season show, producer Nigel Marchant has assured fans that the film will be enjoyable even for people who have not watched a single episode of The Last Kingdom.
One of the factors that kept audiences tuning in for each new episode of Game of Thrones was the constantly shifting alliances and progressive plots to take over the kingdom. Treacherous schemes to eliminate the King of the North or trying to figure out which faction would be the one ending the Lannister’s reign in King’s Landing were some of the reasons people couldn’t stop watching the show. Interestingly, characters using subterfuge to protect their loved ones and complex plots to replace entire clans in powerful positions are also the center of Denis Villeneuve’s Sci-fi epic Dune, a project he had been planning since childhood. The remake also offers outstanding performances by Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson, who deliver subtle but powerful performances. It was also met with excellent reviews, praising the film’s fidelity to the source material, while also providing an engaging story. In addition, Dune is only the first film of the franchise, building a world and characters that will take center stage in Dune: Chapter Two, to be released in 2023.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf
Nightmare of the Wolf. It’s an original Netflix movie made by companies like Studio Mir and Platige image, this last one famous for the celebrated cinematics used in The Witcher 3 game. The story revolves around a younger version of Geralt’s mentor Vesemir who has to uncover a mystery threatening humans, witchers, and mages. Given that this is an animated movie, it is much easier to build a sense of scale and fill the story with magic and monsters that not only accurately reflect The Witcher’s world, but that would also satisfy fans of Game of Thrones. Forbes states that Nightmare of the Wolf adds depth to the universe of the Witcher, by adding important back stories like the dangerous process that turns children into witchers. Political intrigue and its potentially terrible consequences are also an essential component of the story, which definitely shows how much of Netflix’s adaptation takes from George R.R. Martin’s series.
Game of Thrones was, undoubtedly, a massive success. Before the series ended, it had influenced popular culture so much that it was impossible not to find additional content, like graphic adventures, slot games heavily influenced by Westeros, and even board games. Today, it might be hard to see official games and merchandise, but the show’s impact was so big that it changed the audience’s taste, opening a market for stories that combine political intrigue, personal struggle, and epic battles. The good news is that there are plenty of movies that offer fans exactly that, allowing them to satisfy their desire for more engaging stories until the next book or show is released.
Main image credit: HBO’s House of the Dragon.