Game Of Thrones: A Pirate Arya Spinoff Would Answer Big Questions (& Fix Problems)
A Game of Thrones spinoff focusing on Arya Stark’s adventures would answer many lingering questions from the series finale. While the flagship series is now over, the world of Game of Thrones isn’t done yet. Not only are there still a couple of books to come in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, but there are multiple spinoffs in the works as well, and one focusing on Arya Stark and her new journey would be the perfect next step for HBO.
George R.R. Martin recently revealed three spinoffs are still in development, although it’s unlikely that this many will actually be created. The majority are likely to be prequels, set many years before the original show, and fans have theorized that anything from the Targaryen conquest to the Doom of Valyria could be in the cards. However, focusing one spinoff on Arya Stark would help answer some major questions that fans have after the finale (and have had for quite a while), as well as fixing some of the issues that saw Game of Thrones‘ ending as a bit of a disappointment.
Arya Could Continue The Game Of Thrones Story (Without Doing The Same Thing)
While it’s been said that the spinoffs will focus on prequel material, fans still want to see what’s happening with the world and characters that they have grown to love over the past decade. Continuing the main story in Westeros makes no sense, however, as the core story has conclusively ended. Attempting a prequel that simply keeps the story going would do more harm than good. However, through an Arya spinoff, fans could get a few updates on how Bran’s rule is going, because, presumably, Arya would still be able to keep in occasional touch with her royal siblings thanks to ravens, messengers, and even just rumors. Rumors may also bring some knowledge of the situation in Slaver’s Bay since Daenerys left – especially as these bays are a favorite stopping point for the ships that Arya may make contact with. She may even be able to discover where Drogon went when he flew off with Daenerys’ body, or discover other dragons in distant lands.
Arya, Nymeria, And The Pirate Queens Of A Song Of Ice And Fire
Arya is also far from the first woman of this world to take to the seas, and there are fantastic parallels to be explored in a story like this. A spinoff could even combine flashbacks to one or more of the other women who have become captains, corsairs, and pirates in the long history of this world – blending past and present, and keeping a spinoff show truly female-focused.
Nymeria, of course, is the most famous of these women; and the show’s decision to end Arya’s story the way it did is a perfect reference to her childhood heroine (who her direwolf was named after). Nymeria was a Princess of the Rhoynar who became famous after the Dragonlords of Valyria attacked her home. Rather than submit, she fled to the Summer Isles, before gathering a thousand ships and sailing to Dorne, which at the time was far from a united kingdom. Allying herself with House Martell, she was able to unite Dorne, conquer the smaller kings, and rule as Princess (choosing not to use the title Queen, but go with the Rhoynish title instead).
Lady Elissa Farman is another famous seafarer of Westerosi history, and she’s the woman who may have had a hand in spiriting away the dragon eggs that eventually ended up with Daenerys. Obsessed with sailing since her childhood on the Fair Isle, Elissa’s brother married Princess Rhaena Targaryen, and the two women became inseparable friends. However, Elissa’s love of exploration of the sea was the end of their closeness – after Rhaena refused to pay for Elissa to build a ship and explore the Sunset Sea (and discover what is west of Westeros), Elissa ended up leaving on her own, stealing three dragon eggs to sell so that she could fund the building of her own ships. She disappeared soon after, although there are rumors her ship ended up on Asshai, suggesting that she actually sailed so far west that she came back to Essos, circumnavigating the globe.
Other seafaring women exist in this world, too. Xanda Qo, Princess of Sweet Lotus Vale, a woman of the Summer Isles who opposed slavery and kept her islands safe from slavers with the creation of new bows and new ships known as Swan Ships. Marilda of Hull, a woman who claimed to have borne Targaryen bastards (dragonseeds), grew up in shipyards, and took over her father’s business to captain her own ship. The women of the Iron Islands, of course, are a whole other breed of pirate, but their stories have been explored (albeit briefly) in Game of Thrones itself. With such a wealth of strong female seafarers already in this universe, there’s a vast amount of scope to see how Arya’s journey compares to theirs.
What’s West Of Westeros?
The question that Arya seeks to answer is one that fans are also fascinated by: what’s west of Westeros? The kingdoms and lands to the east – Essos and beyond – are explored to various degrees in the series, books, and companion books. However, the west is utterly unknown. The story of Elissa and her ship ending up back on Essos suggests that this world is (unsurprisingly) round, which means that there may be entire other continents waiting to be discovered. Arya’s journeys may also lead to more understanding of the lands that have been mentioned but not totally explored; not just if she should sail all the way around to the furthest Eastern lands that are mentioned in A Song Of Ice And Fire, but through meeting with other sailors, pirates, and corsairs, or by finding reasons to turn back and explore Essos in more depth.
All of this exploration could also fix a major problem with Game of Thrones – the lack of real diversity. The majority of POC characters in the series have been slaves – which is definitely problematic, even if these slaves are freed during the course of the show. Others have been secondary characters, of course, but the main cast of Game of Thrones is overwhelmingly white. Exploring a world beyond Westeros gives a new series a chance to balance this out.
One Main Character Is Simpler Storytelling
From the perspective of storytelling, an Arya spinoff also makes more sense than, say, a Dance of the Dragons prequel (the period of history where multiple Targaryen factions battled for the Iron Throne) because it’s not overcomplicating things with an ensemble of characters. One of the biggest issues with Game of Thrones is that things started to fall apart after HBO ran out of source material – George R.R. Martin may be able to work with dozens of major characters and a vastly convoluted plot, but it seems that the show writers struggled to manage it. This led to characters being abruptly killed off, or seeming to go against years of character development in the final seasons… something that isn’t as much of an issue when there is only one main storyline, and a couple of main characters to contend with.
There is still space for complexity, of course, and the introduction of Arya’s crew, her friends, and whichever enemies and allies she encounters along the way, but by keeping a single character the focus of the show, it’s a lot easier to take the time to develop her story that fans believe she deserves. Complex plotlines can certainly be created without needing to have a massive ensemble of main characters to focus on at once, and it’s time for HBO to learn from Game of Thrones mistakes in that area.
An Arya-Sized Gap In The Pirate Market
It’s also worth noting that pirates definitely hold a place in pop culture, and there is certainly space for a new pirate series. Pirates of the Caribbean was one of Disney’s most popular film franchises, but seems to be foundering at this point in time. A reboot was planned and then canceled, and a sixth film was mentioned as a possibility in 2017, but there hasn’t been a lot of movement on it since. Black Sails, the prequel series to Treasure Island, did reasonably well before being canceled after four seasons. With no current pirate series to compete against, and an existing fanbase that loves Arya and the Game of Thrones universe, a west of Westeros spinoff could be just what audiences want – especially as it would not only be a pirate series, but a true female-led one, something that is extremely rare.
The Problem With A Pirate Spin-Off
Of course, no spinoff idea is perfect, and there are a few issues with this idea for where Game of Thrones can go next. For one thing, there is no clear villain or antagonist from the start – Game of Thrones struggled to wrap up their big villain arcs in the end, though, so perhaps a series without a big bad isn’t the worst idea for a spinoff. A clear end for this series would be for Arya to travel all the way around the world and come home again… but then what? Another catch up on where Westeros is now, which would be logistically incredibly difficult to create.
Maisie Williams herself may also not be interested in spending several more years as Arya Stark. While she’s clearly a fan of the character, a decade is often more than enough, and while her X-Men project is still set to release (although it’s been pushed back to 2020), it’s unlikely that this will become another big franchise role thanks to complications after Disney acquired the Fox rights. Like many other actors who became famous through a role at a young age, it’s highly likely that Williams will want to expand her horizons and take on smaller projects to really show the range of her talents.
Finally, HBO programming president Casey Bloys categorically denied that this was a possibility (via THR) – even though the subject was brought up because there has been such buzz around it since the series finale. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it couldn’t still happen… or that, perhaps, the way to create an Arya spinoff without it is to create spinoffs for some of the other pirate queens mentioned above. Arya isn’t the first woman to seek out what is west of Westeros, and an Elissa Farman show could be the perfect fit: fulfilling all the things fans want in an Arya series while remaining a prequel, expanding the lore, potentially connecting with another prequel spinoff set at the same time, and giving Williams the chance to appear at the start for a cameo, before the show goes further back in history to the women that came before this incredible female character.