For months, there have been rumblings that HBO is considering spinning off their hit show Game of Thrones into a new series that covers an earlier part of Westeros’ history. While talks are still in their infancy, a prequel project certainly makes sense. With only 13 episodes left, fans of the show will definitely be desperate for more action from the world of George R.R. Martin once the finale airs sometime in 2018.
It would certainly be smart for HBO to parlay the popularity of Thrones into a new series. And in Martin’s rich world of ice and fire, there’s plenty of material which could be used for a new show. From the original Aegon’s Conquest to the Dance of Dragons or the adventures of the Hedge Knight, practically any part of Westerosi history would make for gripping television. However, it seems most likely that if a prequel is greenlit, it’ll focus on familiar faces and a bit of history that even casual fans of Game of Thrones have already heard about—the rebellion of Robert Baratheon. We love the idea of seeing the events that led up to the main series, so let’s indulge in a bit of fantasy of our own by rounding up the characters we want to see back on our screens—and explaining why. Beware: spoilers ahead!
Obviously, any series focusing on Robert’s rebellion would need the eldest son of House Baratheon as the titular character. Young, virile, handsome, and strong as a bull, Robert picked up a warhammer and called his banners to rebel against Mad King Aerys Targaryen’s tyranny. He became the leader of the rebellion almost by chance—while Ned Stark had more cause, Robert had a better claim to the throne: he had quite a bit of Targaryen blood through his grandmother.
Most anticipated scene: The epic showdown at the Battle of the Trident, as Robert and Rhaegar battle head-to-head in the shallows of the river.
A bookish boy by nature, Rhaegar only became a warrior after deciding that a prophecy said he should. It was this obsession with prophecy that would eventually lead to the war, and Rhaegar’s downfall. He may even have brought peace to the realm had he focused on his duties instead of shaming his wife in order to fulfill a prophecy. There are indications that he had possibly been planning to usurp the throne from his insane father as early as the Tournament at Harrenhal.
Most anticipated scene: Learning the truth about the relationship between Lyanna and Rhaegar. Did he kidnap and rape her, or were the two in love? What did Rhaegar’s wife, Elia, think about all of this?
Ned Stark goes through a series of devastating losses as a young man—the brutal murder of his father and brother was followed by the disappearance of his sister, Lyanna. Ned becomes the Lord of Winterfell and leader of the North, as well as Robert’s right-hand-man in the war that follows. The Ned we know from Game of Thrones has always been temperate and honorable, so it’s an exciting prospect to see Eddard as a young man, hot-blooded and ready for action.
Most anticipated scene: Ned walking into the throne room of the Red Keep after the sack of King’s Landing, only to discover someone other than Aerys sitting on the Iron Throne.
Lysa and Catelyn Tully
The Tully sisters don’t play a huge role in the rebellion, but the marriage of Lysa Tully to Jon Arryn and of Catelyn to Eddard Stark was perhaps one of the most important events in the early part of the war. Their marriages cemented the alliance between Robert’s forces and Lord Tully and the forces of the Riverlands, which provided much-needed men and supplies for the war.
Most anticipated scene: Seeing what Lysa was like as a young woman, before a series of failed pregnancies and a decade of living in King’s Landing turned her into the miserable and suspicious wretch we know from Game of Thrones. Additionally, it’d be great to see a wedding that doesn’t immediately end in tragedy.
On Game of Thrones, we never got to know Jon Arryn—his body is only briefly seen in the very first episode. But this Lord of the Eyrie played a much larger role than most realize. In a just world, "Robert’s Rebellion" would actually be "Arryn’s Rebellion." It was Jon who first raised his banners in revolt, and not even all of his own bannermen stood with him in the beginning.
Most anticipated scene: Jon making the decision to rebel against the crown after Mad King Aerys demands that Jon execute Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark.
The Mad King had been going slowly insane for years, and his kidnapping and year-long imprisonment within Duskendale made him even worse. Aerys became so paranoid that he wouldn’t even let anyone cut his hair or fingernails—which became extremely long, dirty, and unkempt. Aerys commits some major atrocities which directly lead to the war, and his plotting with the pyromancers of King’s Landing eventually results in his own downfall.
Most anticipated scene: The murder of Brandon and Rickard Stark, and the series of events which eventually lead to Jaime Lannister’s ultimate betrayal of his King.
Little more than a bearded boy at the time of the rebellion, Littlefinger doesn’t play a role in the war (that we know of). However, who knows what secrets he may have learned during the war as he recuperated from the wound Brandon Stark gave him?
Most anticipated scene: The fateful duel between Petyr Baelish (then age 14) and Brandon Stark for the hand of Catelyn Tully. Littlefinger never stood a chance, and the events at Riverrun that day may have set Baelish’s course in life for decades to come.
Game of Thrones watchers will know Randyll only as the awful father of Samwell Tarly. But the young Lord of Horn Hill was one of the most capable military commanders of his time, and during Robert’s rebellion, Tarly was in the prime of his life. As a Targaryen loyalist, Tarly was one of the most dangerous adversaries that Robert’s forces would have to face.
Most anticipated scene: The Battle of Ashford, in which Tarly hands Robert and his forces one of his only defeats on the battlefield.
Arguably the Helen of Troy of Westeros, Lyanna was "beautiful, and willful, and dead before her time." Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon, and it was her "kidnapping" (or perhaps elopement) with the already-married Rhaegar Targaryen which set off the events that caused the war. Her brother Brandon marched to King’s Landing to demand Rhaegar return her, and the rest is history.
Most anticipated scene: Before the war at the Tourney of Harrenhal, Lyanna plays a large role in the events that happen there, and Eddard has said that when Rhaegar crowned Lyanna as the tournament’s Queen of Love and Beauty over his wife, Elia Martell, it was the moment when "all the smiles died."
Although Benjen didn’t play a major role in the war, he was the Stark in Winterfell during the rebellion. Although House Stark had been reduced to just he and his brother Eddard, for unknown reasons Benjen decided to join the Night’s Watch after the war was over.
Most anticipated scene: Finding out if Benjen knew the truth behind Lyanna’s disappearance, and by hiding it or aiding her, perhaps indirectly caused the death of his brother and father—who thought she had been kidnapped.
Although he was small of stature and not trained in battle the same as other highborn lordlings, Howland Reed was one of Ned Stark’s best friends and most trusted companions. During the war, Reed would have been constantly at Ned’s side. We’ve already seen a flashback with Howland from the Tower of Joy, but we know there has to be more to this crannogman’s tale.
Most anticipated scene: Learning the truth of the Knight of the Laughing tree from the Tournament of Harrenhal, and seeing the events at the Tower of Joy from Howland’s perspective.
Mace Tyrell, Stannis Baratheon, & Davos Seaworth
Mace Tyrell was a loyalist on the side of the Targaryens, and while he was mostly ineffectual on the battlefield, his siege of Storm’s End throughout the majority of the war nearly caused the death of Stannis and all those holed up inside the castle, as Robert was too busy to break the siege until after Aerys was dead.
Most anticipated scene: The smuggler Davos Seaworth helped save Storm’s End from starvation when he brought a shipment of onions and turnips in the dead of night to the secret oceanside entrance to the holdfast. He saved the people inside, and Stannis rewarded him with a knighthood—and three severed fingers.
The Dornish wanted no part of the war, but were obligated to send 10,000 soldiers to aid Rhaegar’s forces because Aerys used Rhaegar’s wife Elia Martell as a hostage to force their cooperation. Additionally, Prince Lewyn Martell (Elia and Oberyn’s uncle) was a member of Aerys’ Kingsguard.
Most anticipated scene: While we know Oberyn was in Westeros during the war, we know nothing about his actions during that time. It’d be awesome to learn more about what he was up to. Additionally, fans of Game of Thrones are dying to learn more about what happened between Elia and Rhaegar when he turned to Lyanna Stark, or what really occurred when Oberyn learned of the deaths of his sister and uncle.
One of the most heroic Kingsguard knights of all time, Ser Barristan fought relentlessly for his King during Robert’s rebellion. His rallying of the scattered forces of Jon Connington almost led the Targaryens to victory at the Trident—until Rhaegar himself fell in the battle. If it weren’t for his own grave wound, Barristan may have been able to prevent the sack of King’s Landing.
Most anticipated scene: Seeing Selmy in action during the Battle of the Trident, and his interactions with Robert during the aftermath, when he’s so impressed by Selmy that he sends his own Maester to tend Barristan’s serious wounds, despite Robert’s own grave injuries.
Varys and Pycelle
While Littlefinger was not yet a member of the Small Council, both Lord Varys and Maester Pycelle led competing factions within the walls of the Red Keep. While Varys seemed to have Aerys and the Targaryen’s best interests in mind, it seems that Pycelle may have been secretly working on the side of House Lannister.
Most anticipated scene: When the forces of House Lannister arrive at King’s Landing, Varys urges the King to keep the city’s gates shut. Pycelle argues on the part of Tywin Lannister, telling Aerys that he can trust his old friend and former Hand to save them from ruin.
Knighted and named to the Kingsguard against his father’s wishes, Jaime Lannister spent the war at the Red Keep with the King, used as a hostage by Aerys to keep Casterly Rock in line. This slight was just the latest in a long string of insults to the Lannisters, which caused Tywin and his old friend Aerys to Tywin held his forces aside until the winner was all but clear, and then marched his army to King’s Landing—under the pretense of joining the Targaryen cause.
Most anticipated scene: Seeing Jaime sink further into depression as he watches his King commit depraved acts and atrocities, before finally being forced to choose between his duty to Aerys or his duty to the realm. Also, we really want this put to rest once and for all: did Tywin order Gregor Clegane to brutally murder Elia Martell and her two children?