Game of Thrones aims for Broadway with a stage production bringing back Ned Stark, Jaime Lannister characters

A stage adaptation of Game of Thrones is being developed in the hope of productions on Broadway, in London’s West End and in Australia, with a target debut of 2023.

The New York Times March 31, 2021 12:26:28 IST
Game of Thrones aims for Broadway with a stage production bringing back Ned Stark, Jaime Lannister characters

Sean Bean in a still from Game of Thrones season 1. HBO

Game of Thrones ended in 2019 but George RR Martin still hasn’t finished the next novel in his Song of Ice and Fire series, the books that inspired the globally popular HBO drama.

Alas, no word on when that might happen. But impatient fans may have something else to look forward to: The return of favourite characters like Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister in a stage adaptation of Game of Thrones that is being developed in the hope of productions on Broadway, in London’s West End and in Australia, with a target debut of 2023.

“It ought to be spectacular,” Martin said in a statement announcing the play on Tuesday.

The author will write the story alongside the playwright Duncan Macmillan, who also adapted George Orwell’s 1984 for the stage and recently wrote Lungs, a play that streamed live from London’s Old Vic Theater last summer. Dominic Cooke, a former artistic director of the Royal Court Theater, will direct.

Martin said the play, which is not yet titled, will be set during a pivotal moment in the history of the series — The Great Tourney at Harrenhal, which took place 16 years before the events of Game of Thrones — and include many of the show’s “most iconic and well-known characters.” The production’s story, he said, will be “centered around love, vengeance, madness and the dangers of dealing in prophecy, in the process revealing secrets and lies that have only been hinted at until now.”

The Great Tourney featured jousting and archery competitions and was considered the biggest tournament in Westeros history. No specific characters have yet been confirmed to recur, but a few seem like safe bets — a young Ned Stark, his sister Lyanna, and a braggadocious teenage Jaime Lannister all attended the event in Martin’s books.

Simon Painter, Tim Lawson and Jonathan Sanford will produce, in partnership with Kilburn Live. Painter is known for creating large-scale touring shows like The Illusionist franchise, which he launched with Lawson. Vince Gerardis will also serve as an executive producer.

The play is the latest in a series of prequel projects that have been announced since the HBO fantasy epic concluded in 2019. Martin recently agreed to a five-year deal with HBO to create content for the network, and one Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, has already been greenlit, with an expected premiere in 2022.

Game of Thrones prequel House Of The Dragon is a much safer bet for HBO than Bloodmoon; here's why

The series became a singularly enormous hit for HBO, regularly attracting millions of viewers for each episode across its eight seasons. The final episode was the most-watched of the series, drawing 19.3 million viewers when it aired in May 2019.

This will not be the first Game of Thrones project for the stage. Ramin Djawadi, the show’s composer, toured with musicians playing the score set to clips from the series in arenas all over the world from 2017 to 2019, complete with confetti snow, sparks, smoke and “dragon” fire.

Other fantasy epics have attempted journeys to the stage after the conclusion of their literary sagas, among them JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books. The two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which debuted in London in 2016, won six Tony Awards during its Broadway run, which began in 2018, and has been produced in Toronto and Melbourne, Australia. But the Lord of the Rings musical, which opened in Toronto in 2006 before transferring to the West End, was never a critical — or box office — success, and went on to become one of the biggest commercial flops in West End history.

But, right now, for Westeros fans, excitement is running high.

“The seeds of war are often planted in times of peace,” Martin said. “And now, at last, we can tell the whole story … on the stage.”

Sarah Bahr c.2021 The New York Times Company

Updated Date:

also read

The empress, the museum and the curator: A fresh twist in story of Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art
Arts & Culture

The empress, the museum and the curator: A fresh twist in story of Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art

Donna Stein, an American curator who lived in Tehran between 1975 and 1977 and played a small but important role in assembling the collection, has written a memoir, The Empress and I: How an Ancient Empire Collected, Rejected and Rediscovered Modern Art.

Augusta Savage: The Black woman artist who crafted a life she was told she couldn’t have
Arts & Culture

Augusta Savage: The Black woman artist who crafted a life she was told she couldn’t have

The story of the commission and destruction of “The Harp” and its eventual fate is a microcosm of the challenges Savage faced — and the ones Black artists dealt with at the time and are still dealing with today.

Edinburgh's renowned festivals, including Fringe, plan hybrid format returns in August after a pandemic year
Arts & Culture

Edinburgh's renowned festivals, including Fringe, plan hybrid format returns in August after a pandemic year

Coronavirus cases have fallen rapidly in Scotland this spring, thanks to an extended lockdown and a strong vaccination programme. But many restrictions are still in place, including on cultural life.