That Game of Thrones Spin-Off About Queen Nymeria Would Have Been an Oceanic Epic

That Game of Thrones Spin-Off About Queen Nymeria Would Have Been an Oceanic Epic

House of the Dragon returns in June, and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight—aka “Dunk and Egg”—is moving full speed ahead. But despite the hunger for Game of Thrones projects, HBO is still being selective about its spin-offs. Among the shows left in the lurch: that Naomi Watts-starring prequel, the Jon Snow show, and an epic seafaring adventure detailing the story of Queen Nymeria.

If that last one sounds unfamiliar, it has been discussed in the past; in 2021, we learned a spin-off titled 10,000 Ships had just pulled ahead in the race to follow House of the Dragon to HBO. At the time, it was reported that Amanda Segel (Helstron, The Mist, Person of Interest) had been hired to write for the series; the trade noted the story took place 1,000 years before George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and was expected to follow “the journey made by warrior queen Princess Nymeria and the surviving members of the Rhoynars, who traveled from Essos to Dorne following their defeat by the Valyrian Freehold in the Second Spice War.”

In a new interview with Inverse, where he also talked about the Knight’s Tale sequel that never was, Oscar-winning screenwriter Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) spoke about his would-be involvement in the HBO series—starting with why it’s yet to be picked up. “I think they felt the period of my show was too far removed from the pillars of the original,” he explained. “My script was based on Queen Nymeria and this little blurb about her that was in a Westeros encyclopedia. Essentially, it was the story of Moses but swapping him out for Nymeria. Her country gets ruined and her people are forced to live on the water, which is why the show was called 10,000 Ships. They end up having to leave and find a new home like the Israelites leaving Egypt. She’s leading all these people, trying to hold everyone together but things are always in danger of falling apart as they travel around a fictionalized version of the Mediterranean, looking for a new home to settle in.”

Helgeland continued. “Their life was nomadic. Living in a raft city that was bound together, this big floating city. Sometimes, the characters would come ashore, but they ultimately get driven off the land as they search for a home, their version of the promised land. I met with George R.R. Martin to pitch him the idea, which he signed off on. Sadly, I didn’t work with him closer, but I would have done if the show was picked up. It was kind of like Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad films mixed with The Odyssey. In a way, Nymeria is Odysseus, but instead of a 12-person crew, she’s responsible for every citizen in this floating city-state.”

Most fans of Game of Thrones only knew about Nymeria because of the other characters named in tribute to her (including Arya Stark’s loyal direwolf—and Jessica Henwick’s “Nym” Sand); 10,000 Ships certainly would have fleshed out what sounds like a fascinating character. Helgeland hasn’t ruled out a return to the story one of these days. “My work is still there if HBO wants to pick it up. I enjoyed my time developing it, and you just never know,” he said.

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