'Game of Thrones' Is Reviving Iconic Characters for New Project
Game of Thrones is conquering a new medium — the Broadway stage. In March, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that a stage play based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels is now in the works. It will reportedly examine one of the most mysterious portions of Martin's saga: "The Great Tourney at Harenhal."
The play is being produced for Broadway in New York City and the West End in London, England. It is not an adaptation of any scenes from the show or the books, but a look at the mysterious tourney that has puzzled fans for so long. The Tourney at Harenhal took place 16 years before the events of the main series, and it spurred the war known as Robert's Rebellion, which took House Targaryen off the Iron Throne and put Robert Baratheon there in its place. This means that a number of fan-favorite characters from early in the series will be involved — including Ned Stark, Jaime Lannister and Robert himself.
"The seeds of war are often planted in times of peace," said Martin in a public statement on the announcement. "Few in Westeros knew the carnage to come when highborn and smallfolk alike gathered at Harrenhal to watch the finest knights of the realm compete in a great tourney, during the Year of the False Spring. It is a tourney oft referred during HBO's Game of Thrones, and in my novels, A Song of Ice & Fire... and now, at last, we can tell the whole story... on the stage."
The Tourney at Harenhal was essentially the inciting incident for Robert's Rebellion — the war that immediately preceded the main series and put King Robert Baratheon on the throne. It started because Prince Rhaegar Targaryen crowned Ned's sister Lyanna Stark the "queen of love and beauty," then absconded with her when the tourney was over. Lyanna was betrothed to Robert, so he went to war to win her back.
As fans later learned in the show, Lyanna actually loved Rhaegar and left with him willingly. However, many fan theories go even deeper into the events at the tourney, and how they might have rippled out later in the series. Years' worth of theories and speculations were collated by YouTuber In Deep Geek in a series of videos called "What REALLY Caused Robert's Rebellion?" He speculates that a full account of the Tourney at Harenhal would reveal the mysterious motivations of Rhaegar, Bloodraven and Howland Reed — perhaps explaining some of the magic and prophecies at work in the series — as well as Lyanna, Benjen Stark and others.
Still, the choice to portray this important chapter in Martin's story for the first time as a stage play has baffled many fans. It will reportedly be produced by Simon Painter and Tim Lawson, with the story by Martin but the script by playwright Duncan MacMillan. Director Dominic Cooke is attached as well.
The play does not yet have a title, and other announcements about the cast and creative team have yet to be made. The first show is expected to launch in New York City, London and Australia in 2023. For fans without access to these large theaters, the mysteries of the Tourney at Harenhal will have to wait.