George R. R. Martin wanted 'House of the Dragon' to have a very different opening.
The 'Game of Thrones' author has weighed in on HBO's prequel series - which is based on his novel 'Fire and Blood' - and admitted "no one liked" his idea, but he wanted to focus on an "earlier" period in the Targaryen family history.
Speaking to fellow fantasy writer David Anthony Durham for RandomHouseBooks.com, he said: "I would’ve begun it like 40 years earlier, with an episode I would’ve called ‘The Heir and the Spare'.
"Jaehaerys’ two sons, Aemon and Baelon, are alive, and we see the friendship but also the rivalry between the two sides of the great house.
"Then Aemon dies accidentally when a Myrish crossbowman shoots him by accident on Tarth, then Jaehaerys has to decide who becomes the new heir.
"Is it the daughter of the son who’s just died, or the second son who has children of his own and is a man where she’s a teenager?
"You could’ve presented all that stuff, but then you would’ve had 40 more years, and even more time jumps and recastings. I was the only one who was really enthused about that."
The 74-year-old author revealed there were other ideas in the writing room, with some people wanting a "later" starting point.
He explained: "One of the writers wanted to begin it later, with Aemma dying. Skip the Great Council, skip the tournament, a scream sounds out, Aemma is dead, that's where you begin. That was one possibility.
"Another of the writers wanted to begin even later than that, with Viserys dying. But what happens there?
"Then you have to present all that material in flashbacks or dialogue, that becomes challenging too. But we discussed all these possibilities."