Game of Thrones spinoff Ten Thousand Ships has a new writer, George R.R. Martin confirms

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Eboni Booth is writing a new pilot Ten Thousand Ships, HBO's Game of Thrones spinoff idea based on the odyssey of the warrior princess Nymeria.
FYC Special Screening For HBO Max's "House Of The Dragon" - Arrivals
FYC Special Screening For HBO Max's "House Of The Dragon" - Arrivals / Amanda Edwards/GettyImages

Things are absolutely booming in Westeros at the moment. In just a few days, HBO will premiere the second season of its first Game of Thrones spinoff, House of the Dragon. Set roughly 200 years before Thrones, it covers a brutal civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, when rival branches of the Targaryen family tore the realm apart because they couldn't agree on who should sit the Iron Throne. While House of the Dragon is airing, HBO will also be filming the first season of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, its spinoff based on author George R.R. Martin's Dunk & Egg novellas, which are about a knight and his young squire going on adventures around the Seven Kingdoms. That one's expected to premiere sometime in 2025.

Those are just the two Game of Thrones spinoffs coming soonest to television, but HBO has had a lot of irons in the fire for this franchise, from an animated spinoff about the China-inspired Golden Empire of Yi Ti in the far reaches of Essos to live-action shows about Aegon the Conqueror, the seafaring journeys of Corlys Velaryon the Sea Snake (played in his older years by Steve Toussaint in House of the Dragon) and more. HBO is keeping its options open.

One of those options is Ten Thousand Ships, a series which would tell the story of the warrior princess Nymeria of the Rhoynar, who led her people on an odyssey around the world which eventually led to them settling in Dorne. Martin recently took to his Not A Blog to share a bit more information about it. Ten Thousand Ships is still in development, and as of this writing it is currently getting a fresh script treatment for a new pilot from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Eboni Booth.

Ten Thousand Ships is getting a new pilot script

Martin's blog post starts out by congratulating Booth on her recent Pulitzer win for her play Primary Trust, about a bookstore worker who has to find new meaning in life after a sudden layoff. He has nothing but glowing words for Booth, before revealing that she's the new writer behind the wheel for Ten Thousand Ships.

"She’s an amazingly talented young playwright, and a joy to work with; when not writing and producing her prize-winning plays on- and off-Broadway, she has been kept busy by me and HBO, working on a new pilot for TEN THOUSAND SHIPS, a GAME OF THRONES spinoff about Nymeria and the Rhoynar," Martin wrote. "We’re all very excited about this one… though we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to pay for ten thousand ships, three hundred dragons, and those giant turtles."

The last update we got about Ten Thousand Ships was back in April of 2024, when A Knight's Tale writer Brian Helgeland revealed details about his own script for Ten Thousand Ships which HBO decided not to pursue:

"It came out great, but I think they felt the period of my show was too far removed from the pillars of the original. That’s why it hasn’t been picked up yet, but nothing is ever dead," Heldgeland said. "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 calledTen Thousand 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."

What is Ten Thousand Ships about?

The rumor mill has had a lot to say about Ten Thousand Ships; it's gone back and forth from being "shelved" to "in development" more than a few times over the past couple of years. Still, it's great to get the update from Martin that Booth is working on a script for the show. We may see the adventures of Princess Nymeria on screen, yet!

And if I'm being honest, this change in writer sounds like a good one. No shade to Hegleland, but I don't know that Moses is the first person I would compare Nymeria to. The bit from the "Westeros encyclopedia" he's most likely referring to is A World of Ice and Fire, the gorgeous book all about the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. It contains one of the few detailed accounts of Nymeria's journey.

The broad strokes are that, during the days of Old Valyria, the empire of the dragonriders sought to colonize the Rhoynar, a mighty neighboring people who made their home along the river Rhoyne. Tyrion Lannister travels down this river in the book A Dance with Dragons — you may remember the scene where he sees a giant turtle in the water. During Nymeria's day, the princes and princesses of the Rhoyne resisted Valyria with their unique brand of water-based sorcery, which resulted in a catastrophic war where the Valyrians brought the full might of their dragon air force to bear. That's undoubtedly what Martin is referring to when he mentioned needing to find a way to pay for "three hundred dragons."

Nymeria is the only leader of the Rhoynar who escapes the carnage. Seeing the other great cities of the Rhoyne sacked, she gathers all her remaining people and leads them out of Essos on a ragtag fleet of ships. Their journey is a vast one that visits places we never see in any other of Martin's stories; for example, Nymeria and her people stop at Sothoryos, the southernmost continent in Martin's fantasy world, before they're driven back out to sea by the dangers of that wild land.

Eventually, their years-long voyage leads them to Dorne, where Nymeria forges an alliance with Mors Martell through marriage. This allowed Mors and Nymeria to unify the rest of Dorne, and for nearly 30 years she served as the primary ruler of the region, re-marrying multiple times during her reign after outliving her husbands.

As I'm sure you can imagine even from that brief description, there's a ton of history that Ten Thousand Ships could draw from to make a compelling narrative. They could do a whole season before Nymeria even sets out, all about the rising tensions between the Rhoynar and Valyria. A few seasons of traveling to far-flung locales, and then a few more about the wars across Dorne. I'm curious to hear more about what route Booth is taking with her pilot; hopefully HBO likes it enough to pick it up, and then they start shouting about it from rooftops so we know what to expect.

Until then, we've got the ongoing drama of House Targaryen to tide us over. House of the Dragon season 2 premieres June 16 on HBO and Max.

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