Two Grimdark Fantasy Series Might be Headed to Television

With Game of Thrones off the air and its replacement a couple of years away, there’s a bit of a vacuum in the television world for grim fantasy shows. That could change at some point in the nearish future, as two authors revealed yesterday that they’ve had their books optioned for the small screen.

The first author is Mark Lawrence, who revealed on his blog that someone has optioned his Broken Empires trilogy, which is comprised of The Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, and Emperor of Thorns, as well as an assortment of short stories. That series is about an immoral boy named Jorg Ancrath, who becomes the leader of a group of outlaws in a grim and violent world. When he returns home to his kingdom, he’s forced to confront the horrors of his childhood — the brutal deaths of his mother and brother. He later becomes king, and discovers some horrifying secrets in the depths of his family’s castle, all while he’s haunted by the demons in his past.

The series has received considerable acclaim from the fantasy field, including nominations for the annual Goodreads awards for several years, and a win in 2014 for the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy.

The other author is Nicholas Eames, who reported on Twitter that someone has optioned his series The Band, an ongoing series that started in 2017 with Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose. (The third book is forthcoming.) Kings of the Wyld follows a mercenary band led by Clay Cooper, who’s brought back into action when a former comrade-in-arms shows up, asking for help to save his daughter, Rose, who’s trapped in a city under attack. Bloody Rose follows a different crew as bartender Tam Hashford jumps at the chance to join their ranks as they embark on a new mission.

Options aren’t definite signs that you’ll be seeing your favorite characters streaming next season: Lawrence notes on his blog that it’s getting beyond the option stage that’s the hard part, noting that there was a lot of interest in the Broken Empire series when it first came out, and that it was optioned in 2013, but nothing ever came of it: “Here’s the thing though. All of these people wanted the option on my work. Not one of these people was prepared to pay for it.” This time around? The chances are “Slim. Very slim,” and that fans shouldn’t “hold your breath. But on the other hand, there’s no way this isn’t good news!”

For his part, Eames says something similar: “Will it ACTUALLY get made? Who knows?”

There is a huge appetite for adaptations, especially as streaming services race to lock up exclusive content for their subscribers, and there have been a number of high-profile adaptations of fantasy novels in recent years, from Game of Thrones to His Dark Materials to The Witcher and the forthcoming Wheel of Time. Maybe, we’ll get to see some of these characters in the flesh before too much longer.


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