George R.R. Martin confirms Game of Thrones animated series 'Nine Voyages' in development — what we know so far

Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

Considering how big Game of Thrones was at its peak, it’s surprising that the franchise has only managed to produce one spin off — House of the Dragon. Though it isn’t for lack of trying, judging from reports. Back in 2022 a report claimed that at least four GoT spin-offs were being considered, and GoT creator George R.R. Martin just confirmed one will be switching to animation.

In fact, R.R. Martin says that “we now have three animated projects underway.” But there’s one that's particularly noteworthy.

The Game of Thrones author confirmed that the spin-off “9 Voyages” will be making the shift to animation on his “Not a Blog” blog. This is technically a spin-off from House of the Dragon, following Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) — also known as the Sea Snake. House Velaryon is known for its ships, and that may be why the show is apparently switching mediums.

Why animation could be the best option

Martin claims that the show itself would have to spend half of its time at sea, which would be “prohibitively expensive” in live action. Not just because of the ships and water, but also because it would see the action move to a different port city each week. So there’s no way of saving costs by building and reusing a set for the full season.

Animation can be pretty costly and time consuming too, as Martin notes, but claims that it gives a much better chance of “fully realizing” the show.

A switch to animation could be exactly what Game of Thrones needs to push the franchise to the next level. There are strict limitations on what a live action series can do, and there's only so much screen time a CGI dragon can have on a TV budget.

Not only does animation mean you can add fantastical elements to the Game of Thrones universe without the prohibitive CGI costs, it also means you can add some variety to the world. Considering 9 Voyages constantly changing location, it means showrunners can make each port seem totally unique — rather than just the same variations of gray stone buildings we've seen previously.

Martin even leads his blog post by saying many nice things about the animated series Blue Eyes Samurai. He noted that it's the kind of show you can enjoy even if you're not a fan of animated TV shows, especially if you like his work. That suggests animated Game of Thrones spin-offs may take some inspiration from Blue Eyes Samurai and other shows like it.

This isn't the first time Game of Thrones ditched live action

Animated sequences have already covered some of Westeros’s history as extra features on DVD and Blu-ray releases, while Martin himself notes that at least two other animated spin-offs are in early development.

None of them have actually been officially greenlit though, including 9 Voyages, which means they may never make it to TV screens. Martin has previously confirmed preliminary work on an animated show called “The Golden Empire” set in the mysterious Yi Ti, but not much else is known about that — and it’s equally unclear what the second animated show could be.

We’ve heard about Ten Thousand Ships, set 1,000 years before Game of Thrones, and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, based on the Dunk and Egg novellas. My money would be on Ten Thousand Ships being the likely animation candidate, but there’s no way to know for sure. There’s an equal chance that this mysterious show could be something totally new.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this all pans out. In the meantime House of the Dragon season 2 is on the way, and will be debuting on HBO sometime later this year. 

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.