House of the Dragon is nearly upon us, and Game of Thrones continues to be one of the biggest and best fantasy series ever produced. And while there are surely going to be more exploits into the world of George RR Martin’s novels in the future from HBO (why wouldn’t they?), there are only so many times you can watch and rewatch your favourite shows before you begin to pine for something new but similar.
Well, never fear, because Screen OD is here. We have tried to bottle the major elements of the aforementioned shows and find similar things that you can watch right now that will hopefully bring happiness to your head and excitement to your screen. Of course nothing is exactly the same as Game of Thrones (not even House of the Dragon), but as you will find below, there are many shows that have themes of family feuds, power politics, brutality, sex, scandal and epic battles. Not everyone of our choices has all of these things, but we have done our best to include as many as we can!
So, let us begin our journey into a world of Game of Thrones-like shows to light up your streaming life…
The best shows like Game of Thrones
Starring Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter in a dangerous world of magic and mystery, this is a series that like both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon is based on books – on this occasion from the pen of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The comparisons between this Netflix series and the HBO fantasy shows have been made from the moment it hit the air, and although The Witcher is also set in a fantasy world that has medieval inspiration (on this occasion called the Continent, not Westeros) and involves politics, fighting and bloodshed, there are marked differences in style and substance. However, there are enough similarities that those who enjoyed the quest for the Iron Throne are sure to also enjoy this adventure.
If the power politics and at-any-cost attitude of the feuding families in Game of Thrones is a side of the show that you were particularly drawn to, The Borgias will help scratch that itch. Set in Renaissance Italy, the show follows the story of the Borgia family as they relentlessly pursue their quest to take the Papacy. Starring Jeremy Irons and Holliday Grainger this is a story of twisted family politics, cruel intentions and brutal encounters that sometimes end in bloodshed. There’s no dragons circling overhead, but there’s plenty to remind you of the goings on of Game of Thrones should you be missing the world of Westeros.
The Wheel of Time
Another fantasy series, another show based on novels (perhaps you are starting to see a theme develop here), this time we look to Prime Video for a big budget adaptation of Robert Jordan’s novels of the same name. Starring Rosamund Pike as Moriane, a member of Aes Sedai, an organisation of women who can channel immense power, this series follows a quest around the world. But who is the Dragon, the powerful entity that broke the world, and when will the prophecy of the return happen. At this point the world will either be reborn or destroyed forever. This is high fantasy that will certainly intrigue fans of GOT. And it mentions dragons, which is always a bonus.
Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon didn’t invent blood and gore on the screens (although they certainly seemed to perfect it with episodes like Battle of the Bastards), nor do they have a monopoly on sex on screen. Long before these shows were being produced, Spartacus was delivering a shocking amount of blood, violence, sex and sensation to viewers through the lens of the Roman Empire. This show isn’t as nuanced or carefully plotted as the fantasy shows that came after it, but if you are looking for a programme filled with action, this is certainly a place to press play.
Perhaps one of the shows that is less directly comparable to Game of Thrones on this list, Outlander is yes, you guessed it, based on a series of novels – on this occasion by Diana Gabaldon. It tells the story of Claire (played by Catriona Balfe) a nurse in the Second World War who is transported mysteriously back to 18th Century Scotland and Jamie (played by Sam Heughan), a highland warrior with whom she becomes romantically attached. There’s more time travel than in Game of Thrones, but for those who like the slow burn love stories, power struggles and battles of the aforementioned series, there’s plenty in Outlander for you to hang on to.
Inspired by the adventures of Ragnar Lodbrok, a legendary Viking hero who goes from being a farmer to a Scandinavian king while conquering lands in Europe, this series is based on many of the Norse heroes of the medieval era. If you are someone who enjoys the epic battle and fight scenes from Game of Thrones, you will certainly get your fix from this series, as well as a more than healthy dose of family politics across generations and struggles to take and maintain power while everything around the family appears to be on fire.
The Last Kingdom
Yes, it’s based on a book! This time an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories, The Last Kingdom centres of the life and times of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, played by Alexander Dreymon, a Saxon warrior who has been brought up by Vikings after they raided his village as a child (they could have made a Vikings crossover – perhaps a missed opportunity!) Once again we have a show that is filled with twisted power politics and messy family relationships, struggles to rise to the very top and battles that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for the Game of Thrones enthusiast on their day off.