A movie adapting Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn would have a lot of ground to cover, but if done properly, it could tell the story HBO’s Game of Thrones was too afraid to. Game of Thrones aired on the network from 2011 to 2019, quickly becoming one of the most popular TV shows of all time. It’s no surprise it found such success, as George R.R. Martin’s books are similarly well-known and beloved. While Martin’s series is incomplete, HBO’s Game of Thrones concludes before it can tell its most interesting story.

Part of what makes Game of Thrones such a standout fantasy series is how it subverts expectations and paints all of its characters as morally complex. It has this in common with Mistborn, though Sanderson’s books unravel a storyline that Game of Thrones fails to explore. If Mistborn ever makes its way to the screen, it can dig into this arc further, showcasing what would have happened after Game of Thrones season 8’s biggest twist.

Although Game of Thrones features villains who redeem themselves and heroes who turn into villains, it never explores the latter sufficiently. Despite Game of Thrones’ brutal and unfair world, the heroes tend to win in HBO’s iteration of Westeros — even if it takes multiple seasons to get there. That’s why Daenerys Targaryen’s turn at the end of Game of Thrones doesn’t really work. Not only does the show not lead up to it well, but it doesn’t explore what happens after Daenerys takes the Iron Throne. Game of Thrones quickly kills her off, then hands the crown to Bran Stark in its series finale.

Mistborn, on the other hand, flips the “heroes always win” fantasy trope on its head. Although its main characters do, in fact, win in the present-day timeline, the entire premise of Sanderson’s books revolves around a hero who turns bad. In a way, Sanderson’s story picks up where Game of Thrones’ penultimate episode ends: with a tyrant taking the throne. The Lord Ruler, the villain of the first Mistborn book, is explored through journal entries throughout the novel. While there’s a major twist in regard to his identity, he starts as someone who’s committed to saving the world. Unfortunately, he ends up making it far worse in the process.

By digging into the Lord Ruler’s history and who he becomes, Mistborn commits to its hero-to-villain story far more than Game of Thrones season 8. While the HBO series offers viewers the opportunity to know and love Daenerys in the lead-up to her villainous turn, it doesn’t actually explore her thoroughly as a villain. She tells her army her plans for Westeros, prompting Jon and Tyrion to action, but she never actually shows what she’s capable of as a villain. The show ends too soon to explore this, but Mistborn can tackle this storyline in its own way.

A Mistborn movie could cover both ends, with flashbacks to Alendi’s journey fleshing out the young hero and his companions, while the present-day storyline highlights how terrible he is as the ruler of the Final Empire. This would offer a complex and compelling perspective on a villain, allowing Mistborn to ask deeper questions about morality and good intentions.

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