The Next Witcher or GoT? 5 Fantasy Book Series Made for the Screen
Content is king at the moment. The Streaming Wars have caused a scramble to pick up beloved IP, and top of the list seems to be epic fantasy. The Wheel of Time, The Witcher, Game of Thrones, and the Lord of the Rings are just some of the big-budget fantasy worlds that have been covered in recent years, and it seems like the studios are going back for more.
Of course, it isn’t just movies and television. Fantasy has become huge in the gaming world. We could point to everything from Elden Ring to Shadow of Moria to The King of Heroes by 3 Oaks as examples of high fantasy in the gaming arena. But the screen is where many believe the heroes, myths, and monsters belong at the moment.
While studios will be revisiting the worlds of Tolkien and Martin to make more content, there are many brilliant fantasy book series out there that could be worth adapting for the screen. Below, we pick out five that could make for some amazing television:
- The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist
For some fantasy fans, it might seem unbelievable that the world of Midkemia, which provides the setting for a huge book series by Raymond E. Feist, has not been turned into a television series. The books, which started with Magician in the 1980s and finished up with Magician’s End in 2013, cover an epic chronological history of a land of dragons, elves, myths, and magic. The books sold millions of copies in multiple languages, and they have legions of fans. Feist wrote nearly 30 books based on the tales of Midkemia, and they have a linear progression that is suitable for a television series. It seems that Feist has been in discussions with studios at intermittent periods over the last couple of decades, but nothing has borne fruit. It’s perplexing, as the Riftwar Cycle could deliver years and years of epic fantasy television.
- The Belgariad & Mallorean by David Eddings
Ten books and two prequel books cover the tale of prophecy and mad gods as Eddings weaves a gigantic narrative of good vs. evil. The Belgariad tells the story of the Godslayer Belgarion as he is guided into his power and birthright by the sorcerers Belgarath and Polgara. The books take the characters through a variety of different lands, charting their quest as they rub shoulders with kings, queens, warriors, and monsters. An epic conclusion to the Belgariad sees Belgarion fight the maimed god Torak in the City of Endless Night. Later, the story picks up in the Mallorean, where Belgarion travels deep into enemy territory for a final showdown with the prophecy that determines his fate. An epic series that could deliver ten perfect seasons; one for each book.
- The Artefacts of Power by Maggie Furey
One criticism thrown at fantasy writers is that they can often have difficulty writing complex female characters. Indeed, this is a criticism thrown at modern Hollywood too. Nonetheless, one only needs to look at the intriguing Aurian character by Maggie Furey for inspiration. Aurian, which is also the title of the first book in a four-book series, is the titular hero who must learn her way in a world as a warrior and a mage. There might be some similarities with Ciri from The Witcher, but only to an extent. The Artefacts of Power is full of intrigue and clever twists, and it is anchored by a female character for whom we have both pity and respect. A truly underrated book series that would make superb television.
- The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind
We are cheating here a little bit as The Sword of Truth series did appear on television with Legend of the Seeker in 2008-2010. The series was fairly terrible, although it was more so let down by having a low budget for a subject matter that requires having a large one to do it justice. Fifteen years later, the story of the War Wizard Richard Rahl, the Confessor Kahlan, and the myths and monsters they must fight is worthy of a serious adaptation. Goodkind has been criticized for being a little preachy in his books, but the action, creativity, and intriguing characters would sit well on television. As would some of the epic battle scenes in the Sword of Truth series.
- The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb delivered one of the best fantasy trilogies in the 1990s. The Farseer Trilogy – Assassin’s Apprentice, Assassin’s Quest, and Royal Assassin – received both commercial and critical acclaim, giving an introspective look at high fantasy. It follows the tale of Fitz, an orphan who must come to terms with his magical powers in the face of political turmoil and intrigue. It’s sometimes not as “epic” as some of the books on this list, but it is much more cerebral. Hobb is continuously asked whether there will be a TV production. We wonder if she will one day relent.