Dunk was a squire turned knight 100 years before the events in A Game of Thrones. He had just buried his hedge knight before striking out to seek his fortune (or at least a steady roof and meal). He encounters Egg, a weird little bald boy who pushes to become his squire. After naming himself Ser Duncan the Tall (rumored to be related to Brienne of Tarth), they head to a tourney at Ashford Castle, where Dunk has one shot to win or lose his armor, thus ending his short, knightly career. The tourney has competitions between such names as Targaryen, Tully, Lannister, and Baratheon. How could he possibly compete? To top off everything, he gets himself in serious hot water for being chivalrous, plus Egg has a giant secret. And that is just the beginning of A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin.
More below (a few spoilers if you haven’t read yet and plan to).
The book is a compilation of three George R.R. Martin novellas: The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight, the first of which was released in the 1990s, and is arranged in chapters as such. I’m really glad I read them like this instead of spaced-out as they were released (1998, 2003, 2010), because it might have driven me batty to wait so long.
What I really enjoyed about A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms was its simplicity. While the fictional history of the bloodlines and battles were included, the story never varied from Dunk and Egg. It does not jump from the story at Winterfell, to the story of The Wall, to the story of Kings Landing. It also was really positive – our unlikely heroes did not meet a horrible fate a la Ned Stark. It is just a good story, with enough familiar names sprinkled in to connect it to the GoT series.
The growing friendship between Dunk and Egg is heartwarming, even though Dunk does threaten to clout Egg every 5 seconds. They love each other and protect each other, and reminds one of another knight-squire relationship in the GoT series.
Gary Gianni‘s artwork is lovely and expressive, as one would expect from the Prince Valiant comic artist.
This book is highly recommended to both Game of Thrones fans, and those who are not. GoT fans will love the ancestry and familiar lands and struggles. It is an essential piece to any Game of Thrones collection. Non-GoT fans (who soon will be) will like it because it is a good story of a true knight, who finds himself in physical as well as moral battles at every turn.
Official book synopsis:
Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.
Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne, there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naÃ¯ve but ultimately courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals””in stature if not experience. Tagging along is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg””whose true name is hidden from all he and Dunk encounter. Though more improbable heroes may not be found in all of Westeros, great destinies lay ahead for these two . . . as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.
Featuring more than 160 all-new illustrations by Gary Gianni, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a must-have collection that proves chivalry isn’t dead””yet.