Unlike A Game of Thrones with its epic scope and myriad of viewpoint characters, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms follows the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, sometimes referred to as Dunk the Lunk, and his squire, a bald, scrawny boy of eight curiously named Egg. In fact, before they were compiled into this beautifully illustrated tome, these novellas were known as “The Tales of Dunk and Egg.” Compared to the frequent grimness of A Song of Ice and Fire, this book is a breath of fresh air. My only wish is that it was longer, for I would love to read more of their adventures.
Set a hundred years before A Game of Thrones, the story opens with Dunk burying the hedge knight he served. In Westeros, even a hedge knight has the power to bestow knighthood on another, but it’s never clear whether the old man knighted Dunk or if the lad just took the old man’s sword and horse and set off to seek fame and fortune at the nearest tourney. Along the way, he meets an odd and likeable boy named Egg who wants desperately to become Dunk’s squire. Together, they set out on a series of adventures that will shape the fate of the Seven Kingdoms. And adding a twist to the tale, one of the pair is far more than he appears.
Like all three stories, “The Sworn Sword” contains a good plot twist, but it also offers the most intriguing female character of the three tales. I found myself hoping for a happy ending, but then reminded myself this was written by George R.R. Martin. He gave us the Red Wedding, after all.
What makes this novel so wonderful is its namesake, Ser Duncan – the Knight of the Seven Kingdoms – and his relationship with the young boy, Egg. It’s different than anything Martin has given us in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, and as much as I enjoy his epic series, these three little tales were probably the most fun I’ve had in Westeros since I discovered Martin’s works. He’s promised us more of Dunk and Egg and I’m eagerly awaiting their next adventure.