(Epic trailer announcer voice optional)

From the creator of the biggest TV phenomenon, George R. R. Martin, comes another fantasy series that takes place in the same well-loved universe as Game of Thrones but with new characters and new adventures. Ok, it’s not actually new, but I only just got to read it so it was new to me. Fun fact that I think not many people that watch the GoT show know – the first books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series were written in the 90’s but only received mainstream success after the HBO series started airing.

So, what am I talking about? The Tales of Dunk and Egg, a sort of prequel to the events taking place in the Game of Thrones show. Set about 100 years prior, we follow hedge knight Dunk (a.k.a. Ser Duncan the Tall) and his squire Egg (Aegon V Targaryen) as they travel the land in search of adventures.

There are three novellas in this series so far, The Hedge Knight (1998), The Sworn Sword (2003) and The Mystery Knight (2010). I won’t go into much detail for each one individually but rather give an overview opinion.

If you’ve enjoyed reading the Game of Throne books, you’ll definitely have a good time with these. It’s basically the same style of writing, similar vocabulary and linguistic flavour. The narrative is constructed in the same way also, you have the story presented from the point of view of the one characters, in this case Dunk, with small inserts from a covert narrator.

As I’ve mentioned before, the setting is Westeros, mostly the Southern parts and some might sound familiar – The Hedge Knight takes place in Ashford, The Sworn Sword in The Reach while The Mystery Knight is set in Riverlands (specifically Whitehalls – a location that doesn’t seem to appear on the map now though the ending might give some insight as to why). Again, be prepared to receive a small history lesson along with the character bio (house, banner, allegiance – some people like having all these details).

Overall it’s what one might expect, a knight tale from a medieval time. What I did not particularly enjoy was the fact that Dunk comes a bit too close to the idealised knight figure that literature abandoned many hundreds of years ago. His loyalty and honour are almost to a fault. It’s true that his idea of women is not always as fair maidens that need to be protected but never touched and put on a pedestal but I was expecting more balls! We are reminded quite a few times that he was born in Flea Bottom, the toughest neighbourhood in King’s Landing and that he had to survive through poverty and need. What happened to that mischievous kid that had to grow an orphan? Much taller and stronger than the other boys he had to fend for himself. Did Ser Arlan of Pennytree clout him into meekness?

I might be a bit too hard on poor Dunk (“the lunk, thick as a castle wall”), he is still young and has much to learn. I’m sure Egg will help with that. The two characters complement each other very well. Egg is younger but with a sharp mind (and tongue) most likely due to his birth. An unlikely duo that will keep you entertained.

All in all, a good option in case you need a dose Westerosi life while waiting for the next book or the next tv series.


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