In addition to the main events in his Song of Ice and Fire series, Martin has also written a couple of novellas set a century before the events of the series about a fledgling hedge knight. They’ve been published in anthologies, but are collected here for the first time, with some great illustrations by Gary Gianni.
In the first story, “The Hedge Knight,” readers get to meet Dunk for the first time, who is burying his late lord and master whom he was apprenticed to. Before the man died, he knighted Dunk, as was his right. Now Dunk spends his days traveling from town to town in search of jousting tournaments in an effort to earn some coin as well as notoriety as a mystery knight. Along the way he also gains a most unusual squire in Egg, a young boy whose head is completely shaven; he also belongs to a very interesting family.
“The Sworn Sword” features the unlikely duo dealing with an issue involving a river during a very hot summer where Dunk meets a vivacious young redhead. In the final tale, “The Mystery Knight,” Dunk and Egg once again find themselves at a jousting tournament, but there is a lot more going on here than just a number of knights titling at one another.
In some ways, these stories are on par and perhaps a little better than the lengthy books, for they are simpler, more straightforward and Martin seems to be having more fun in this world when it’s not tied up with the giant, overwhelming series. Though the fun is also in reading familiar names and knowing the important people in history they will become. As for the illustrations, they are numerous and appear on almost every page, giving life and vitality to the entertaining book that is A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.
Originally written on December 4th, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.
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