I feel like I’ve been all Game of Thrones all the time around here lately. But, since my Dance with Dragons hangover hasn’t fully subsided yet and the next season is so close , I suppose that’s to be expected.
To fill the dragon shaped hole in my life, I dove into the Tales of Dunk and Egg. They are the first three in a series of novellas that take place in the ASOIAF universe approximately 90 years before the events of Game of Thrones. The stories follow the adventures of Sir Duncan the Tall, aka Dunk, and his squire, Aegon V Targaryen, aka Egg.
In a word, these novellas were FUN. I often joke that I know more about Westerosi history than I do American history, but it’s probably true. I study the ASOIAF genealogies, particularly Targaryen, to the point of obsession, so these were kind of like mini history lessons for our favorite dragon wielding family.
Dunk and Egg are both mentioned several times throughout ASOIAF:
- Remember in Clash of Kings, Maester Aemon explains to Jon Snow that he was offered the throne after his two eldest brothers died–Daeron from the pox and Aerion from drinking dragonfire while in exile. Aemon refused and took the black, leaving Aegon V to rule. That’s Egg! Aegon the Unlikely.
- In Storm of Swords, Jaime reads the White Book to learn more about Ser Barriston Selmy. We learn the Dunk is listed among the notable Commanders of the Kingsgaurd. Of course he’d be the Lord Commander of his bestie’s Kingsgaurd! We also learn that it was Egg who knighted Ser Barriston.
- Most recently, in A Dance with Dragons, Ser Barriston explains that Egg married for love and allowed his children to do so as well, leading to much resentment among the the high lords of the realm. We don’t know who Egg married yet… that piece is conveniently missing from the Targaryen family tree… but I have theories about that. A story for another day.
Maybe my geek is showing by nerding out over little details like this, but it’s one of the things that I love so much about Martin’s work. Everything is dynamic. The pieces are all moving and fit together perfectly. Even without looking for the connections, it’s fun to read light and easy stories that take place in the universe we’ve all come to know and love. If you can’t get enough of this story or this universe, I highly recommend these novellas.
The Hedge Knight
In the first novella, we see how Dunk and Egg begin their friendship at the Tourney at Ashford. We meet several Targaryen notables, including Prince Baelor, Prince Maekar, Prince Daeron, and Prince Aerion. Most importantly, we learn why Aerion is sent into exile… and it has everything to do with Dunk.
The Sworn Sword
The second novella gives us a closer look at the Blackfyre Rebellion through the recounting of Ser Eustace Osgrey to whom Dunk is sworn. We get to understand the conflict from both sides– Ser Eustace’s as a rebel and Egg’s as a Targaryen. Over the course of the story, Dunk and Egg manage to mend the rift between House Osgrey and House Webber. Dunk even gets a little love from the ladies.
The Mystery Knight
Dunk and Egg make their way to a wedding tourney that puts them in the wrong place and the way wrong time. This novella digs further into aftermath of the Blackfyre Rebellion. Most notably, we meet the Hand of the King, Brynden Rivers, aka Bloodraven. This is really exciting if you believe, as I do, that Bloodraven is Bran’s three eyed crow.