Overall Rating: 3.5/5
While we all await the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin has been working on some novellas. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a compilation of three novellas that were originally published as e-books. The nice thing about the print version are the beautiful illustrations (the inside cover illustration shown below).
The Hedge Knight
Individual Rating: 4/5
This is the first novella in the compilation setting up our hedge knight, Duncan the Tall, who wants to be a true knight. He meets a young, bald boy who wants to squire for him, Egg, who turns out to be Aegon Targaryen. Egg ran from his father doing as a child would and seeking adventure. When Dunk defends a puppeteer, it turns out he hit Prince Aerion of the realm in that defense, and thus must fight in a trial by seven, seven accusers against seven on the side of the accused. This story is more of an introduction to the characters and leads into the next adventures that they have together, Dunk becoming an actual knight with the offer of Egg being his squire. Rather than being a knight of the castle, Dunk takes Egg out on an adventure, their path taking them from Dorne to The Wall.
The Sworn Sword
Individual Rating: 3.5/5
A whole year and a half after the events of The Hedge Knight, Dunk and Egg find themselves among some problems in the Reach (the southwestern part of Westeros) just after the Blackfyre Rebellion (the war between The Black dragon and The Red Dragon that divided the seven kingdoms). In the Reach, Dunk and Egg learn that the water belonging to House Osgrey is being blocked by an enemy of the Osgrey’s, Lady Rohanne Webber, also called The Red Widow due to her many marriages and many times over becoming a widow. Dunk pledges himself to House Osgrey and aims to teach the people of the house to fight for their water against Lady Webber. When Dunk is the man sent to speak with Lady Webber, the outcome of both sides’ demands is rather interesting.
The Mystery Knight
Individual Rating: 3.5/5
As Dunk and Egg leave the Stony Sept to answer Beron Stark’s call to fend off the Greyjoy’s, an announcement for a joust pulls them from their travels. The joust is in honor of Ambrose Butterwell’s wedding to a Frey, and the prize is a dragon egg! The reader also gets a glimpse at a four-year-old Walder Frey at this wedding. Along the way to Whitewalls, Dunk meets some other hedge knights who are also going to the joust. At the wedding hall, Egg is suspicious of many of the banners, because many present fought on the side of the Black Dragon, not the Red Dragon. When Egg goes missing, Dunk sets out to find him, only to learn that Daemon, son of Daemon Blackfyre, was present, and Egg’s suspicions lead to trouble.
The Hedge Knight was enjoyable in that the reader really gets to see the characters of Dunk and Egg, and how their relationship forms. The other two novellas are Dunk, with Egg at his side, trying to solve some problem of the realm as a knight. All three are excellent and well worth the read, not to mention the illustrious illustrations that bring the characters to life even more. I would recommend this book not only for Game of Thrones fans, but any fan of medieval-type fantasy, and you do not need to read A Song of Ice and Fire before committing to A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. These novels are more light-hearted than their hundred-years-later counterparts, and the language is not as dense and hard to follow. I would say YES, you should read this book. It’s one of those fun role-model stories that both parents and children can enjoy.
“The end…of the beginning. More travels and more travails await out hedge knight and his squire in the years to come.”
-George R. R. Martin, Santa Fe, May 2015