After the deaths, surprises, and heroics in The Hedge Knight, Dunk and Egg continue their journey in search of the fair puppeteer Tanselle. Along the way, the elderly knight Ser Eustace takes both men under his charge, alongside another knight—and this one promises trouble. Peace is ever elusive for Dunk and Egg, as they are soon embroiled in the schemes of local nobility, while a darker, greater thread threatens to unravel long-held truths of the Battle of Redgrass Field.
In classic George R.R. Martin fashion, heroes and villains are never clear-cut, and political alliances threaten to slice the deepest. Yet one path lies ahead for Dunk and Egg: onward toward destiny. Join them as they venture along a now-familiar world but in a time all-new!
Taking place over a year since Egg has been entrusted to Dunk as a squire, the duo find themselves sworn to serve an elderly knight who has little left to his name, except his memories. As they return from fetching wine, they discover the creek bed is suddenly dry after only a few days. This leads them to venture further upstream to discover the Red Widow has ordered a dam be built. Wars have been fought for many frivolous reasons, but in a time of a drought, water is likely to strike one. As Dunk tries to act as a mediator between Ser Eustance and Red Widow, he finds himself in over his head. He’s unwisely sworn his service to a traitor of the seven kingdoms and finds himself attracted to a dangerously, powerful woman.
The thing I’ve noticed in this particular story is exactly how uneducated Dunk is. He refers to himself as Dunk the lunk often in The Hedge Knight, but he truly is unwise to many of the ways of the world around him. When it comes to women, it is his ignorance that makes him a blushing, stuttering fool. But for him to so blindly believe Ser Eustance’s tales is a huge mistake that nearly costs him his life. The other thing I’ve noticed is what a dangerous life he truly leads. Though I know Egg will rise to become King, I never realized just how violent the duals and troubles they encounter truly are. Even the prospect of dying from a plague is narrowly escaped because they were lucky enough to have been in the right place to avoid it. I fear there are even more threats looming over them as the Targaryen blood line dwindles down and Egg’s true identity could ultimately destroy them if it becomes apparent to the wrong person.
This novella was interesting because it helps with revealing even more of the history of Westeros. This particular one focuses a lot on the Blackfyre rebellion which was ultimately a civil war within the Targaryen family. It is this rebellion that causes both Ser Eustance and the Red Widow to be in the situations they are, both longing for a life that could have/should have been… had Ser Eustance chosen to fight for the other side, that is. This story isn’t as strong as the other, but where it fails in strength it makes up with intrigue and story telling.