Ser Duncan and Egg Are Officially Coming to Our Screens in a New ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel and I Very Much Dig it
This is a story I can get behind.
It seems like HBO is working on a whole array of shows set in the universe of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire beyond Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon—from prequels to sequels to spinoffs. This is understandable, considering that not even the masterclass in bad writing that was Game of Thrones managed to dissuade fans from falling right back into Westeros when House of the Dragon premiered. (It’s me, I’m fans.)
And now not only is the second season of House of the Dragon finally in production, aiming to come and drag us all into the Dance of the Dragons sometime around the summer of 2024, but the studio officially confirmed it has ordered yet another spinoff. So here’s what we know.
Make way for A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight
HBO announced on April 12, through its social media channels, that it had given a straight-to-series order to produce A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight—which is going to be set, as the announcement itself says, “a century before Game of Thrones.”
Considering its title, it seems safe to assume that this new show will be based on a series of three novellas Martin wrote between 1998 and 2010—the Tales of Dunk and Egg, which include The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight. The novellas were also collected in an illustrated volume titled A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms in 2015, so that’s where all the titles for the show come from.
Not much else is known as of right now on this new project, other than the people who are going to step into the role of executive producers—George R.R. Martin, of course, and Ryan Condal, who is also working on House of the Dragon, as well as Ira Parker and Vince Gerardis.
More news is definitely coming in the upcoming months as to how many episodes this new series will have and who we can expect to see on the screen, but in the meantime, Martin’s works are there to give us all the detail we might need to go into A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, armed with the knowledge that only lore can give you.
Who are Ser Duncan the Tall and Egg?
HBO’s announcement says, very succinctly, that a century before the events of Game of Thrones, “there was Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire, Egg”. And in fact, the novellas tell three separate adventures this unlikely pair undertakes as they travel through Westeros—before they both step into very big roles in the shadow of the Iron Throne.
***Spoilers ahead for the events of all three Tales of Dunk and Egg, which reveal who both characters are. Be warned.***
While Ser Duncan the Tall is indeed a hedge knight as the title suggests, meaning a wandering knight who isn’t sworn to a particular House and travels to put his sword in service of whichever lord or lady might need it, Egg isn’t just his squire. He’s in fact Prince Aegon Targaryen—I know, another one, everyone in this family is named Aegon, we just have to deal with it.
The Hedge Knight, which sets the whole story in motion, is set at the tourney of Ashford Meadow of 209 AC—one of the most infamous in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. Aegon is just a child, the fourth born of Prince Maekar Targaryen, the youngest child of the current King, Daeron II Targaryen the Good and his Queen Myriah Martell. Aegon has a whole array of older brothers—including one Aemon Targaryen, who is studying to become a Maester of the Citadel.
By the time the events of the tourney end—which include the accidental death of the Prince of Dragonstone, Baelor—Aegon demands that it should be Ser Duncan who teaches him how to become a knight and that he won’t be trained by anyone who isn’t Ser Duncan. Eventually, Aegon’s father Maekar agrees, commanding his son to keep his head shaved to hide his Valyrian heritage and hide under the moniker “Egg.” So Ser Duncan and Egg set off on their travels throughout the Seven Kingdoms, which we see happen in the other two novellas of the series.
In the same year as the tourney, the Great Spring Sickness sweeps through the Seven Kingdoms killing King Daeron II, whose crown goes to his second son, King Aerys I. When Aerys I dies without direct heirs, the Iron Throne goes to his brother Maekar I.
When Maekar I dies, with his two eldest sons having predeceased him and his thirdborn Aemon refusing to take the throne as he was already a sworn Maester, the crown lands on Egg’s head—who becomes King Aegon V Targaryen, known as the Unlikely since he was the fourth-born son of a fourth-born son. The new King also names a new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard who is, you guessed it, none other than Ser Duncan the Tall.
And if you’re wondering how Egg is related to the Targaryens we’ve seen so far—Rhaenyra and Daemon in the past and Daenerys in the future—allow me to whip out the Targaryen family tree I always keep on hand and answer you. This comes with some spoilers for how the Dance of the Dragons in House of the Dragon is going to end, so be warned.
Like almost all Kings after the Dance—with the exception of the three immediately after—Aegon is a direct descendant of Daemon and Rhaenyra’s youngest child Viserys, who will ascend the Iron Throne as Viserys II. Aegon V is the great-great-grandchild of that Viserys II.
With his beloved wife and queen, Lady Betha Blackwood, Aegon will have five children, three of which are pretty important to the events of the realm closer to the time period we saw in Game of Thrones. One is his second son, Jaehaerys, who will succeed Aegon after the firstborn, Duncan, refused the title of Prince of Dragonstone to marry a girl from the smallfolk—the famous Jenny of Oldstones, subject of the song of the same name. Jaeherys will reign as Jaehaerys II, marrying his sister Shaera. Their children are Aerys II and Rhaella, and their children are Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys Targaryen—making Aegon Daenerys’s great-grandfather.
Aegon’s youngest child, Princess Rhaelle, is also a key element of the events of Robert’s Rebellion. She marries Ormund Baratheon as reparation for her brother Duncan choosing to break his engagement to the Stormlands to marry Jenny—and she gives him a son, Steffon, who in turn has three sons, Robert, Stannis, and Renly. And it was also because of Robert’s direct connection with the Targaryen dynasty that he was chosen as King after the Rebellion.
What could this new series look and feel like?
Now that the history lesson is over, I can safely say that I’m pretty excited about what this new show could bring to the ASOIAF television universe. It definitely feels like a better subject for a show, easily divided into episodes that are almost self-conclusive, than the proposed Aegon the Conqueror prequel—which I maintain would still work best as a feature movie if HBO is really intent on producing it.
While A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight would definitely have much less political intrigue than what we’ve been used to seeing on Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, it still has the potential to be reminiscing of certain parts of the early seasons of Game of Thrones—especially when Arya was travelling around with the Hound in season three.
Plus, Ser Duncan and Egg might be knighting around the Kingdoms and busy with “smaller” matters in minor castles, but it’s not like that particular period of Westerosi history is calm—then again, Westerosi history has never been completely peaceful and tranquil.
We’re right in the middle of the Blackfyre Rebellions, the struggles for the Iron Throne that opened up when King Aegon IV—Daeron II’s father and one of the worst Kings to ever sit in that stabby chair—legitimized all his bastards and bestowed the great Valyrian sword Blackfyre onto the first of these no-longer-illegitimate children, Daemon Blackfyre. Because of course it’s always the Daemons that have to create havoc in the realm.
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