House of the Dragon is only heading into its second season, yet HBO is moving forward with another Game of Thrones prequel. (Of course, we first heard about it being in development back in 2021, hence the original date of this post, but this whole decade is a void of time.) This second series will be based on George R.R. Martin’s novellas about Dunk and Egg.
The famous pair, who became King Aegon Targaryen V and his legendary Lord Commander, Ser Duncan the Tall, began their time together when “Egg” was a child. He served as squire to Dunk, a lowly, brave hedge knight, as the two traveled all over Westeros. During those years they interacted and lived with the common folk. But they never fully escaped the clutches of Egg’s royalty and the troubles his family faced during that complicated time. Theirs is a remarkable story, full of adventure, intrigue, triumph, and tragedy.
Martin himself has said their tales make for the “ most natural follow-up” to his smash hit HBO show. And there’s reason to believe he’s right. Here are the reasons why a Dunk and Egg series will make for a spectacular spin-off.
We Will See the Westeros of the Other 99%
House of the Dragon will tell “The Dance of the Dragons,” the first Targaryen civil war. Like Game of Thrones, the series will primarily follow the most powerful figures in Westeros. But the Realm consists primarily of common people just trying to survive. Their experiences were, necessarily, not a priority in telling the epic story that followed Robert Baratheon’s death. And HBO’s other prequel, also set against a great war for the Iron Throne, likely won’t give viewers a chance to see that side of the continent much either.
But young Aegon Targaryen’s travels in (general) anonymity with Dunk, during a time of uneasy peace, provided him a perspective few in his family ever had. He interacted with people as far from the royal court as possible. Dunk and Egg’s time wandering Westeros will provide a totally different perspective of the Seven Kingdoms. That means totally different characters and stories, which will allow the series to differentiate itself from the other two Thrones shows.
A Delicate Peace and a Looming Threat Makes for Compelling Storytelling
Dunk and Egg met after the first Blackfyre Rebellion, the second great Targaryen civil war. Unlike “The Dance of the Dragons,” where mostly terrible people fought for power, the Blackfyre Rebellion was a battle between two worthy claimants. And the outcome very nearly went against Egg’s side of the family. The war inevitably splintered the Seven Kingdoms into two factions, even after it ended. The losing side did not quickly forget. They firmly believed, with sincere and understandable cause, that their king had been the rightful heir.
The wounds of the war were fresh while Dunk and Egg traveled during a time of peace. Not everyone Egg came in contact with had supported his side of the Targaryen family. The Blackfyre forces were not fully defeated. either For years they tried to reclaim the throne, a threat both Dunk and Egg were not immune from even while Aegon hid his true identity. Two of Martin’s three novellas embrace both of these circumstances with great success. This time period, when a tenuous peace barely concealed the deep wounds of the Realm, is ripe for great and compelling storytelling.
The Dunk and Egg Series Can Go Anywhere and Everywhere in Westeros
“The Tales of Dunk and Egg” are action-adventure stories. All three novellas (of which Martin has said he’d like to write as many as 12) take place in decidedly different locales. Yet all involve epic showdowns and battles. But they only provide a small glimpse into the places the pair went, the things they saw, the people they met, and the troubles they encountered. We know they went up, down, and across all of Westeros. They roamed from Dorne to the Wall, and crossed from the Sunset Sea in the west to the Narrow Sea in the East.
Game of Thrones showed us some truly amazing places, like the Eyrie in the Vale and Casterly Rock of House Lannister. But we never saw the important seat of House Baratheon: the ancient castle Storm’s End. Nor did we travel to the mysterious island known as the Isle of Faces, where Children of the Forest might still live. And we don’t know if cannibals really do live on the Northern island of Skagos. Dunk and Egg’s adventures are the perfect vessel to opening up the entire Realm—and maybe even beyond. They aren’t fighting a war. Two can move a lot easier than an army.
The Future Three-Eyed Raven
One of Game of Thrones‘ biggest omissions from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels was the Three-Eyed Raven’s backstory. In the books Bran’s mentor was known as the Three-Eyed Crow, a pale white figure who was more tree than man. (The character originally looked like that, but his appearance was greatly altered when they recast Max von Sydow in the role.) Long before he became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and disappeared beyond the Wall, the Three-Eyed Crow was the mysterious and feared Hand of the King, Ser Brynden Rivers. Many called him Bloodraven, though never to his face. His life story is one of the most fascinating and consequential in all of Westerosi history.
Bloodraven was one of many highborn bastards of the detestable Aegon the IV. Known as “the Unworthy,” King Aegon legitimized those children on his deathbed. That decision ultimately led to the Blackfyre Rebellion, fought between Aegon’s lawfully sired children and his legitimized bastards. But Bloodraven did not fight with his fellow bastard-born siblings. He stayed loyal to the crown and his half-brother, King Daeron II, Egg’s grandfather. Few though, including the common folk and even Egg, ever truly trusted Brynden Rivers. People believed he possessed dark magical powers that let him see everything, everywhere, at any time. We know from his future as the Three-Eyed Crow the whispers were true.
It’s hard to overstate how big a role Brynden Rivers played in Westeros. First as a member of the royal court, then beyond the Wall where he outlived his natural life by many years. He looms over Dunk and Egg’s adventures. A series about the duo is also a perfect way to explore one of the most fascinating and important characters the Seven Kingdoms ever knew.
Read more about Bloodraven, his abilities, and his importance with our “History of Thrones” series.
We Could Get More Dunk and Egg Written Stories
George R.R. Martin has always had big plans for Dunk and Egg on the page. In 2014 he said his “intent” was to “write a whole series of novellas” about them. But so far he’s only finished three, even though the first was published in 1998. An announced fourth, set at Winterfell, was supposed to be published in 2013. It still hasn’t been released. Considering we all might be Melisandre’s age when (IF!) he finishes The Winds of Winter, let alone the seventh and final book in A Song of Ice and Fire, we might never get another Dunk and Egg story from him. We might not even get more of their general story unless he finishes part two of his Targaryen family history, Fire and Blood. That’s a long of unfinished projects for a notoriously slow writer.
A TV series is our best chance at getting more tales of this memorable pair. That means meeting more great characters—heroes, villains, and those in-between—like the ones who populate the novellas. And since Martin has told so few official stories, a show would come with plenty of mystery and intrigue about what we will see. We know where their story is going, but not much about how they got there.
Westeros has thousands of stories to tell. But few are as perfect for the screen as those of Dunk and Egg.
Originally published January 22, 2021.