Bantam Publishers ∙ October 2015 ∙ 369pgs
100 years before the events chronicles in Game of Thrones, there lived a hedge knight named Dunk and his young, bald squire called Egg. Together, they roamed Westeros, doing chivalrous deeds and getting out of scrapes and misfortune. Dunk has been tasked with teaching Egg how to act and react in a treacherous world with the intent of making him a better future ruler than either of his brothers had grown up to be.
What I Liked:
The style the book was written in is reminiscent of 16th century Knight Tales. Much like Don Quixote, complete with an episodic format and even the picaresque style popular in Europe in the 1500’s, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms explores the adventures of a low born turned knight who exemplifies the qualities of a knight more so than his high born peers.
The illustrations ran through out the novellas. The illustrations give the novel the feel of a children’s book, which looking at other’s reviews, has been problematic for some adult readers. Yet the content isn’t children’s content, it is still more PG than the show was (MA). I liked this about it because it fit in to the above mentioned style. The style Martin used was originally used at a time when very few people could read, so illustrations were a necessity.
The main character, Dunk or Sir Duncan the Tall, as he became known. Dunk is the rare person who does what is right even if it is hard. These characters are rare in books and even rarer in real life. But it’s that human need for good to win that makes the reader root for the person with that kind of strength of character, me included. You have a sense that Egg will grow to rule Westeros one day, and will be a much better ruler than ones that came before him or since.
What I Wish:
Family trees would have been a welcome addition to the book. I recently binge watched Game of Thrones, but even with that recent exposure I was unable to always remember family names or figure out how the characters in this book were related to the characters we meet in Game of Thrones. Family trees would have taken away that distraction of trying to fit the puzzle pieces together.
And likewise, the connection to Game of Thrones had been more apparent. The stories were treated like the reader wouldn’t have existing knowledge of the events that happen a century later, but I don’t think this added anything to the story. I believe it only hurt the story. I wish that history and the reader’s knowledge of it had been more embraced.
More dragons (and wolves) needed to make an appearance! Okay, not really, but I did love the dragons and wolves in GoT, as many other readers and watchers did.
To Read or not to Read
I loved the throw back style of the classic knight tales, and for that reason alone, I highly recommend this book to readers.