Movies & TV

The New GOT Prequel Follows the Adventures of Dany's, Jon's, and Brienne's Ancestors

And how it ties to Brienne of Tarth and Jon Snow.
IMAGE GRRM
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You thought HBO would settle for one Game of Thrones prequel? Oh, you sweet summer child.

According to Variety, HBO has given the go signal for a new GOT prequel titled The Tales of Dunk and Egg. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that HBO has already started production on another GOT prequel: House of the Dragon, which will explore the Targaryen civil war (dragons and all) that occurred over 100 before the events of Game of Thrones.

The latest prequel in the works will fast forward a few decades to the time The Tales of Dunk and Egg took place, during the youth of Daenerys and Jon’s great-great-grandfather, Aegon aka “Egg.” In Westerosi history books, he’s later known as King Aegon V “The Unlikely,” and the stories that the show will be based on will explore the events leading up to that nickname.

No word yet on when the series will premiere, but 2022 is a good bet.

Here’s everything we know so far about The Tales of Dunk and Egg

The Books

The show will be based on a collection of George R. R. Martin’s short stories on the young prince Aegon (later King Aegon V). The Tales of Dunk and Egg series is comprised of three novellas: The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight. The three stories were compiled into one book titled A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, published in 2015. Almost as if GRRM knew his works would be snatched up by HBO, the three novellas could very well be translated to three seasons.

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The Plot

Dunk and Egg follows, well, Dunk and Egg. Egg is the nickname of future king Aegon V Targaryen, while Dunk refers to Ser Duncan the Tall, Egg’s future Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. At the time of the short stories, Dunk is a young man and Egg is coming of age. A hedge knight, Duncan is given the responsibility of looking after Aegon, who becomes his squire. The book follows the events that led up to this moment, as well as the adventures that followed as the duo travel throughout Westeros.

While there’s plenty of drama and intrigue in the books (as is the way of GRRM), it’s not the same caliber as Game of Thrones or House of the Dragon. While House of the Dragon will appeal to those who enjoyed Daenery's and Cersei’s story arcs, The Tales of Dunk and Egg will appeal to those who enjoyed the scenes between Brienne and Podrick and even Arya and Gendry.

Think of it more like The Hobbit, but with more intrigue and less saving the world.

The Timeline

The new show will take place around 80 years before the events of Game of Thrones, but around a century after that of House of the Dragon. House of the Dragon will cover the first Targaryen civil war, while The Tales of Dunk and Egg will cover the aftermath of the second Targaryen civil war, also called the Blackfyre Rebellion, which centered around the bastard sons of a Targaryen king aptly called “the Unworthy.”

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The novels mention a number of familiar family names like Stark, Lannister, and Frey, so expect to encounter many great-grandfathers of GOT characters in the show.

The Characters

Egg, the main character, will be about Arya’s age in the show. He’s the fifth child of Prince Maekar, who himself is the fourth son of King Daeron II. Like his father, Egg was unlikely to become king given how far he was in the line of succession. He has three elder brothers we’re excited to see portrayed in the show: Daeron, his unremarkable eldest brother; Aerion, a prime example of Targaryan madness; and Aemon, who we’ve already met in Game of Thrones as Maester of Castle Black.

There's actually a head nod to Egg in Episode 5, Season 5 of GOT when Aemon gives Jon Snow advice on how to lead the Night's Watch. In the show, he says, "Kill the boy and do what needs to be done," which is a shortened version of the full quote in Book 5: A Dance of Dragons.

The full quote goes: "Allow me to give my lord one last piece of counsel, the same counsel that I once gave my brother when we parted for the last time. He was three-and-thirty when the Great Council chose him to mount the Iron Throne. A man grown with sons of his own, yet in some ways still a boy. Egg had an innocence to him, a sweetness we all loved. Kill the boy within you, I told him the day I took ship for the Wall. It takes a man to rule. An Aegon, not an Egg. Kill the boy and let the man be born. You are half the age that Egg was, and your own burden is a crueler one, I fear. You will have little joy of your command, but I think you have the strength in you to do the things that must be done. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born." 

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Funny how Aemon advises his brother's descendent with the same words he told Egg. 

Aside from the Targaryen, Dunk will take up a big chunk of the show’s focus as the street urchin from Flea Bottom ascends the ranks without stepping over others to get his way. He’s one of the few honorable characters in all of GRRM’s books, which explains the nature of his descendant—Brienne of Tarth. That’s right, Duncan the Tall is the ancestor of Brienne, a fact GRRM revealed only a few years ago.  

But one character we’re definitely the most excited to meet: Lord Brynden Rivers, who we’ve also met as the Three-Eyed Raven beyond the wall. At the time of the novellas, he’s Hand of the King to Aerys I Targaryen. Rivers was one of the bastard Targaryens that participated in the Blackfyre Rebellion, only he fought against his illegitimate siblings and stood as a staunch Targaryen loyalist.

Beyond the Series

Like all things GRRM, The Tales of Dunk and Egg are unfinished. If the series gets past its pilot stage and goes into full production, it might get the thumbs up to do more than one season. And if that happens, the creators will have to make it up as they go similar to how D&D crafted the ending of GOT (which is different from what GRRM planned for his series).

GRRM plans to add a couple more novellas to the short story series, like Dunk and Egg’s adventures with the “She-Wolves” of the North and Dunk’s promotion to Kingsguard and eventually Lord Commander. Dunk and Egg remained close friends and allies in their adulthood and Egg even named his first son after him: Prince Duncan, the heir who gave up the throne to marry the mystery peasant woman Jenny of Oldstones. Their love story is memorialized in Jenny’s song, which made an appearance in Season 8 of GOT as “Jenny of Oldstones” and performed by Florence + the Machine.

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But while the novellas are more jovial than GOT with far fewer massacres and bloody weddings, the story of Dunk and Egg ends in tragedy. This is Westeros, after all. There are no happy endings here.

Beware, here be spoilers.

Brothers till the end, Dunk and Egg both perished in the Tragedy of Summerhall, a giant fire which took the lives of King Aegon V, Prince Duncan, and Ser Duncan the Tall, who is said to have saved the lives of many, including the baby Rhaegar Targaryen, who was born during the Tragedy.

Rhaegar is the brother of Daenerys and the father of Jon Snow.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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