Ser Duncan The Tall? An Easy Buying Guide to the History of Westeros

Brienne and Dunk - A Game Of Thrones Ancestry Primer

A little over a week ago George R.R. Martin was speaking at an event and confirmed that Brienne of Tarth was related to Ser Duncan the Tall. Now, for people who have only watched the television show, this meant absolutely nothing. 

In all honesty, even for many readers of the entire series of "A Song Of Ice And Fire" books this probably doesn't mean much. As far as the main series of George R.R. Martin books is concerned it was Ser Duncan's little buddy Egg who gets most of the page-time (Aegon Targaryen) and he wasn't even a living character. We mostly know about Aegon because we know his brother Aemon (Maester Aemon).

What you might not know is that there are other books in the official canon of Westeros beyond the official books in the "Song Of Ice And Fire Series." In particular, there were three prequels published as novellas (and as graphic novels) referred to in combination as the "Tales Of Dunk and Egg."

#GoT Fans: Is It Worth Reading About Dunk and Egg?

My answer is an enthusiastic yes!

Let's face it, as much as I love George R.R. Martin, sometimes reading his books can be a bit like reading a really interesting set of encyclopedias. 

I guess what I am saying is that Mr. Martin does not always put reader enjoyment at the forefront of his concerns. Don't get me wrong, I have read all of the books multiple times and I have seen every episode of the show. I love the books (just saying reading them can often feel a bit more like work than like pleasure). 

Dunk and Egg are about as fun and relaxed as Martin has ever been. Not only that but unlike the sometimes detail packed prose of the "Song Of Ice And Fire" books, Martin really lets these stories celebrate two pleasant and entertaining characters.

Sure it is a George R.R. Martin series of books, some terrible things happen, some lives are forever changed by tragic events but these stories are still relaxed fun. 

In addition, they really do provide valuable context for many of the events that transpire far in the Westerosi future. Finally, Martin has said that he wants to continue to write tales of Dunk and Egg and that the duo could make for a future television property. So, get ahead of the game. 

Reading Dunk and Egg the Easy Way

In each of the last two years, George R.R. Martin has given his fans a Christmas present.

Two years ago he released the coffee table "The World Of Ice And Fire" (more on that in a second). And last year, he released "A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms" (which is the compilation of the Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas).

As you see above, I took the easy route (although I had read copies of the stories from friends before). You can pick the compiled books here:

Reading "Tales of Dunk & Egg" The Slightly Harder Way

Tales of Dunk and Egg was originally something you had to really dig to find.

"The Hedge Knight" was the first in the series and was originally published in a compilation of stories called "Legends: Short Novels By The Masters Of Modern Fantasy." Here is a link to that book (crazy Martin didn't even make the cover).

Later it was also released as a Comic and as a Graphic Novel. You can find that here:

The second book was called "The Sworn Sword" and was part of the Legends 2 book. Here is a link:

"The Sworn Sword" also got graphic novel treatment:

The Third Book was called "The Mystery Knight" and was also originally published in an anthology. This particular anthology was called "Warriors." Here is a link:

Warriors (Lord John Grey)
By George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois

But for some reason, this short novel did not receive Graphic Novel treatment.

The Sweet Torture Of "The World Of Ice And Fire"

As mentioned before, if you are such a #GOT dork (like me) that you want to know every single little detail of Westerosi history with none of the silly narrative characters  to get in the way, jump right into this bad boy.

Honestly, I learned an immense amount from reading this book, but I can't say that the learning was entirely a pleasure. I would say it is a "must read" but break it up over time.

A Game Of Ice And Fire - Buy The Five Book Set

Look, I love the series too, but the books add infinite amounts of context to watching the series and to understanding the characters that we have all grown to love.

The television series has done an amazing job of trying to compress over 5,000 pages of books into 60 hours of television, but they left out a TON of the story. By reading the books, you will get a much richer understanding of both ends of the Game of Thrones (White Walkers and Iron Throne ends).

Reading the books will also keep you from getting stuck with the pointy end in your debates with your friends who have read the books. Also, you should get caught up now since, rumor has it, George might finally be nearly finished with Book 6 (The Winds Of Winter).

So, hopefully, this has gotten you all the information you need about the Game of Thrones series and the supplemental books. Enjoy!

Have you read the prequels or the history of Westeros? What did you think? Let me know, leave a comment!