How Does ‘The Hedge Knight’ Tie into ‘Game of Thrones’?


The Big Picture

  • A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight
    is a
    Game of Thrones
    spinoff following two heroes before the main series, with a hopeful but tragic journey.
  • The Dunk and Egg story ties into major events in
    Game of Thrones
    , featuring King Aegon V and Ser Duncan the Tall.
  • Dunk’s heroic sacrifice at Summerhall sets the stage for Jon and Daenerys, essential in the War for the Dawn.

After the success of House of the Dragon, HBO is fully kicking off a second Game of Thrones spinoff, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight. Tales of Dunk and Egg is a series of short novellas by George R. R. Martin that tell a more intimate story on a smaller scale than the main series, following the two titular characters’ travels across Westeros. After crossing paths with the Targaryens at a tourney, Prince Maekar Targaryen tasks Dunk (Peter Claffcy) with looking after his son, Aegon (Dexter Sol Ansell), in the hopes that Egg will learn how to live among the common folk and not turn into an arrogant, out-of-touch prince like many of his siblings. The setup for The Hedge Knight resembles The Mandalorian, where a wandering warrior must take charge of a valuable child while completing various missions, and it could easily translate into a weekly episodic series.

The Hedge Knight begins nearly a century before the main Game of Thrones series, but Martin has confirmed that the story will follow the two heroes across their lifetimes. While Egg is initially far removed from the line of succession, he eventually grows up to become King Aegon V “The Unlikely,” and Dunk becomes the Lord Commander of his Kingsguard, Ser Duncan the Tall. While The Hedge Knight has a lighter tone than Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, tragedy underlies the story of both characters, and their sacrifice sets up crucial events in Game of Thrones.

Game Of Thrones

Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for millennia.

Release Date
April 17, 2011

David Benioff, D.B. Weiss

Main Genre



From a Boy and Hedge Knight to a King and Lord Commander

While Martin hasn’t confirmed the official number of short stories, he’s claimed it will take at least 7-12 stories to tell the full tale of The Hedge Knight, likely ending with their involvement with a mysterious historical event known as the Tragedy at Summerhall. While Egg is still a child in the published short stories, he grew into a good king who faced significant resistance during his reign. While adventuring with Dunk, Egg learned what it was like to live as one of the struggling smallfolk, dealing with their day-to-day problems and the threats to their land from Lords and crooks alike. As king, he gave common folk new rights that protected their lands and gave them more independence from their lords, which led to many noble houses rising in rebellion. Aegon V also dealt with several Blackfyre rebellions – a Targaryen cadet branch that plagued Westeros with civil war for years. To make matters worse, Aegon’s children defied his marriage betrothals and caused fractured alliances with many of the great houses. As conflicts accrued during his rule, Aegon became convinced that bringing dragons back into the world was the only way to establish Targaryen dominance over the realm. This is where Summerhall comes in.


‘Game of Thrones’: The Targaryen Family Tree From Aegon the Conquerer to Jon Snow

Fire and blood and a lot of wigs.

The Mystery of Summerhall

Egg summoned all his family to Summerhall to celebrate the pregnancy of his granddaughter, Rhaella. The castle mysteriously erupted in flames during this gathering, killing The Hedge Knight and wiping out most of the Targaryen line. There is a lot of mystery around what happened at Summerhall, but most sources agree that Egg tried to enact a ritual to hatch several old dragon eggs. Egg had enlisted pyromancers to use wildfire, supposedly hoping to ignite the stone eggs and give birth to a new generation of dragons, similar to how Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) carried her dragon eggs onto a burning funeral pyre at the end of Game of Thrones Season 1.

Despite being part of Egg’s Kingsguard, Dunk defied his duty to protect the king and helped evacuate people from the castle before it burnt down. Princess Rhaella was one of the few Targaryens to escape the fire, likely rescued by Dunk. Rhaella went into labor immediately after her escape and gave birth to Rhaegar Targaryen (Wilf Scolding), Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) father, as Summerhall burned beside her. Rhaella survived the tragedy at Summerhall along with Aerys, who would later become the Mad King, and they eventually gave birth to two more children, including Daenerys.

Jon & Daenerys Owe Their Lives To Dunk

In Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) killed the Night King in one of the most controversial moments in the series. However, the books suggest that either Jon or Daenerys will eventually become “Azor Ahai,” the prophesied savior in the Game of Thrones universe who will defeat the White Walkers. Azor Ahai will lead the war against the Others, and between Jon’s heritage and Daenerys’ dragons, both characters are essential to the War for the Dawn. But without Dunk’s heroic sacrifice at Summerhall, neither Jon nor Daenerys would have been born. Dunk’s search for purpose is a recurring theme in the short stories. When the beloved Targaryen heir, Baelor “Breakspear,” died protecting Dunk in battle, it forced Dunk to question his role in the world and why, “a great Prince died so a Hedge Knight could live.” In the third short story, The Mystery Knight, Daemon Blackfyre sees visions of Dunk in his prophetic dreams, but isn’t sure how he fits into the future of Westeros. The birth of Jon and Daenerys gives the reader an answer to Dunk’s question, as his actions are integral to the overarching story of Westeros and the War for the Dawn.

There are a lot of stories to tell between the first Season of The Hedge Knight and the tragedy at Summerhall. Nevertheless, by examining the fate of Ser Duncan the Tall and King Aegon V, it becomes clear that the narrative will smoothly tie into Game of Thrones. If the series is faithful to the books, The Hedge Knight will no doubt feature small cameos from the likes of a young Maester Aemond (Peter Vaughan) and the reviled Walder Frey (David Bradley) to further tie the show into the Game of Thrones canon. The Hedge Knight has no official release date, but the series has already cast their leads with many fans looking forward to the live-action interpretation of these characters. Fans who don’t want to wait that long to revisit Westeros can watch House of the Dragon Season 2 when it premiers this summer.

Game of Thrones & House of the Dragon are available to stream on Max in the U.S.

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