George R.R. Martin can’t stop writing. The pages might not be The Winds of Winter, much to A Song of Ice and Fire fans’ dismay, but no one can say the 74-year-old author doesn’t Do the Work. His latest project: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, a new spinoff of Game of Thrones to join HBO and Max’s House of the Dragon, which is gearing up for a second season. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms was previously announced along with plans to reboot HBO Max as “Max,” the rebranded streaming service set to launch on May 23.
Honestly it sounds like a bit of a headache! But wherever the media winds blow, Martin sails — not only will he produce the series like he has the previous two installments, but he’ll also pen all the episodes alongside House of the Dragon writer Ira Parker.
True to his web 1.0 lineage, the Max announcement prompted Martin to post an update on his blog about the development of the series, in which he clarified his intentions and hopes for the series. Fans of the authors’ prose are already familiar with the source material, a series of short novellas following the adventures of a knight, Ser Duncan the Tall, and his squire Egg, who in the history of Westeros goes on to become none other than King Aegon V Targaryen. “Dunk & Egg” are fan-favorite characters and were long been rumored to either be incorporated into the main Game of Thrones series, or spun off into their own show when the flagship series wrapped up. Now they’re finally getting their moment — but Martin was never going to give his readers the pleasure of hearing “Dunk & Egg” in an HBO show name. As he writes in his blog:
The working title will be A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS: THE HEDGE KNIGHT. Whether that will be the final title, I can’t say for sure… beyond saying that no, it won’t be called TALES OF DUNK & EGG or THE ADVENTURES OF DUNK & EGG or DUNK & EGG or anything along those lines. I love Dunk and I love Egg, and I know that fans refer to my novellas as “the Dunk & Egg stories,” sure, but there are millions of people out there who do not know the stories and the title needs to intrigue them too. If you don’t know the characters, DUNK & EGG sounds like a sitcom. LAVERNE & SHIRLEY. ABBOTT & COSTELLO. BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD. So, no. We want “knight” in the title. Knighthood and chivalry are central to the themes of these stories.
Martin says HBO has given A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms a full season 1 order of six episodes. He envisions the full series as a kind of anthology based on the three existing Dunk & Egg novellas: “The Hedge Knight,” “The Sworn Sword,” and “The Mystery Knight.”
“The Dunk & Egg novellas are fully-fleshed narratives more like the novels of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE than the imaginary history of FIRE & BLOOD,” Martin notes in his blog, “The stories are right there on the page, and our goal is to produce faithful adaptations of those tales for the screen.
The author also says that while the three novellas would comprise the first three seasons, he envisions the show going well beyond what already exists. The issue: He really wants to write a bunch of other Dunk & Egg novellas to inspire season 4 and beyond.
Before we reach the end of the published stories, I will need to find time to write all the other Dunk & Egg novellas that I have planned. There are… gulp… more of them than I had once thought. There’s “The Village Hero” and the Winterfell story, the one with the She-Wolves, and maybe I need to write that Dornish adventure too to slip in between “The Hedge Knight” and “The Sworn Sword,” and after that there are… ah… more. I just need to finish THE WINDS OF WINTER, and then do either A DREAM OF SPRING or volume two of FIRE & BLOOD, and slip in a new Dunk & Egg between each of those in my copious spare time… and that will keep me ahead of Ira and his merry crew… for a few more years.
The man works. Let’s not forget it.
There is no timeline for A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, but Martin says writing on the full season is well underway. Meanwhile, production on House of the Dragon season 2 began in mid-April for a suspected 2024 premiere. In December, Martin swore he only had 500 pages of Winds of Winter to write, so… who knows when we’ll get that. But hey, maybe you have three Dunk & Egg novellas to read. Do your work and give the man his space!