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George R. R. Martin’s A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms is an interesting addition to the wider world of Westeros, as first seen in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones. Our ComiConverse book review gets you ready for the read.
A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms: Analysis And Review
For those who may be unaware, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a collected series of three novellas, which were originally published in three separate and smaller fantasy collections. The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight are, therefore, not woven together in the same way as the various arcs and wheels found within Mr. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series.
These are the Tales of Dunk and Egg, two characters which end up being integral to the development of Westerosi history, but who operate at a distance from the world’s main power centres for the vast majority of these initial instalments.
Like some of the best comic stories that Martin has professed to love so much, we meet the first of our two main characters, Sir Duncan The Tall, in the smallest of circumstances. The story grows in the telling, albeit at a rather slow rate. Through Dunk’s eyes, we become more familiar with the feudal society of Westeros and the various social strata that exist within it.
Any analysis of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms must, unfortunately, be done against the backdrop of Mr. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice And Fire novels. In that context, there is an almost impossible bar to be met. However, since the Game of Thrones fan base are the book’s natural audience, it is a difficult comparison to avoid.
This book is not Game of Thrones, or A Feast For Crows, or any of Mr. Martin’s other masterpieces.
It is a smaller story, designed to help explore the history, geography and lore of an already established world.
Although A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms does take us on a journey through the eyes of Dunk and Egg, it does not operate on the point-of-view principles that Mr. Martin has become known for, and therefore his other devices, such as the unreliable narrator, are less apparent.
The committed Game of Thrones fan will also notice the absence of the various wheels and moving parts one can enjoy in novels like A Storm of Swords. Because the geography is fixed around the story’s two main characters, the reader is only vaguely aware at what may be taking place elsewhere in Westeros at any one point in time.
Mr. Martin as often spoken of his desire to explore the history of the Targaryen ruling family in these novels. The path for this exploration seems inexorably linked to Prince Aegon (Egg) Targaryen, who Dunk takes on as a Squire in the first of the three novellas.
The smallness of the story, which can be felt most prominently in the second novella The Sworn Sword, is helped by the knowledge that the overall arc of the plot is moving slowly towards the Tragedy at Summerhall; one of the darker and more mysterious events alluded to in Westerosi history.
Perhaps, in the end, this prize will be enough of a reward to preserve Mr. Martin’s loyal readership and see fans through to the end of the Dunk and Egg stories. Perhaps Mr. Martin has planted seeds that even the keen eye of this reviewer has been unable to detect; it would certainly be foolish to underestimate this author’s skills in that area.
Yet, A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms seems troubling flawed in other ways.
Because of the nomadic nature of Dunk and Egg’s journey, the characters that surround them are present for an extremely limited period of time. The lives and deaths of the wider character cast doesn’t affect the reader in the same manner as it does in A Dance With Dragons, because these characters are with the reader for such a short period of time.
The original novella format of these stories also plays a role.
One of the saving graces of this book is the amazing artwork of Gary Gianni (of Prince Valiant fame), whose wonderful illustrations can be found on nearly every page. They are pleasing addition and give the reader a much needed distraction, especially during the incredibly mundane happenings within The Sworn Sword.
Ultimately, for those who enjoy exploring Mr. Martin‘s world of Westeros, A Knight of the Sevens Kingdoms will be an enjoyable read. It is designed for expressly that purpose, and one gets the feeling that Dunk and Egg will have visited nearly every corner of the famous Game of Thrones map before the end.
But for those seeking more story in the same vain as A Clash of Kings or the largely unreleased The Winds of Winter, this book will be a disappointment.
For more than a few reasons, it feels small and podding, with all too few of the “bell-ringer” moments that fans of A Song of Ice and Fire crave.
One can hope that Mr. Martin is simply building towards more intensity in future volumes, if so however, more than a few readers may have to be convinced to give this series another chance.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan?
Have you read A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms?
Do you agree with our review?
If so please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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For more than a few reasons, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms feels small and podding, with all too few of the “bell-ringer” moments that fans of A Song of Ice and Fire crave.