11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Prequel to A Song of Ice and Fire,
This review is from: The Hedge Knight - Second Edition (Paperback)
The Hedge Knight by George RR Martin first saw light as a 1998 prose short story, published in Robert Silverberg's Legends anthology (but now available in his Dreamsongs collection from Gollancz). This edition is the graphic novel version, superbly illustrated throughout by Mike S. Miller, whilst Silverberg contributes a foreword and a section on heraldry at the end is provided by Elios Garcia and Linda Antonsson of the Westeros.org website. As a bonus there is also a short excerpt from the sequel, The Sworn Sword (available in graphic novel format at the end of 2007 or start of 2008), in the second edition of the graphic novel.
The story opens 89 years before the events of A Game of Thrones. Lord Ashford of Ashford has called a great tourney and noble warriors and knights from all the Seven Kingdoms have arrived to take part and display their prowess on the field. Among them is Ser Duncan the Tall, a hedge knight seeking his fortune. He finds himself joined by an irritating boy determined to become a squire, Egg, and eventually, reluctantly agrees to take him on. Dunk's plans to make his mark in the lists are dealt a serious blow when he provokes the wrath of Prince Aerion Targaryen, and the story - and the history of Westeros - is wrenched onto a different path.
The story is superb. George RR Martin is an acknowledged master of the SF&F short story and that is evident in The Hedge Knight, which is concise but so tightly and meticulously plotted it's difficult not to just gawp at it in admiration. GRRM employs his usual historical fidelity, showing the tremendous risks that young, poor knights took by fighting in tourneys (a single loss can result in total financial ruin and destitution), whilst colouring it with the pomp and pageantry of the Seven Kingdoms. Miller's artwork is excellent throughout, capturing the characters well and the landscape and heraldry in vivid detail. The detail in the story is also excellent, setting up plot points in the main novels almost undetectably. Ever wonder why the Fossoways are divided into a 'green' and 'red' branch? The answer is provided here. We also see the start of the unlikely chain of events that led to Prince Aerys (not even born at this point) taking the throne as the Mad King and thus kick the entire storyline of the novels into gear.
This is a brilliant story, one of George RR Martin's finest works of whatever genre and medium, and excellently presented. One for both general fans of A Song of Ice and Fire and for the dedicated GRRM collector.