Tales of Dunk and Egg

by George R. R. Martin


Upon the death of a nomadic 'hedge knight', Ser Arlan of Pennytree, his squire Dunk adopts Ser Arlan's armor as his own, as well as his equipment, three horses, and remaining money, in hope of winning more gold at the town of Ashford, under the name of 'Ser Duncan the Tall'. En route, he gains his own squire in a boy nicknamed 'Egg'. At Ashford, Dunk sells one of his horses for a suit of armor by the smith Pate, and befriends Ser Steffon Fossoway's squire and cousin, Raymun Fossoway. Without proof of his knighthood, he is nearly barred from competition until Prince Baelor Targaryen vouches for him. Forbidden to use Ser Arlan's coat of arms, Dunk commissions an attractive young puppeteer named Tanselle to paint a new one. Dunk watches the first day of competition, with Egg on his shoulders. After several spectacular tilts, Baelor's nephew, Prince Aerion Targaryen, disgraces himself by killing Ser Humfrey Hardyng's horse.

When Dunk retires into the Fossoways' tent to drink with Raymun, Egg reveals that Tanselle is being beaten by Prince Aerion, who is offended at the notion of the puppet knight defeating a dragon. Dunk rushes to defend Tanselle and attacks Aerion; when the royal guard arrests Dunk, Egg reveals that he is actually Prince Aegon Targaryen, Aerion's younger brother. After meeting Prince Baelor again, Dunk chooses trial by combat rather than mutilation for his attack on Aerion, who demands a 'Trial of Seven' (in which two parties of seven knights contend on horseback). Steffon and Raymun, and later Aegon, promise to acquire Duncan's partisans; and Aerion's other brother Prince Daeron, called the Drunken, warns Dunk that his father will have three knights of the Kingsguard fight in the trial.

Dunk is met again by Pate, who presents him with a new shield, originally an old one that was re-rimmed in new steel by Pate and that Tanselle has painted in his chosen sigil - an elm tree silhouetted against the sunset with a shooting star - and left for him before departing. At the morning of the trial, Raymun brings Ser Humfrey Hardyng and Ser Humfrey Beesbury to Duncan's side; and Aegon brings Ser Robyn Rhysling and Ser Lyonel Baratheon (called the "Laughing Storm"). Steffon sides with the accusers for the reward of a lordship; and Raymun begs to be knighted and fight in Steffon's place. Dunk hesitates, because his own knighthood is dubious, and Lyonel grants Raymun his knighthood - however, Dunk is still one knight short. Finally, Prince Baelor announces that he will champion Dunk himself. In the resulting joust, Dunk is unhorsed by Aerion, but beats him into submission, and Aerion recants his accusation. The fighting costs the lives of both Humfreys; and Baelor himself is later revealed to have suffered a blow to the head, stuck by Maekar's mace, after removing his helm, perishing from the injury shortly afterwards to the lament of many present. Prince Maekar, Aegon's father, later offers Dunk a position in his household to train Aegon; but Dunk insists on permission to travel, and takes Aegon as his squire, under his former alias of 'Egg'. Thereafter Dunk and Egg set out to Dorne.