HBO making new Game of Thrones prequel: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Tales of Dunk and Egg
Tales of Dunk and Egg /

First came Game of Thrones, HBO’s game-changing fantasy show. The series, based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, became a phenomenon. HBO generally doesn’t make prequels or sequels to its series, but Game of Thrones was too big a hit to ignore, so it approached the ending, the network commissioned people to work on spinoff ideas, and asked Martin what shows he’d like to see.

As Martin relayed in the book Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, he pitched HBO two ideas: one was a show about the Dance of the Dragons, the civil war that pit members of the Targaryen family against each other well over 100 years before the events of Game of Thrones. That idea eventually became House of the Dragon, which just starting filming on its second season.

The other idea Martin pitched was a series based on his Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas. These stories, which start off some 90 years before Game of Thrones (the dragons have died off by this point, although there are still people around who remember them) follow the exploits of a loyal-but-naive hedge knight named Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire, Aegon V Targaryen, aka Egg. Aegon is a Targaryen prince, but he’s so far down in the line of succession that no one really cares if he goes traveling around Westeros with a random knight. Together, they go from place to place solving problems and having adventures, running into major players from the time as they do.

George R.R. Martin will serve as a writer on A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight

Now, The Hollywood Reporter has it that a Dunk and Egg series will be coming to Max, which is now the official name of the streaming service HBO Max. The full title of the series is A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight. (I kinda wish they’d shorten it to just A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.) Here’s the official description:

"A century before the events of Game of Thrones, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros. A young, naive but courageous knight, Ser Duncan the Tall and his diminutive squire, Egg. Set in an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living memory, great destinies, powerful foes and dangerous exploits all await these improbable and incomparable friends."

House of the Dragon writer Ira Parker will write on the new show. Interestingly, George R.R. Martin himself is also on board as a writer. He hasn’t written a script for a Game of Thrones show since “The Lion and the Rose,” the second episode of the fourth season of Game of Thrones, which aired way back in 2014. That was the one where King Joffrey died, incidentally.

We’re basically now guaranteed to never get The Winds of Winter

One of the reasons Martin stepped back from writing scripts was so he could focus on writing The Winds of Winter, the long-in-coming sixth book in his Song of Ice and Fire series. But HBO couldn’t ignore the profit potential of Game of Thrones spinoffs, and Martin isn’t willing to let them go ahead without input from him. If fans were concerned before that Martin was spreading himself too thin and not leaving himself enough time to work on Winds, this isn’t likely to encourage them.

Also, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is likely to run into the same problem that Game of Thrones ran into: the show will outpace the source material. So far, Martin has three three novellas in the series — The Hedge KnightThe Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight, collected in one book called A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms — but he has plans to write “seven or eight” more. But with Winds not complete, another Song of Ice and Fire book to be written beyond that, shows to produce, and more, it seems pretty unlikely that he’ll write more novellas before the show catches up to him.

Then again, maybe he could use the TV series as a way of writing more, and it’s cool that he’s on board in a hands-on capacity.

The birth of the Game of Thrones cinematic universe

We’ve also heard a lot about HBO developing a Game of Thrones prequel show about Aegon the Conqueror lately, although personally, I hope the network stops here for a while. From the start, the two best ideas for Game of Thrones spinoffs were a show about the Dance of the Dragons and a show about Dunk and Egg. Those were the most compelling stories. Now that we have them, I’d prefer HBO perfect those series rather than cast about for new ones. I’d hate for the Game of Thrones universe to overexpose and dilute itself, and as it stands we seem precariously on the edge of that.

We don’t know when A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms might come out. And remember, this series is teed up for Max, not HBO proper. Meanwhile, the second season of House of the Dragon is due out sometime in 2024.

Next. Every Game of Thrones spinoff in development HBO, ranked by hype. dark

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