If you’re like me, you’re counting the days until George R.R. Martin finally releases The Winds of Winter, book six in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. Which can be pretty hard to do, since we still have no definite idea when it’s going to happen (at this point, I’m just hoping the year starts with a 2).
But what some readers don’t realize is that there’s more to ASoIaF than just the novels. Yep, Martin’s also put out a bunch of novellas set in Westeros that flesh out the world’s backstory and even feature occasional cameos from characters in the novels. (If you thought you hated Walder Frey now, wait till you see him as a bratty toddler!) What makes them a little hard to find is that they’ve been released in different anthologies over the last 16 years. You can still track them down, but you have to do a little hunting to do it. Or you can let us do the hunting for you: here’s our guide to those lesser known parts of A Song of Ice And Fire. Here’s hoping they’ll tide you over until…who knows when?
1. The Hedge Knight
Set roughly 90 years before A Game of Thrones, the Dunk and Egg stories follow the adventures of wandering “hedge knight” Sir Duncan the Tall and his squire, Egg. In this introductory story, Dunk is forced to pretend to be a knight when the hedge knight he squires for dies on the way to a tourney. And once there, he has to fight for his life after he falls afoul of an angry Targaryen prince.
Where you can find it: You can either pick it up in the Nook version of the anthology Legends Volume II, or in the George R.R. Martin retrospective Dreamsongs Vol II. If you want to read it in comic form, there’s also graphic novel The Hedge Knight.
2. The Sworn Sword
Dunk finds his devotion to chivalry tested when a feud breaks out between his sworn lord and the lord’s neighbor, a beautiful widow who must defend her honor.
3. The Mystery Knight
Dunk and Egg travel to a wedding tournament to fill their bellies and win some coin, only to be confronted with the growing threat of an armed rebellion.
Where you can find it: The anthology Warriors.
4. The Rogue Prince, or, A King’s Brother
Written in the style of an archmaester’s historical treatise, this novella details the life of Prince Daemon Targaryen, the infamous womanizer and dragon-rider, along with all the incidents that would lead to the bloody civil war known as The Dance Of The Dragons.
Where you can find it: The anthology Rogues.
5. The Princess and The Queen, or, The Blacks and The Greens
Picking up right where he left off in The Rogue Prince (although that was published after this story), Archmaester Gyldayn gives the full story behind the The Dance of the Dragons. If you’ve ever wondered just how dragons were used in battle, or how they died out, this story tells you everything.
Incidentally, this novella was written to replace another Dunk and Egg story, “The She-Wolves of Winterfell.” Here’s hoping that one gets published eventually, presumably in the Dunk and Egg collection that Martin has discussed releasing some day.
Where you can find it: The anthology Dangerous Women.
Oh, and while you might see some reference to other ASoIaF novellas (specifically, Blood of the Dragon, Path of the Dragon, and Arms of the Kraken), don’t be fooled. Those aren’t new material, but excerpts from the existing novels that ran in various magazines before the books came out!
Are you looking forward to The Winds of Winter?