The Hedge Knight


Stardog Champion
Oct 10, 2004
Dallas, TX, USA
I recently read this short novella in a fantasy compilation book. This is the first bit of fantasy I've read in quite a while that actually was what I consider good. Is this story part of a larger work, or does it stand alone? Does the character Duncan the Tall (Dunk) appear in any of Martins other works? Has anyone else read this short story or know what I'm talking about at all?

I may have found that rare fantasy author that IMO is worth a damn.
George RR Martin is considered to be the greatest living fantasy author. His ongoing Song of Ice and Fire series are very very highly rated! The Hedge Knight has been recreated in graphic novel form (which I own), and is a prequel to a Song of Ice and Fear. You should check out the George RR Martin forums on these boards, there are several.
I just watched the Flash trailer - what appeals most is the striking human postures - very real sense of movement. I'll watch out for this. :)

Khan posted up some illustrations from when they were working on the adaptation in this thread:

I wouldn't mind finding out how the Hedge Knight ties in with the general a Song of Fire and Ice series as well, actually.

As for the series itself - the setting can seem a bit confused sometimes - references to plants from Afghanistan, animals from the US, and Egyptian and Ancient Greek myth. However, the everyday mediaeval life is told excellently and carried with a sense of realism - aside from the fact that people bathe a lot, which tended to be a lost habit in European between the time of the Roman Empire and late Victorian England. The characters are very well written and varied, though, and are carried with good character dialogue. This is what really sucks people in, IMO.

Martin doesn't make any attempt to be a Tolkien clone - he writes of a mediaeval world with a fantasy slant to it - rather than a fantasy world with mediaeval elements.
yeah, all of those images are on the roaring studios page where the flash trailer is hosted. generally i'm not a big fan of the image comic style... but it should still be interesting to see it put to comic form.

and i noticed that too, about it being more medieval with a fantasy slant as opposed to pure fantasy. i think thats where he gets it right.
Thanks for posting that malfunkshun. It was fun to watch and the music really set the tone. ASoIaF is my favorite series and I really enjoyed the Hedge Knight short story in the second Legends book. You guys should really quit giving my new ideas for books to go out and buy.:p
I'll read it, but only if someone can promise me more psycho and demented characters are in this book as well.

Has anyone here read any of George's other books? Do they all involve complex plots and characters?
Dunk gets a nod in the main series though he isn't a character. And you've definitely found (IMO) a fantasy author worth a damn :D.
I'll read it, but only if someone can promise me more psycho and demented characters are in this book as well.

Not really. Hang on (remembers Lyonel Baratheon and Aerion Targaryen). Actually, yes, there are :)

Has anyone here read any of George's other books? Do they all involve complex plots and characters?

Most of GRRM's other work is in short fiction, most of which is collected in the Dreamsongs anthology (in two volumes in the USA). Even in short fiction he tends to write fairly dense stories with numerous characters and multiple plot strands, whilst always being very readable, though there are exceptions. Try Sandkings. It was his best known solo work before A Song of Ice and Fire and is quite straightforward, though pretty horrific as well.

As for his other novels: Fevre Dream is an absolute work of genius, very atmospheric and haunting. It's about vampires, steamboats and the Mississippi. The Armageddon Rag - a book which mixes horror with rock 'n' roll - is also excellent. Dying of the Light is fairly slow compared to his other works and is incredibly downbeat. I haven't read Windhaven or Tuf Voyaging yet.

After ASoIaF, GRRM is best known for co-creating, editing and being the main creative force behind Wild Cards, a lengthy series of superhero stories now making up twenty collections and novels published over the last twenty-two years. GRRM has written numerous stories in the series (along with a dozen or more other writers) but he is arguably the main creative force behind the venture. There are more twisted and crazy characters in Wild Cards than it is possible to describe in one post ;)
As for his other novels: Fevre Dream is an absolute work of genius, very atmospheric and haunting.
Atmospheric is the very word to describe Fevre Dream. The book feels like it was written in the late nineteenth century. In ASOIAF, GRRM displays his highly impressive story telling abilities. In FD, he shows his incredible aptitude as an author... this is real writing. It has to be great writing because I was engrossed in the story, the details, and the whole feel... yet I never felt real empathy for Marsh or Julian. GRRM hooked my on his writing, not his character development. With ASOIAF, it's been the complete opposite.
Martin doesn't make any attempt to be a Tolkien clone - he writes of a mediaeval world with a fantasy slant to it - rather than a fantasy world with mediaeval elements.

I love how A Game of Thrones made me think it was some high fantasy series with dire wolves and undead things going bump in the night and then BAM! I was dropped into the middle of a political thriller.

But I agree with Boaz on Fevre Dream. I felt no empathy for the main characters, I dislike the hook in general, felt only a morbid curiosity towards the antagonists and yet still devoured it like it was the last line of coke in the world and I was Whitney Houston.
I don't recommend reading Dying of the Light until you've pretty much exhausted all of his other material. Reading Dying of the Light first may turn you off to his other books. It's slow, kinda boring in many spots, and doesn't really end very happily. I certainly wasn't satisfied. But, hey, it was his first novel.
That's pretty good! Did you think of that one all by yourself?

Of course I did...

I never plagiarize and admit it.:rolleyes:

Oh and just to add my favorite quote of all time

"Crack is for poor people" Whitney Houston, when confronted with allegations she was high during an MTV Awards ceremony
I finally got a chance to read The Hedge Knight and it is excellent. For those of you who haven't read it, it's a great way to revisit the Seven Kingdoms while waiting for ADWD. It felt really good to be back in that world. There's no place I'd rather read about than The Seven Kingdoms.

For reference, I read The Hegde Knight in Dreamsongs Vol. 2. After years of searching bookstores, I managed to find a copy in my local library. I don't know why I never thought to check there. I was smart enough to check for Legends vol. 2 so I could read The Sworn Sword but they didn't have that. I wish GRRM would stop publishing these great stories in hard-to-find anthologies!
On my lunch break yesterday, I wandered into a huge used book/comic/record/cd/vhs/dvd/game store. Like a Chinese restaurant emitting garlic, it's the kind of place you smell from a hundred feet away... except the odor is musty. Stacks reach the ceiling... many resemble the leaning tower of Pisa. As I walked the aisles waiting for my buddy to look over all the old Batman and Flash Gordon tradebacks, one book caught my eye. Legends was perched, about seven feet off the ground, on top of a smaller pile. Something in my memory shouted, "The Hedge Knight!" The price of this hardback gem was handwritten on the title page... five dollars.

Suffice it to say that I devoured the first tale of Dunk'n Egg last night. I'll try not to spoil the story.

Being a short story, the style of presentation differs from the style of ASOIAF. If The Hedge Knight was part of a larger book, then it would've been broken up into two or three POVs... and seperated by other characters' POVs.

I liked the way that GRRM hit the ground running. Considering myself a veteran of ASOIAF, I enjoyed the numerous mentions of dozens of noble houses and their heraldry. I think a newcomer might be overwhelmed.

But, THK is not a grand political thriller like ASOIAF. It's a quick read that gives insight and emphasis to what we already know of certain houses and their motivations. This is especially true for House Targaryen. The Crown Prince, Baelor Breakspear, seems to be the fantasy representation of The Black Prince.

And the Black Prince leads me to this point... The Hedge Knight bears strong similarities to the 2001 movie A Knight's Tale. Both movies open with young sqires burying their knightly masters. Neither squire is knighted, yet both don their master's armor to achieve their dreams of glory and financial security. Both young knights seek to quickly establish themselves in tournaments. Both knights are faced with the quandary of jousting against princes of the blood. Both knights run into the Crown Prince. Both knights have a single psychotic nemesis. The futures of both knights are put into the capable, yet merciful hands of the Crown Prince.

Martin also uses many familiar themes from ASOIAF... the difficulty of teaching privileged youths humility and service... faithfulness... avarice... the psychological stability/instability of the Targaryens... the origins of Maester Aemon... the (sometimes complementing and often contradicting) twin pillars of heredity and ability that support knighthood... coming of age... the need for heroes.

The conflict between the Fossoway cousins, Raymun and Steffon, was particularly moving. Steffon was learning everything about knighthood from Raymun, everything except honor. It took a mere hedge knight to provide the outlet for Steffon's honor. I now need to reread ASOIAF with the Green-apple Fossoways in mind!

Similar threads