NOTE: As with the first two in the series, I read The Mystery Knight as part of an anthology. In this case, it was Warriors, edited by George R.R. Martin himself along with some dude named Gardner Dozois, who I’ve never heard of before. Unlike with the other two anthologies, Warriors for the most part consists of original fiction by authors that is not tied in to their previous works. This means little fear of spoilers, so I’m going to read it and do a separate review. Because The Mystery Knight is 104 pages and the rest of the anthology is over 600, I feel justified in this decision.
The Mystery Knight, the third novella in the Tales of Dunk and Egg series, is probably my favorite. There’s just something so fun about seeing Westeros like this after having lived in Martins’ A Song of Ice and Fire series for so long. All of the events in this series have long slipped into history, if not into legend, by the “present day”. It’s a different Westeros, one in peace (albeit threatening to break out into war), but it’s also the exact same Westeros. Still filled with petty humans supporting or betraying their petty legacies, their human concerns, their selfish needs. It’s still full of complicated people who intereact in complicated ways (which is my favorite part of reading Martin).
I feel sort of guilty using that word: fun, in this context. Because even though I’m having fun, for fuck sure none of the characters are, especially poor Dunk, our hero.
Dunk and Egg are making their haphazard way across the seven kingdoms of Westeros, and with an idea of going north to the Wall, are waylaid at a wedding. Egg senses something amiss right away, but Dunk is mostly concerned with making a good impression on his fellow knights (including the hedge knights). He would like to be perceived as something other than Dunk the Lunk, Dunk the Absolutely Ginormous. And like the tournament at Ashford, he somehow manages to blunder into a situation that’s much more complex and dangerous than he or Egg at first realized.
I don’t want to say too much because: spoilers, but I will say that the twists and turns of the plot were equally as satisfying as the dialogue, the atmosphere, and the subtle character work, as well as Martin’s constant dwelling on themes that threaten to punch you in the feels when you’re least expecting it. Can’t wait for the fourth novella to come out (when????), as it’s called The She-Wolves of Winterfell, and duh excitement because WINTERFELL.