A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: Being the Adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, and His Squire, Egg - George R.R. Martin

-- "I never suspected that one man could swallow so much water, not even a man as large as you, ser. Count yourself fortunate that I am ironborn. The priests of the Drowned God know how to drown a man and bring him back, and I have made a study of their beliefs and customs." The maester at Coldmoat is from the Iron Islands? Or did he just study at the Citadel, maybe a case of 'going native' so to speak. TELL ME.

 

-- "How many eyes does Lord Bloodraven have? the riddle ran. A thousand eyes, and one. Some claimed the King's Hand was a student of the dark arts who could change his face, put on the likeness of a one-eyed dog, even turn into a mist. Packs of gaunt grey wolves hunted down his foes, men said, and carrion crows spied for him and whispered secrets inhis ear. Most of the tales were only tales, Dunk did not doubt, but no one could doubt that Bloodraven had informers everywhere." Oh, I am so much more suspicious of every sentient creature in the ASoIaF  now. I was before, but now I am moreso. Wolves, you say? Hmmmmmmm....

 

-- "No, but there are eggs. The last dragon left a clutch of five, and they have more on Dragonstone, old ones from before the Dance. My brothers allh ave them too. Aerion's looks as though it's made of gold and silver, with veins of fire running through it. Mine is white and green, all swirly." I dare not venture on the ASoIaF Reddit to check out any theories on the subject, but isn't it interesting that the last dragon was described as being very small, sickly, and deformed, yet left a clutch of five eggs? Is that a lot, or few? Does it matter the health of a dragon or just maturity? How many eggs and how often did dragons lay before? Where are all those eggs/dragons? WHAT EGGS ON DRAGONSTONE? Did they use them in the freaking architecture? Cause seriously, good move in hiding them but please leave a note for the future residents.

 

-- "Those common men can be dangerous when they get it in their heads to start slaying lords and heroes." Reference that Reddit threat on the real theme of the novel series re: anarchy, (de)evolution of monarchies, rebellion, etc.

 

-- "The Freys of the Crossing were no nobler than the Butterwells. They owned a bridge instead of cows, that was the only difference." Given that the original series Lord Frey shows up here as a baby, well, especially amusing, I thought. In less than a hundred years, across his lifetime, opinion of the Freys doesn't actually improve all that much, but his ruthlessness about his family's (or rather, his?) honor seems to be much greater.

 

-- "He had once heard tell of a knight stuck so hard that he slept for forty years and woke to find himself old and withered." What? WHAT? That sounds like an awesome story. GRRM is just writing fanfiction of his own series, come on, man, give us a little thank-you-for-putting-up-with-years-of-waiting one shot at least.

 

But anyway, I'm glad I read all three in this compilation, I can't imagine having to read them separately nestled within anthologies. When I looked up the original publication dates, however, I was surprised to see that the first novella had been published back in 1998. Whoa. I mean, I know the Song of Ice and Fire series is over 20 years old, but wow... another sign that hopeless resignation is the normal feeling to expect from GRRM and his ongoing series.

 

I really don't feel any sympathy for him getting all the flak he does from fans about his writing pace; compare it to the brutal comments and harassment fanfiction writers get online when they take a few too many days to publish a promised update - and they don't even get paid! Yet many of them bear it with far more grace. Meh.

 

I grew to like Dunk over the course of the stories, Egg was amusing, but I think the people they meet along the way are the best parts. It's so gratifying in some over-obsessed nerdy way to see the ancestors of certain characters from the main series or the actual people some of the referenced 'urban' mythology is based on. I think the Fossoways made me smile the most.

 

Back to stalking the fanfiction archives in lieu of visiting the bookstore for any more Ice and Fire fiction.