HBO is adapting George R.R. Martin’s Dunk & Egg stories

HBO is adapting George R.R. Martin’s Dunk & Egg stories

HBO’s world of Westeros might be getting even bigger. Variety reported yesterday that the network is working to develop a new series set in the same world as Game of Thrones based on George R.R. Martin’s Dunk and Egg novellas, which are set nearly a hundred years prior to the events in the main series.

Variety cautions that efforts on the project are in “early” development and that it doesn’t have a writer or actors signed up for it, but that it’s a high priority for HBO. Should it make its way through the development process, it would join HBO’s other upcoming Game of Throne series House of the Dragon, which is set three centuries before the main series.

At the present moment, the Dunk and Egg stories consist of three novellas, The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight, which Martin published in a handful of anthologies—Legends (1998), Legends II (1999), and Warriors (2010), and were later collected in 2015 in A Knight of Seven Kingdoms. They’ve also been adapted into graphic novels.

The stories follow a hedge knight (a lone knight that wanders throughout the Seven Kingdoms), Ser Duncan the Tall (Dunk), and his squire, Aegon V Targaryen. Both would go on to prominent roles within Westeros: Duncan would become a member of the Kingsguard, while Aegon would become king of Westeros. The Hedge Knight follows Dunk after his master dies, and he takes up his armor to take part in a tournament, picking up a young boy—Egg—along the way. In The Sworn Sword, the pair contend with the rivalries between several competing nobles amidst a devastating drought in Westeros, and in The Mystery Knight, they enter a tournament to win a dragon’s egg, only to get more than they bargained for.

Back in 2011, Martin indicated that he had plenty of more stories for the pair, saying that he wanted to “take these two characters through their entire lives and that will probably require, I don’t know, eight, nine, ten, twelve novellas.”  Whether or not Martin will get to those is up for debate—he’s recently claimed that his focus is on completing the next installment of the Song of Ice and Fire series, Winds of Winter.

When HBO brought Game of Thrones to a close back in 2019, it did so with the understanding that the larger franchise would continue in some form. As of 2017, Martin revealed that there were five successor shows in development, but said at the time that they weren’t doing Dunk & Egg:

“Eventually, sure, I’d love that, and so would many of you. But I’ve only written and published three novellas to date, and there are at least seven or eight or ten more I want to write. We all know how slow I am, and how fast a television show can move. I don’t want to repeat what happened with GAME OF THRONES itself, where the show gets ahead of the books. When the day comes that I’ve finished telling all my tales of Dunk & Egg, then we’ll do a tv show about them… but that day is still a long ways off.”

If Variety‘s reporting is accurate, it seems as though HBO has changed Martin’s mind and begun work on the series, even if he hasn’t finished the books that he intends to write.

A show about Dunk & Egg does make sense for HBO, which has been working to figure out the right story to tell to continue the franchise: it canceled a prequel series set ten thousand years prior to Game of Thrones that had been written by Jane Goldman and starred Naomi Watts (it has filmed its pilot episode), and shed a couple of the other shows that it had in development before settling on House of the Dragon, loosely based on events in Martin’s Fire & Blood book. That show is to be set around 300 years prior to GoT, and a Dunk & Egg series would bridge the gap between the two shows.