New Game of Thrones Prequel Will Introduce a Different Kind of Targaryen

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight will present House Targaryen's worst nightmare: another House Targaryen.

Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) in House of the Dragon
Photo: Ollie Upton | HBO

It was a big day for the streaming service formerly known HBO Max. Now called just “Max” (*Justin Timberlake in The Social Network voice* It’s cleaner), Warner Bros. Discovery’s premier streamer announced today its aforementioned name change and a slew of new TV titles. Among those new TV options is a second prequel set in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire world.

Though previously teased among many other potential Game of Thrones prequels, Max has now officially ordered an adaptation of Martin’s “Tales of Dunk and Egg” prequel novellas. The series will be known as A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, with the former part of the title referring to what the three novellas are commonly called when bundled together and the latter part referring to the name of the first novella.

Notably, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is also the name of a much-loved episode in Game of Thrones‘ final season – though this series likely won’t feature any elements from that installment. George R.R. Martin will serve as writer/executive producer, Ira Parker will serve as writer/executive producer. Ryan Condal and Vince Gerardis will serve as executive producers.

Max’s (ok, that still feels a little weird to type sans “HBO”) official description of the series reads:

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“A century before the events of Game of Thrones, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros… a young, naïve but courageous knight, Ser Duncan the Tall, and his diminutive squire, Egg. Set in an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living memory, great destinies, powerful foes, and dangerous exploits all await these improbable and incomparable friends.”

As we’ve discussed before, Tales of Dunk and Egg represents the Game of Thrones stories at their most warm. Though the prequel novellas contain much of the profanity and pointed violence of Martin’s main ASOIAF series, they’re also quite charming. Most of that can be attributed to the story’s two leads. Ser Duncan the Tall a.k.a. “Dunk” is just a lovable lug trying to do the right thing while his partner “Egg” (real name withheld) is a literal child. When viewed through the pair’s eyes, the Seven Kingdoms do feel a bit more whimsical.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the dangers of Westeros aren’t present in Dunk and Egg’s tales. The prequels are set during a particularly harrowing time in the history of the continent under Targaryen rule. While Game of Thrones takes place after the end of House Targaryen’s reign circa the year 298 and House of the Dragon takes place closer to the beginning circa 100, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight should be wedged directly between around 209. The political circumstances for House Targaryen (and therefore the realm at large) are complicated during the early 200s. And that’s because there are technically two House Targaryens. Allow us to explain the fake history of it all.

Aegon IV, also known as Aegon the Unworthy was the 11th Targaryen king to sit the Iron Throne and is widely viewed as one of the worst Targaryen monarchs ever. Aegon IV’s indulgent, lecherous ways during his life were bad enough but it’s what he did upon his deathbed that really screwed Westeros. Aegon fathered numerous bastards throughout his life and then, moments before he died in 184, he decided to legitimize them all. One of Aegon’s legitimized bastards, Daemon, established a new house and called it “Blackfyre” after the ancestral Valyrian Steel sword that Aegon IV had unwisely gifted him. Eventually House Blackfyre grew in influence, leading to major legitimacy crises for subsequent Targaryen king and many years-long civil wars known as “Blackfyre Rebellions.”

Neither Dunk nor Egg are directly engaged in any Blackfyre Rebellions in The Hedge Knight, but the historical circumstances still loom large over their story. By the time their narrative picks up, the first Blackfyre Rebellion is only 13 years in the past and the second one is set to arrive closer than anyone might think.

With House of the Dragon having just started production on season 2 and Max reportedly looking into an Aegon the Conqueror prequel, Game of Thrones fans will soon have a more complete understanding of House Targaryen and the Blackfyre pretenders who so vexed them.

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