Monday, May 16, 2016
Review: The Sworn Sword by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The second Dunk and Egg novella, “The Sworn Sword”, is set nearly a century before the start of A Game of Thrones, but like the first novella author George R.R. Martin expanses the historical knowledge of Westeros along with a fantastic short story. Once again Ser Duncan ‘Dunk’ the Tall and his squire (Prince) Aegon ‘Egg’ Targaryen get neck deep in a feudal clash, but one that has ties and repercussions from the great threat to the Targaryen Dynasty before Robert Baratheon--the Blackfyre Rebellion.
The story begins almost two years after The Hedge Knight, Dunk and Egg are in the service to Sir Eustace Osgrey who holds a small tower but reminisces about his family’s ancient glory and his own immediate family’s misfortune. A nearly two year drought has gripped Westeros after the Great Spring Sickness—think the Black Death—resulting in water and people being short, which is when Ser Eustace’s stream disappears. After Dunk and another sworn sword, Ser Bennis, search upstream they discover that Ser Eustace’s neighbor Lady Webber has built a dam to divert the water. Soon things escalate and the two nobles begin to lob threats and promise blood vengeance as Dunk tries to find a way to make peace.
Unlike the previous tale, The Sworn Sword takes a little longer to develop but once the story gets going both it and the backstory of rebellion more than make up for that slow start. Martin once described his writing style as ‘the tale grew in the telling’ and with The Sworn Sword the history of Westeros that later impacts the main series as well as Dunk and Egg is one of the most important parts of this story and one of Martin’s best written passages.