Tales of Dunk and Egg: The Hedge Knight (Part III)

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And we back with that third and final installment of this review of the The Hedge Knight, a Game of Thrones prequel. In the first installment of the review, we saw Ser Duncan the Tall get his start as a hedge knight after the passing of his mentor. Then we had the pleasure of witnessing the cunning Egg join Dunk on his journey to compete in the tourney at Ashford Meadow, much to his chagrin. In Part II of the review, drama started to unfold as Dunk came to the rescue of his puppet girl crush. Unfortunately for the honorable young lad, he saved the girl from one of the most powerful princes in the Seven Kingdoms and you can’t be going around putting the beats on royalty without some consequences. Hope y’all enjoyed the Pistol Pete/Jayson Williams/CP3/Steph Curry with the rock boy alley-oop set up. I’m bout to go 92 Shaq Nasty on this Part III finale and slamma jamma this GoT prequel home!

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With Dunk now in custody and Egg Aegon no longer hiding in secret, we have ourselves a very new situation. Dunk is being held in the cells of Ashford and is just sulking by the window trying to get a glimpse of some action, holding back tears.

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Egg stops by draped in the finest garments north of the Blackwater to hand deliver some grub for the gallant knight. Dunk hits him with a “Thanks lying lil homie, or is it, thanks lying lil homie your grace?” And Egg is like, “Yeaaaahhh sorry about that. My drunk uncle shaved my head and forced me to hideout with him until the tourney blows over because he’s kinda trash on the battlefield. So, we still cool. Unless we’re ever at court, then it’s royal titles all day.” After going full POW hungry on that grub, Egg walks Dunk to go see Prince Baelor about the fate of this bold hedge knight. Breakspear dismisses Egg and lays it on Dunk thick. He was basically like, “Prince Maekar is tight. You punched and kicked his son, and he will have justice one way or another. By right, they could take your hand for punching someone of such noble birth…oh and your foot too. You did kick the little menace in the face and knock out a tooth or two, right? Yeah, that’s treason son.” But guess what? The twisted ass fate the Gods have drawn up for him doesn’t include severing a hand and foot. Instead Maekar and Daeron the wino (who is also accusing him of kidnapping Aegon for shits and giggles) have decided to invoke a centuries-old Andal tradition and judge Dunk with a trial by seven. Prince Aerion gets to select six of the finest knights in the kingdom to go up against Dunk and his 6. That’s right folks, Ser Duncan the Tall has to find six individuals to fight on behalf of an unknown and accused orphan from Flea Bottom. Dunk walks away wondering if he’ll die a virgin.

**Spoiler**
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Luckily for Dunk, there are a few Drake haters out there who are cool with making new friends. Young Flosstradamus Raymon Fossoway and his cuz Steffon say they’re gonna ride thru the hood and round up as many homies on the block as possible.

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After they leave, in walks Egg and to Dunk’s surprise Daeron the founding member of Westeros AA. Daeron enlightens Dunk to the fact that Aerion’s father, Prince Maekar, has decided to join the seven knights fighting on Aerion’s side as the only way to redeem his son’s honor. That makes 2 polished princelings (Aerion and Dearon), Prince Maekar and the three Kingsguard sworn to protect the lives of the royal family who happen to be some of the best swordsmen alive. They basically have a Dream Team of warriors minus the alcoholic who admits he’s going to look gallant on the first joust then take a mosquito bite of a hit, resulting in him lying in the mud until the battle is over. Talk about craven.

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Craven or naah, Daeron begs a solo word with Ser Duncan. The Prince repeats those words from the Inn, “I dreamed of you.” but this time he explains that in his dream he saw Dunk and a massive dragon. Thing is, Dunk is alive and the dragon is dead. He doesn’t know if it’s symbolic of Dunk slaying him or his brother Aerion, but he asks Dunk to do his best to kill that dayroom animal Aerion ‘Brightflame’ Targaryan and not Daeron ‘Boozy Brunch’ Targaryan.

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Dunk goes to find his homie Steely Pate, the armorer, and picks up the shield he asked the long-gone, battered and bruised puppet girl to paint. Pate took that hurt, rusted shield and gave it that vibranium reinforced touch-up and Dunks boo hit it with the Picasso paint job. Dunks asks, how much for the upgrade papi? Pate ponders for a second and decides for Dunk’s likely doomed ass, one copper will suffice. Then in walks Ser Duncan the Tall to the challenger’s end of the lists where Raymun and Steffron were waiting for him with Thunder. It’s while walking throught the tendrils of fog that the big oaf realizes that people were already lined up to see him die on this early morning. That is, until the smallfolk start wishing him good fortune and for the warrior to give him strength. Steely Pate reminds the orphan that people cheer for knights who remember their vows. Wooooo! Can I get an amen?

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Now harboring a little confidence, he asks his Fossoway brethren who they got down with the cause. Wouldn’t you know it, Raymun returned with The Reach and Riverlands All-Star squad consisting of the vindictive Ser Humfrey Harding, broken leg and all, seething for vengeance, Harding’s brother-in-law Humfrey Beesbury and Robyn Rhysling who Egg managed to recruit. So they were four. Four highly capable men…until Lyonel ‘Laughing Storm’ Baratheon swaggered onto the scene hungry for glory in the first Trial of Seven in a hundred years. Now they numbered five superb warriors ready to give Aerion that ass-whippin he deserves, with Dunk hopeful that Raymun’s brother Ser Steffon would come thru with the remaining recruits.
The crowd goes wild as the three Kingsguard knights in their gleaming white enamel armor enter with Prince Maekar and his sons Aerion and Daeron in tow. Dunk wonders why there are only six of them considering they have all the gold and power in the world and should have no problem signing the top free agent on the market. Just as Dunk finishes that thought, in struts Steffon ‘Stank Face’ Fossoway talking out the side o his neck saying he’s fighting for the other side. How quickly one forgets his honor as soon as he is promised a lordship. Raymun, in utter disbelief at the betrayal he just witnessed, gives his brother a big DX suck it, turns around and immediately commands Dunk to knight him. Dunk gets summoned by Lord Ashford before he can give the fuming Fossoway a straight answer, but luckily Ser Lyonel Baratheon steps in and blesses the squire.

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Lord Ashford is like, “I respect the hustle, but you only got 6. I must declare you guilty.” Dunk petitions to the viewing stand, aka courtside at the Garden. After receiving less than horrific results, he shouts, “ARE THERE NO TRUE KNIGHTS AMONG YOU?” and then a voice cuts through the silence and a knight in Prince Valarr’s all-black armor agrees to join Ser Duncan’s side.

He lifts his helm and Prince Baelor gives a reluctant smile. Yooo Baelor Breakspear is straight chillin, sitting on that pension AND tenure waiting to become King, yet still respectable enough to step up to the plate and put in that WORK…against his own family no less! This is the amazing history that the show Game of Thrones simply cannot give us. Praise be to Breakspear.
The men line up on their monstrous destriers as a hush fall across Ashford Meadow.

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With The Laughing Storm and Breakspear on either side of him, Dunk stares down at Prince Aerion as the horn sounds. The horses charge, Dunk’s lance is in place..until the last minute when his training fails. By the time he tries to correct his blunder, Brightflame’s iron tipped war lance is sunk 3 feet into his side and Thunder has lost his legs. The horse recovers, Dunk rips the lance out in one savage yank and it is on! A clearly wounded Humfrey Harding is clinging to the neck of his horse, the other Humfrey is sprawled out in a lake of bloodstained mud, Prince Maekar is unhorsed, Prince Baelor Breakspear is staying true to his name having already taken out two Kingsgaurd with his lance still intact, and Ser Robyn Rhysling has the third Kingsguard member working OT. Sword in hand, searching for Aerion, Dunk gets blindsided by Brightflame and his mount barrels into him at full gallop. Chaos raining down all around, blinded by mud and short of breath, Dunk forces himself to his hands and knees or risks losing it all.
He finds his feet, only to glimpse a flying dragon and spiked morningstar whirling at him as his head seemed to explode. Aerion appears above him and tells him to beg for mercy and admit his guilt and perhapssss he’ll only claim a hand, a foot, and some teeth. What’s a life of oatmeal and peas as long as your alive, right? Lifeless and on his back, the shame feels worse than the pain. The spiked ball twirls and falls toward his head fast as a shooting star.

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Ser Duncan rolls. Where the strength comes from? Only George R.R. can say. Dunk grabs a leg and flings the smaller and weaker Aerion down into the mud, the place where Dunk came from, the bottom of the bottom. The streets of Flea Bottom taught him how to throw hands and get down n dirty, the sort of fighting you learn in dark, crooked, back alleys that Aerion can never relate to. Dunk rips the bright prince’s shield from his grasp and starts beating the snot out of the royal brat.

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Aerion goes for his dagger and Dunk sends it flying into the mud. Dunk yokes up the prince, wrenches open his visor and gets the urge to pop one of his little eyeballs like a grape when the dragon yells, “YIELD”.

In disbelief, Dunk rips his helm off and looks around to see if this is real life. He witnesses Prince Maekar and Baelor Breakspear goin toe to toe like the Klitschko brothers. The Fossoway cousins are slashing at each other in front of Millionaires Row.

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Dunk sees The Laughing Storm join Breakspear as the three legends duke it out, and realize more people will lose their lives on his behalf if he doesn’t end the melee. Prince Aerion, being the sly cretin that he is, dives for his morningstar and Dunk rewards his cowardice with a swift kick in the ass. He gives Aerion the little brother treatment, grabs him by the leg and drags him across the muddy field until he gets to Lord Ashford’s viewing seat and forces Brightflame to withdraw his accusation. The contest draws to a close with the two Humfrey’s dead or dying and a Kingsguard member being carried from the field. Most everyone else leaves the battle bruised with a few broken bones, but to Dunk’s relief, Daeron’s prophecy seems to be false.

While being tended to, Prince Baelor walks in with his scarred, dented armor and gives a suggestion to help heal the hole in Dunk’s torso. Dunk immediately realizes how indebted he is to the heir to the Iron Throne and says, “Your grace, I am your man”. The Prince tells him that he needs good men then asks the newly knightly Ser Raymun to help him get his helmet off because his fingers feel like wood. Raymun asks Steely Pate for a hand because of how badly dented the steel is. Pate, always a smith, compliments the young prince on how good the steel must be to stop such a blow that likely came from his brother’s mace. The battered helm is removed and every soul in view of the Prince stops in their tracks as something red and wet falls out of the helm. Someone screams as the tall prince in black armor sways with only half a skull. He touches the back of his head lightly with two fingers and falls. The dragon never rose again. Baelor of House Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone, Hand of the King, Protector of the Realm, and heir apparent to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros was the finest knight of his age and he went to the fire in the yard of Ashford Castle like all the blood of the dragons before him.

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Dunk stops to offer sympathies, but the young Prince Valarr can only ask why the Gods would take a man of only nine and thirty who had so much promise to become a great king and leave behind the likes of him. The world makes no sense when a great Prince dies so a hedge knight can live.

Sitting underneath his elm tree, the royal livery appears at Dunk’s camp. Prince Maekar walks before him and begs a private word. He tells Dunk that he has sent Aerion to Lys in hopes that the Free Cities may change him for the better. Dunk and Maekar both accept blame for the death of a knight every honorable man will mourn for a moon’s turn or more. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Maekar agrees that it is time his son, Aegon better know as Egg, begins to squire for someone. The unruly boy gives Maekar a big IDFWU to anyone besides Dunk. Dunk agrees, but only if he does not have to serve at Summerhall and can take Egg on the road with him. Maekar asks why he should allow his princely son to sleep in ditches and eat hard salt beef when he should be sleeping in castles and dining on the ballinest of meals. Dunk keeps it mad real with this response. He says, “Daeron never slept in a ditch, I’ll wager, and all the beef that Aerion ever ate was thick and rare and bloody, like as not.”

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The Prince of Summerhall chews on that one for a long time, turns, and walks away, never speaking a word. Egg comes by the next morning. They ponder their next move and decide on Dorne. Why? With what I can only imagine is a sick smirk on their faces, word on the street is they have good puppet shows. And that concludes the first story in the Tales of Dunk and Egg: The Hedge Knight.

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  • Ja-Quan is a NYC teacher and artist holding a B.A. in Sociology and History from SUNY New Paltz. On his journey to become Hokage, the Lord of The Speed Force and Protector of the Recaps can be found North of The Wall, chopping it up on Twitter @OGquankinobi

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