Friday 5 April 2024


HBO has announced that it has found the leads for its upcoming Game of Thrones spin-off series, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight. The show takes place about seventy years after the events of House of the Dragon and ninety years before Game of Thrones itself, and offers a more ground-level look at the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros during a time of (relative) peace.

Irish actor Peter Claffey will play the role of Ser Duncan the Tall, popularly known as Dunk. Claffey is a relative newcomer, picking up guest spots on Harry Wild and Bad Sisters before winning a lead role as Cormac Kelly on Wreck. He also had roles on Emmerdale and the film The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Before that he played professional rugby for Connacht. 

Ser Duncan the Tall is a hedge knight, an honourable and dedicated warrior but who comes from poor beginnings and does not have the wealth, status and privilege that the sons of lords have. Taking up the mantle of a knight after the death of his master, Ser Duncan sets out to win renown at the great tourney of Ashford Meadow, only to inadvertently start mixing with some of the greatest figures in the realm.

At eight years old, Dexter Soll Ansell is even more of a newcomer, having also appeared in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes alongside The Midwich Cuckoos and Christmas on Mistletoe Farm.

Ansell will play Egg, a young runaway boy that Dunk meets on the road who wants to become a squire. Egg joins Dunk in his misadventures, despite Dunk's misgivings.

George R.R. Martin has written three novellas about Dunk & Egg, namely The Hedge Knight (1998), The Sworn Sword (2002) and The Mystery Knight (2010). He has also partially written a fourth story, The She-Wolves (not the final title), and planned out a fifth, The Village Hero. The three completed stories are available in an omnibus version, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

Unlike the grand epic events of the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire (adapted to television as Game of Thrones), the Dunk & Egg stories are set in a period of (relative) peace in the Seven Kingdoms, with King Daeron II Targaryen, "The Good," repairing the damages caused by the brief civil war known as the Blackfyre Rebellion and the entry of Dorne into the realm through marriage. Dunk & Egg's adventures bring them to the notice of the powerful, who are not above using a mere hedge knight and his squire for their own ends, even in the back roads of the Seven Kingdoms. 

Ira Parker is the head writer and showrunner for the project, which was greenlit last year. George R.R. Martin will act as a producer and consultant, as will House of the Dragon head honcho Ryan Condal. The show is expected to film this summer for a 2025 debut on HBO.

Several additional Game of Thrones-related projects are in development as animated series or further live-action shows, although HBO seems to have taken its foot off the throttle regarding the number of projects in development. House of the Dragon Season 2 is currently due to debut on 16 June this year.

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