Duncan the Tall
Duncan the Tall
Dunk the Lunk
The Gallows Knight
Lord Commander of the Kingsguard
|Born||In 191 AC, 192 AC or 193 AC, at King's Landing|
|Died||In 259 AC, at Summerhall|
|Book(s)|| The Hedge Knight (POV)|
The Sworn Sword (POV)
The Mystery Knight (POV)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
Raised as Dunk in Flea Bottom, Duncan became the squire of the hedge knight Arlan of Pennytree. Duncan then traveled the Seven Kingdoms as a hedge knight himself, with the young Prince Aegon as his squire. The early exploits of "Dunk and Egg" are chronicled in A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, which collects The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight.
Character and Appearance
- See also: Images of Dunk
Nearly seven feet tall, Duncan had a humble personality and thought of himself as thick-headed.
Dunk's earliest memories were of living as a street urchin in the Flea Bottom slums of King's Landing, without any word or sight of either of his parents. His closest friends went by the names of Ferret, Rafe, and Pudding. By his own admission, they were "little monsters" with Dunk himself worst of all. Sometimes they would sell or even dump pieces of meat of dubious origin to the local pot shops that made the bowls of brown. Ser Arlan of Pennytree took Dunk as a squire and raised him from a youth. Arlan's humble optimism made a positive impression on Dunk. The two of them would ride together until the death of Arlan, traveling and selling their services as hedge knights usually do, without ever passing through Pennytree. Dunk never knew either of his parents, though he believes that he is probably a bastard with a thief for a father. He had hoped to someday go to the north and eventually the Wall and perhaps meet some tall stranger that might turn out to be his father.
The Hedge Knight
In 209 AC, Ser Arlan died suddenly on the way to Ashford. Dunk buried Arlan and decided to compete in the tourney at Ashford Meadow. On the way, he met a bald-headed boy named Egg, who begged to become his squire. Dunk eventually agreed. They camped just outside of Ashford under an elm tree and watched a shooting star fall from the evening sky. To Dunk, the moment symbolized the humble pleasures of the hedge knight lifestyle. In the morning, Dunk sold Arlan's equipment and purchased armor to his size. Needing a coat of arms, Dunk commissioned Tanselle, an attractive Dornish puppeteer, to paint a shooting star above an elm tree over a sunset field on his shield.
Dunk claimed to the tourney organizers that Arlan knighted him before his death. His thoughts of seeking another knight to squire for after Ser Arlan's death suggest this was not the case. No one remembered Arlan, and Dunk eventually sought out Crown Prince Baelor Targaryen, who had tilted against Arlan on one notable occasion. Baelor Breakspear allowed Dunk to enter the tourney. That evening, Aerion Targaryen attacked the puppeteer and Dunk rushed to her aide. After breaking several of Aerion's teeth, Dunk was subdued by Aerion's guards, but Egg, revealing his identity as Prince Aegon Targaryen, protected him from further harm.
Vengeful, yet wary of Dunk's size and strength, Aerion demanded a trial of seven, a trial by combat involving seven combatants on each side. Egg helped Dunk find allies, which ultimately included Baelor himself. Dunk learned that the people were with him for being a knight who remembered his vows to protect the helpless. During the combat, Dunk faced off against Aerion, and his inexperience with lance and sword nearly got him killed. Using his superior strength and the brawling skills he learned in Flea Bottom, Dunk bested Aerion and forced him to yield. The victory rang hollow, however, as two of the men who had taken Dunk's side had been killed, and shortly after the trial Baelor died of a head wound taken from his own brother. Dunk was beset by guilt for his part in the deaths of such good men, especially the crown prince. Egg's father, Maekar, asked Dunk to take Egg as his squire officially, to serve as a positive influence on him. Dunk agreed but preferred to do this while remaining a hedge knight. Thus, Egg would be taught the humility that his elder brother Aerion had never learned.
Between The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword
At some point between the ending of The Hedge Knight and the start of The Sworn Sword, Dunk and Egg reached the Prince's Pass in Dorne, probably seeking Tanselle Too-Tall as hinted by the last few words of The Hedge Knight.
They left for Vaith and while on the crossing Dunk's horse, Chestnut, died. He and Egg rode double on Thunder for an unspecified period of time until one of Egg's brothers (most likely Aemon) gave them Maester. Once in Vaith, Dunk met the aged Lady Cassella Vaith, the first highborn lady that he ever met in person, and spoke to her with such lack of grace as to put his own life and Egg's in danger. According to Egg, however, Lady Vaith was mad.
Dunk eventually returned from Dorne with Egg aboard a ship called White Lady that brought them to Oldtown. Aboard the ship Dunk had his first experience of combat at sea when he helped repel some raiders. In Oldtown, Egg's brother Aemon measured Dunk and found he was an inch short of seven feet.
By that time, Dunk had given up on trying to find Tanselle or even talking about her. It is not stated unequivocally whether or not they found her, but Dunk states that he should be dreaming of her and that they never actually touched each other, even in a chaste way.
The Sworn Sword
Dunk and Egg eventually travelled within the Reach from Oldtown to Standfast, and entered the service of Ser Eustace Osgrey, a poor and broken landed knight who also employed an old acquaintance of Dunk, Ser Bennis the Brown. Dunk and Bennis discover that peasants of Lady Rohanne Webber of Coldmoat have dammed the Chequy Water. Bennis provoked Rohanne by cutting one of her peasants, and Dunk eventually went to Coldmoat to try to reason with her. Though sexual tension charged their meeting, Rohanne refused Dunk and told him about Eustace's support of Daemon Blackfyre during the Blackfyre Rebellion.
Shocked by the revelation, Dunk attempted to leave Eustace's service, but a fire in the nearby woods caused Dunk to suspect that Rohanne had already started her campaign against Eustace. After Bennis had fled, leaving only Eustace's feeble peasant levies, Dunk knew that war was a lost cause. He disbanded Eustace's levies but promised to face Rohanne with him. Meeting with Rohanne's forces, Dunk offered to settle the matter with a trial by combat. Rohanne agreed and sent her overbearing steward Ser Lucas Longinch to fight Dunk in the stream. Again, Dunk's wrestling ability compensated for his lack of swordsmanship. He killed Lucas, but received major wounds and almost drowned in the stream.
After recuperating, Dunk discovered that Eustace and Rohanne had settled their differences and decided to marry. Feeling rejected, Dunk took one last kiss from Rohanne and cut off a length of her signature braid as a keepsake. Afterward, Dunk and Egg took their leave.
The Mystery Knight
Dunk and Egg later left Stoney Sept to take up service with Lord Beron Stark, who had sent a call for men to help fend off Greyjoy raids on the northern coast. En route Egg and Dunk encountered a group led by Lord Gormon Peake of Starpike, Lord Alyn Cockshaw, and a hedge knight named Ser John the Fiddler. John invited Dunk to attend the wedding of Lord Ambrose Butterwell of Whitewalls to a Frey of the Crossing. The victor's prize at the celebratory Whitewalls tourney was to be a dragon egg. Before arriving, Dunk befriended Ser Kyle the Cat, Ser Maynard Plumm, and Ser Glendon Ball.
After noticing the guest list, Egg informed Dunk of his suspicions that this was a traitor's wedding and the majority of the nobles attending had fought for the Blackfyres. John the Fiddler told Dunk that the hedge knight appeared to him in a dream in which Duncan wore all white armor of the Kingsguard. The Fiddler said his dreams always come true, as he dreamt his brothers dead once and also a dragon hatching from an egg at Whitewalls.
Dunk entered the joust as a mystery knight known as the Gallows Knight, bearing the arms of House Trant, but he was defeated in his first tilt by Ser Uthor Underleaf. Uthor later informed Dunk that someone attempted to bribe him to kill Dunk in the final tilt. Before the jousting continued, Glendon Ball was imprisoned by Lord Peake for allegedly stealing the dragon egg. Whilst searching for his squire Egg, Dunk was almost killed by Lord Cockshaw, jealous of John the Fiddler's obsession with Dunk. Dunk threw Alyn down a well to drown, an action observed by Maynard Plumm.
Prince Aegon falsely told Lord Ambrose that he and Dunk were spies sent to investigate the tournament and that his father, Prince Maekar, was on the way with an army. Ambrose's step-son, Black Tom Heddle, was slain by Dunk when he attempted to harm Egg. To buy time for Egg's escape Dunk confronted John the Fiddler, actually Daemon II Blackfyre, accusing Gormon Peake of falsely charging Glendon with the theft of the dragon egg. Daemon challenged Glendon with trial by combat in the lists.
Shortly after Glendon defeated Daemon in this joust, a loyalist army led by the Hand of the King, Lord Brynden Rivers, arrived to suppress the Second Blackfyre Rebellion. Brynden, known as Bloodraven, told Dunk an agent of his crawled up the privy shaft of the castle to take the dragon egg to safety. While Brynden observed that a child would have been small enough, Dunk recalled the dwarfs from the wedding.
Dunk eventually joined the Kingsguard and would become its Lord Commander. In honor of his friend, King Aegon V Targaryen named his first son and heir Prince Duncan, who was called Duncan the Small in contrast to his namesake. Ser Duncan escorted Maester Aemon and Brynden Rivers to the Wall on Aegon's command.
When Prince Duncan the Small broke his betrothal to Lord Lyonel Baratheon's daughter and instead married a commonborn girl known as Jenny of Oldstones, the enraged Lyonel renounced his fealty to the Iron Throne. Aegon's champion, Ser Duncan, bested Lyonel in a trial by combat which ended the short rebellion. Aegon pardoned Lyonel and, to make peace with House Baratheon, arranged the betrothal of his daughter, Princess Rhaelle Targaryen, to Lyonel's heir, Ormund Baratheon. Aegon sent Rhaelle to Storm's End as Lyonel's cupbearer and companion to his lady wife to make sure this wedding took place.
A Feast for Crows
For unknown reasons, a shield with Dunk's original arms came to reside in the armory of Lord Selwyn Tarth at Evenfall Hall. While at Duskendale, Selwyn's daughter, Brienne, has the arms painted on her shield so she can travel the crownlands and riverlands incognito.
As The Hedge Knight begins, Dunk has three horses, inherited from Ser Arlan.
- Thunder, a destrier
- Chestnut, a stot that died between The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword
- Sweetfoot, a female palfrey that he sells early on so that he may buy armor and greathelm
As his adventures progressed, he would acquire other animals.
- Maester, a mule, a gift from one of Egg's brothers
- Rain, another palfrey, a gift from Rohanne Webber
George R. R. Martin announced that a descendant of Dunk would be revealed in A Feast for Crows. Given that Brienne explains how she found his shield in the armories of Tarth, it is widely speculated she is descended from Duncan the Tall.
References and Notes
- ↑ See the Duncan the Tall calculation.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Hedge Knight.
- ↑ The Citadel. Heraldry: Houseless Hedge Knights
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 The Sworn Sword.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 The Mystery Knight.
- ↑ Author George R. R. Martin has confirmed that Dunk's story of his knighting is a lie.
- ↑ The donkey was almost certainly given by Aemon, as it was said he received the donkey in Oldtown, where Aemon was already there forging his chain to become a maester. Also, the name of the donkey is Maester. If Aemon gave Dunk the donkey, the animal was received in Oldtown, a while after visiting Vaith.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 The World of Ice and Fire, Aegon V.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire,House Baratheon.
- ↑ George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Duncan.
- ↑ The Citadel: FAQ: What happened at Summerhall
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne II.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (Dayton, OH), November 10, 2005
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Mysterious Galaxy Signing (San Diego, CA), November 08, 2000
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