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Arlan of Pennytree.svgThunderDunk.svg
THE HEDGE KNIGHT 6a Mike S. Miller and Anders Finer.jpg
Thunder and Duncan the Tall, by Mike S. Miller and Anders Finer ©

Species Horse (destrier)
Gender Male (stallion)

Thunder was a warhorse, owned by Ser Arlan of Pennytree, and later Ser Duncan the Tall.[1]

Appearance and Character

Thunder was a big brown stallion, a destrier only ridden in tourney or battle.[1]{{Ref|TSS} As Thunder aged, he lost some swiftness and strength, but his bright eye and fierce spirit remained.[1] He was a valuable horse, more so than Arlan's other two horses combined.[1] At tourneys, Thunder remained fairly still in comparison to other horses, as he was an older horse, veteran of half a hundred fights, and knew what was expected of him.[1] Thunder did not appreciate being ridden on hot days, becoming restless and baring his teeth.[2]

Thunder was larger than Ser Lucas Inchfield's chestnut courser,[3] and three hands smaller and two stones lighter than Ser Tommard Heddle's horse.[2] Thunder was larger than Ser Uthor Underleaf's grey stallion, but the other was younger and more spirited.[2]


The Hedge Knight

When Dunk became Ser Arlan of Pennytree's squire, he would ride the hedge knight's stot Chestnut,[3] while Arlan rode his palfrey Sweetfoot. (Thunder was not ridden except in tourneys and in battle.) Arlan frequently told Dunk that a knight should never love a horse, since they might die under him, but he loved his horses anyway. Arlan often spent his last copper on an apple for Chestnut, or oats for Sweetfoot and Thunder.[1]

In 209 AC, the aged Arlan died from a chill on the way to Ashford Meadow, and Dunk took ownership of Thunder, along with Sweetfoot and Chestnut. At first Dunk debated selling Thunder and Chestnut, and keeping Sweetfoot, but then he decided to attend the tourney at Ashford Meadow as the knight Ser Duncan the Tall. To afford a suit of armor, Dunk reluctantly decided to sell Sweetfoot, as Chestnut was not worth much, and Thunder would be needed for the joust.[1]

On the way to Ashford, Dunk stopped at an inn, where he first met Prince Aegon Targaryen, disguised as "Egg", when he asked the young stableboy (as he assumed) to rub down Sweetfoot and feed his horses. After getting dinner, Dunk returned to the stables and found Egg mounted atop Thunder and wearing Arlan's old armor, the sight of which made him laugh. Egg begged to go with Dunk to Ashford to be his squire at the tourney, but Dunk refused him. Nevertheless, when Dunk returned to his camp outside the tourney grounds after ordering a suit of armor, he found Egg there, and accepted him this time.[1]

On the tourney grounds, Dunk was arrested when he attacked Prince Aerion Targaryen, Egg's brother, who was assaulting a girl that Dunk had met earlier. While Dunk was imprisoned, Egg and their friend Raymun Fossoway took care of Thunder and Chestnut. Dunk requested a trial by combat to determine his fate, and Aerion made it trial of seven, in which Dunk rode Thunder. Thunder was armored in chinet, chamfron, and blanket of heavy mail, which someone had found for Dunk. When the horn sounded to start the battle, Dunk initially froze, but Thunder was used to jousts and his instincts saved Dunk until he could recover. On the first impact of the lances, Thunder and Aerion's horse slammed together, and then Thunder slipped and nearly fell in the mud, but Dunk commanded "up, Thunder!" and the horse somehow found his feet. Aerion's second charge again smashed into Thunder, knocking Dunk out of his saddle, but in the end Dunk was able to defeat his opponent in hand-to-hand combat.[1]

After the trial, Prince Maekar Targaryen allowed his son Aegon to officially become the squire of Ser Duncan the Tall. Egg rode Chestnut when they traveled, while Dunk rode Thunder.[1] However, Chestnut died in Dorne in 210 AC, during the desert crossing between the Prince's Pass and Vaith. Afterwards, Dunk and Egg rode double on Thunder, until Egg's brother Prince Aemon Targaryen, a student at the Citadel in Oldtown, gave them Maester the mule.[3]

The Sworn Sword

In 211 AC, Dunk's employer, Ser Eustace Osgrey, got into a dispute with his neighbor, Lady Rohanne Webber, over the possession of the Chequy Water stream. Eustace's smallfolk were recruited as soldiers in case it came to battle, and Dunk helped to train them by charging at them upon Thunder. The dispute was eventually resolved by trial by combat between Ser Duncan and Lady Rohanne's castellan, Ser Lucas Inchfield. During the fight, which took place within the Chequy Water, both knights mounted atop their horses, Ser Lucas struck a glancing blow along Thunder's neck with his poleaxe. Thunder screamed, reared up on two legs, and his hooves struck Lucas in the face and shoulder. Thunder ended up on top of Lucas's courser, and the two horses fell in a tangle, kicking and biting at each other, which caused both riders to fall from their horses into the stream.[3]

Though Dunk won the fight, Lady Rohanne considered that he had done her a service. She tried to gift him her courser, Flame, to ride instead of Thunder, but Dunk rejected the offer. However, Dunk discovered that Egg had accepted a palfrey, Rain.[3]

The Mystery Knight

In 212 AC, Ser Duncan entered the lists of the wedding tourney at Whitewalls, hoping to win enough in prizes or ransoms to be able to buy various things he might need, including a palfrey so that he would not need to ride Thunder except in battle. However, Dunk lost his first tilt to Ser Uthor Underleaf, and could not afford to pay the ransom for Thunder and his armor. Egg suggested that Dunk could ride Rain, and he would go back to riding Maester the mule. However, Dunk rejected the idea, as that would mean returning in shame to Egg's father Prince Maekar at Summerhall. When he brought Thunder and his armor to Ser Uthor's tent, hoping that the knight would accept a paper promise to pay, Uthor instead offered Dunk a place in his service. He planned for Dunk to lose to him at tourneys across Westeros while Uthor collected bets on the outcome, but Dunk rejected the idea as dishonorable.[2]

After their meeting, Egg was missing, and while Dunk initially thought that the boy had not wanted to say goodbye to Thunder, eventually he discovered that the tourney was secretly a rendezvous of those fomenting the second Blackfyre Rebellion. After the defeat of the rebellion, Aegon convinced Lord Brynden Rivers, the Hand of the King, to loan Dunk the gold to pay Uthor's ransom.[2]


Take off that armor, and be glad that Thunder didn't kick you in that fool head. He's a warhorse, not a boy's pony.[1]

Thunder slid into a gallop. Dunk's teeth jarred together with the violence of the pace. He pressed his heels down, tightening his legs with all his strength and letting his body become part of the motion of the horse beneath. I am Thunder and Thunder is me, we are one beast, we are joined, we are one.[1]

—thoughts of Duncan the Tall

If Thunder was to break a leg, though... well, a knight without a horse was no knight at all.[3]

—thoughts of Duncan the Tall

He crouched forward, legs tightening as Thunder drove down the lists. We are one. Man, horse, lance, we are one beast of blood and wood and iron.[2]

—thoughts of Duncan the Tall