The Mystery Knight is the third Song of Ice and Fire novella, published in 2010 in the anthology Warriors, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

Plot introductionEdit

The events of The Mystery Knight take place several months after the events of The Sworn Sword in 212 AL, approximately eighty-six years before the events of A Game of Thrones.

The Seven Kingdoms are officially at peace, but there is disquiet at the rule of King Aerys I Targaryen and his Hand, Brynden Rivers. The ironborn are raiding the western coastlands and there are rumors of a fresh threat from the Blackfyre Pretenders. Dunk and Egg are travelling north from Standfast, hoping to see the Wall, when they are diverted to Whitewalls by reports of a great tourney being held there.

Plot summaryEdit

The story begins with Dunk and Egg leaving Stoney Sept. They are moving north to try and take up service with Lord Beron Stark who has sent a call for men to help fend off Greyjoy raids on the northern coast. On the way they encounter a septon who was beheaded for preaching treason; Dunk remembers that Lord Bloodraven has spies everywhere. On route Egg and Dunk encounter a lord's train led by Lord Gorman Peake of Starpike, whose arms are three black castles on a field of orange. Also in the party are a lord named Alyn Cockshaw and a well dressed and richly garbed man who claims to be a hedge knight named Ser John the Fiddler. Dunk is challenged and insulted by Peake and Cockshaw but the Fiddler treats him courteously. Before they ride off, Ser John invites Dunk to attend the wedding of Lord Ambrose Butterwell. There is to be a joust to celebrate the wedding of Butterwell to a Frey of the Crossing, the victor's prize is to be a dragon egg.

Dunk takes a dislike to Gorman Peake; Ser Arlan to whom Dunk was squired claimed his previous squire Roger of Pennytree was slain by Gorman in the battle of Redgrass field. Egg tells Dunk that Peake's arms of three castles on an orange field is because the Peake family used to own three castles, but two were forfeited to the Crown when Peake sided with Blackfyre.

Dunk decides to go to the wedding. During the journey Dunk befriends three fellow hedge knights, Ser Maynard Plumm, Ser Kyle the Cat of Misty Moor and a young hedge knight named Ser Glendon Ball who claims he is the bastard son of the famous knight Quentyn "Fireball" Ball, a renowned warrior who fought for Daemon Blackfyre.

The wedding is set at Whitewalls and Lord Frey arrives with his four year old heir (Walder Frey) and his fifteen year old daughter, who weds Lord Butterwell. Egg tells Duncan that Lord Butterwell took no part in the Blackfyre Rebellion, but one of his sons fought for the Red Dragon and one for the Black. In that way his house was guaranteed to be on the winning side, but both his sons died on the Redgrass field. Egg becomes increasingly suspicious at the wedding and points out to Duncan that many of the banners and sigils he sees are of men who fought for the Black Dragon. Dunk tells Egg that Redgrass was over a decade ago, and the past is the past. At the wedding a troupe of dwarfs entertain the guests. During the bedding Dunk is drafted by John the Fiddler to carry the bride to the bedchamber. Dunk does so and later when he goes for a breath of air, John the Fiddler talks to him saying that he recognized Dunk on the road. Dunk appeared to him in a dream in which Duncan wore the all white armour of the Kingsguard. The Fiddler says his dreams always come true, as he dreamt his brothers dead once and also a dragon hatching from an egg at Whitewalls.

Dunk decides to enter the first match of the joust as a mystery knight known as the Gallows Knight (due to a new shield that once belonged to a knight of House Trant that Dunk had to buy as his old shield was damaged in his duel with Longinch) in case anyone heard of a Knight named Ser Duncan the Tall from Ashford, but Dunk is defeated in the first tilt by Ser Uthor Underleaf known as the Snail Knight due to his sigil. Underleaf's lance hits Duncan upon the helm, knocking him out and nearly killing him. Dunk recovers later and goes to give the Underleaf his armour and horse as forfeit (losing a joust match requires a forfeit of horse and armour to the winner). Since Dunk can't ransom it back he is in a glum mood. Dunk talks to Underleaf and Underleaf informs Dunk that someone bribed him to try and kill Dunk in the final tilt, Underleaf states that if they paid more he might have completed the task, but tells Dunk he has an enemy. Before the jousting continues word spreads through the castle that the dragon egg is missing and the blame is placed on Ser Glendon Ball, who is imprisoned by Peake.

Dunk notices that Egg is missing and sets out to find his squire. Whilst searching he is almost killed by Alyn Cockshaw who tells Dunk he bribed Underleaf to kill Dunk because he was jealous of John the Fiddler's obsession with Dunk and that dream (it is implied that Cockshaw was in love with John the Fiddler) Dunk manages to defeat him by throwing him down a well, though he takes a wound in return from Cockshaws knife. Maynard Plumm comes to Duncan's aid , and it is discovered that Plumm is one of Bloodravens many spies, and that John the Fiddler's real name is Daemon, after his father Daemon Blackfyre. Plumm tells Dunk "he would be suprised how many Lords want their king to be brave and stupid".

Dunk finds Egg in the sept with the cowering Lord Butterwell, who on discovering Egg's true identity is terrified for his life. Egg told Ambrose (falsely) that he and Dunk were spies sent to investigate the tournament and that his father Maekar is on the way with an army. Lord Ambrose good son (stepson) Black Tom Heddle shows up and tries to harm Egg but is slain by Dunk. Dunk tells Egg to flee with Ambrose. To buy time for Egg's escape Dunk confronts Daemon Blackfyre, accusing Gorman Peake of falsely charging Ball with the theft of the dragon egg.

Daemon is enraged by the implication and allows Ball to prove his innocence in trial by combat. Ser Glendon soundly defeats Daemon and knocks him into the mud causing some of the spectators to mockingly call Daemon "the Brown Dragon". By this time a large army under the King's Hand Brynden Rivers encircles Whitewalls and Daemon is captured as most of the present Lords and knights surrender without a fight. Dunk meets Bloodraven inside his pavilion outside of which the head of Gorman Peake along with Black Tom Heddle are displayed on spears. Egg is there as well and demands that Bloodraven reward Ser Glendon Ball, Dunk and all the other hedge knights. Bloodraven notes that Egg is much more fierce and confident now and that he was the dragon Daemon saw in his dream being born at Whitewalls. Lord Butterwall cowers in Bloodraven's presence and is allowed to keep a tenth of his wealth. Whitewalls, however, will be forfeit to the Iron Throne and torn down. Bloodraven, in gratitude to Dunk, gives him the gold to ransom his armour back. Dunk then asks Bloodraven what became of the dragon egg. Bloodraven tells Dunk it was taken by an agent of his who crawled up the privy shaft of the castle to take the egg from its guarded chamber, and is now safe. Dunk remarks that a man wouldn't have fit in those shafts. Bloodraven replies a child would have. Or a dwarf, Dunk thinks as he remembers the performing dwarfs at the wedding.


Relationship with A Song of Ice and FireEdit

  • Five Blackfyre Rebellions have been noted in the history of Westeros. The Sworn Sword features extensive flashbacks to the First Blackfyre Rebellion, whilst The Mystery Knight depicts the second.
  • Lord Frey's four-year-old son is at the celebration. Though not named, he is clearly Walder Frey, Lord of the Crossing during the events of the main series. As Frey turns ninety during the events of A Game of Thrones, this likely dates The Mystery Knight to 212 AL, eighty-six years before the novels.
  • Whitewalls is demolished following the events of this novella, explaining why it does not appear in the main series.


The Mystery Knight was originally published in the anthology Warriors in 2010. It appeared in one of the three paperback editions published a year later, and is due for publication in The Tales of Dunk and Egg, Volume One in 2014.

Unlike its predecessors, it has not yet been adapted as a graphic novel.

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