The second Song of Ice and Fire novella was published 2003 in the Legends II anthology, edited by Robert Silverberg. The story has been adapted to a graphic novel by Ben Avery and drawn by Mike S. Miller, in cooperation with publisher and distributor Marvel Comics.

Plot introductionEdit

The Sworn Sword is the second in a series of novellas following the adventures of Dunk and Egg. It takes place two years after the events of The Hedge Knight and approximately eighty-seven years before the events of A Game of Thrones.

At this time, the Seven Kingdoms are in a state of turmoil. A devastating plague, the Great Spring Sickness, has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. King Daeron II Targaryen was among the slain. Due to the death of his firstborn son, Baelor, during the events of The Hedge Knight, the Iron Throne has passed to King Aerys I Targaryen. However, Aerys I prefers to spend time with his books and the running of the realm is left to his half-uncle and the Hand of the King, Brynden Rivers, popularly known as "Bloodraven".

Meanwhile, Dunk and Egg have travelled to Dorne in search of the puppetteer girl Dunk saved at Ashford from the depredations of Aerion Targaryen. They had no luck, but found some work as sworn swords in the service of various houses. As The Sworn Sword opens, they have travelled to the Reach (via Oldtown, where they met with Egg's older brother, Aemon) and entered the service of House Osgrey of Standfast. The Osgreys are in dispute over land with the neighbouring House Webber of Coldmoat, a much larger and grander castle.

Plot summaryEdit

Loaded with supplies, Dunk and Egg journey back to the fort of Standfast. Upon their return, Dunk and Ser Eustace's other sworn sword, Ser Bennis the Brown, go to investigate the local stream, which has dried up. They discover that a dam has been built by peasants in service to Lady Rohanne Webber of Coldmoat. Bennis cuts one of the peasants and scares them all away. Upon hearing the news, Ser Eustace realizes that Lady Webber, known as the "Red Widow" for both her sigil of the spider and her red hair, will be angered by Bennis's actions. He orders Dunk and Bennis begin training levies from his three villages.

Hoping for a peaceful solution, Eustace sends Dunk to Coldmoat to discuss the matters of the dam and the wounded servant. Upon entering Coldmoat, Dunk learns that Lady Rohanne is widowed and stands to lose her lands if she does not take a husband soon. Her castellan, the haughty Ser Lucas Inchfield (known as the Long Inch for his height, 6-foot 7-inches), is her most aggressive suitor. Dunk meets with Rohanne, and the two experience a subtle sexual tension. However, Dunk is unable to change her mind on either the dam's construction or seeking justice for her servant. In return, Rohanne informs him that Ser Eustace is a former traitor, having supported the usurper Daemon Blackfyre.

Shocked by the news, Dunk returns to Standfast to leave Ser Eustace's service. That night, Ser Eustace's forest is put to the torch. Lady Rohanne had informed Dunk after their failed negotiations that if Ser Bennis were not sent to her to suffer her judgment, she would bring "fire and sword" to Ser Eustace. The burning of Wat's Wood has fulfilled the fire portion of that claim, so Dunk fears that Rohanne will bring her knights in the early morning and slaughter Eustace's levies, which number only seven men. He disperses the levies, enraging Eustace. Dunk placates him by promising to stand by him and face the Lady together.

At the river, they meet the Lady and her thirty-plus knights, including Ser Lucas Long Inch. Ser Eustace reminds Dunk of the method whereby his ancestor the Little Lion had saved the Reach from an attack by Lannisters by killing the leader of the attackers. By doing so, he hopes that Dunk will kill Lady Rohanne and remove her threat to him and avenge past slights. Instead, Dunk offers his own blood to Lady Rohanne by slicing his own cheek. This pays the debt of the cut peasant, but in claiming that Lady Rohanne had Wat's Wood burned, Ser Eustace has slighted her honor. She requires apology or vindication, as she personally claims innocence of the matter.

All parties agree to settle the matter through trial by combat between Dunk and Ser Lucas. They fight in the river as it is the only neutral ground present. Dunk is nearly outfought by Ser Lucas, but uses his grappling skills to drown the other knight. He drowns in the process but is resuscitated by Lady Rohanne's maester, who was ironborn and knows the ways of the Drowned God.

Severely wounded and barely alive, Dunk is taken to Coldmoat to be tended by the maester for his injuries. When he awakens, Dunk learns that Ser Eustace and Lady Rohanne have reconciled and become married. Before Dunk leaves, Rohanne offers him her finest mare to make amends. He refuses, claiming that he is unworthy of such a horse, and a horse is not what he would have of her. Lady Rohanne insists that he take something to remember her by, so he kisses her passionately. Egg meets Dunk shortly after, and wonders what happened to the horse Lady Rohanne promised to give Dunk. Dunk informs him that he didn't want the horse, but that as a token to remember her, he cut her long braid and will keep it. Dunk and Egg then set off to continue their travels.


  • Though previously mentioned in A Storm of Swords, this story features the first detailed account of the First Blackfyre Rebellion. Though referred to as the "Blackfyre Rebellion" throughout, the conflict was later retrospectively renamed the "First Blackfyre Rebellion" when additional conflicts were fought.
  • This short story features another tribute from George R.R. Martin to his friend, fellow fantasy author Robert Jordan. The Lady of Coldmoat wears her hair in a long braid and tugs it during moments of stress, similar to the character of Nynaeve al'Meara in Jordan's best-selling Wheel of Time novel series.

Relationship to A Song of Ice and FireEdit

  • Dunk and Egg mention staying with Egg's brother Aemon in Oldtown. This is, of course, Maester Aemon of Castle Black when he is a young man.
  • Both the Osgreys and Webbers are vassals of House Rowan. Lord Mathis Rowan plays a minor role in the events of the novels as a vassal of Mace Tyrell, and is noted for his prudence and good counsel.
  • Brynden Rivers is mentioned frequently and appears in flashback at the Battle of Redgrass Field. It is revealed in A Dance with Dragons that Rivers is in fact the three-eyed crow of Bran Stark's dreams.


The prose version of The Sworn Sword appeared in Legends II and was published in 2003. The graphic novel was released in 2008 after a release as a limited series of comics in 2007.

The Sworn Sword will be republished as part of The Tales of Dunk and Egg, Volume One, currently planned for release in 2014.


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