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The Sworn Sword by George R.R. Martin
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's review
Nov 16, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, novellas-anthologies
Read in November, 2011

The Sworn Sword is the second of the Tales of Dunk and Egg, a series of novellas set in Westeros approximately 100 years before the events of the main Song of Ice and Fire series. I found the story in the anthology Legends II, edited by Robert Silverberg.

This time, the story is set in the Reach, during a bad drought. Dunk and Egg, a free-roaming hedge knight and his squire, have taken up service with a landed knight. Unfortunately, Ser Eustace is possibly the most pitiful knight in the whole kingdom. He is from an ancient and noble house, whose sigil is the chequey lion (for some reason, I really like saying "chequey"), but they have lost almost all of their lands and glory by this time. Ser Eustace has lost all of his children and lives with only a few companions (some of dubious worth) in an old watchtower.

At the beginning of this story, Dunk discovers that Ser Eustace's slightly richer neighbor, a woman who is rumored to have killed several husbands, is stealing the water from Eustace's stream. This precipitates a series of events, full of both humor and pathos, in which Ser Eustace tries to fight back against this neighboring lady. Secrets and twists are revealed, but between the strong, honorable Dunk and the clever boy Egg, the situation finds a conclusion.

Again, by reading this you can get more of the history/backstory of Westeros. The Blackfyre Rebellion is discussed in some detail, along with other events that happened prior to the Song of Ice and Fire series. And while there are hardships and killings and so forth, the world just isn't the nightmarish place it is during the War of the Five Kings. I definitely enjoyed reading this adventure (and saying "chequey lion").
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