Friday, June 04, 2010

The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin, Ben Avery, Mike Miller and Mike Crowell

Dunk is a village lad who was squire and servant to Sir Arlan, once a famed knight but reduced to being a Hedge Knight. Though Dunk was looking forward to being a knight someday, Sir Arlan's death in the middle of the night has left him bereft and alone.

With no one to say him nay, Dunk decides to become a knight himself, and to make a name for himself at a Tourney a few days ride away. Stopping at an inn for the night, he has his horses seen to by the stableboy, who is apparently mad for Knights and horses and wants to travel with Dunk to the Tourney, but Dunk refuses to take him from his home.

At the Tourney, Dunk discovers that he will need a Knight to vouch for him to actually enter the Tourney, and he will also need armor and a shield, all of which will cost him a great deal of money. He plans to sell Arlan's horse for the money, but discovers that the Stable Boy has followed him to the Tourney, and will not be sent home.

Along the way, he meets a woman almost as tall as he is, a female puppeteer, and begins to develop some feelings for her. And it's clear that she isn't exactly immune to his charms, either. But when the woman is attacked by a Prince bent on having her, Dunk rushes to her rescue, pummeling the Prince.

But attacking a Prince of the Blood is dangerous, and leaves Dunk with two options; either lose his hand and any chance of ever being a Knight, or find six Knights willing to fight on his side in something called "The Trial of Seven"- a one on one combat to determine who is in the right.

Dunk is tall, strong and honorable, but the demands of Chivalry are something that he will never be able to understand, and when the demands of Chivalry work against him, will Dunk be able to overcome his foes and become the kind of Knight he has always idolized? Or will his "victory" cost him more than could a defeat?

I liked this graphic novel very much. The story was wonderful- well, when it was originally written by George R. R. Martin, why wouldn't it be? But I also liked the art, and the character designs, which were clean and somehow elegant.

Dunk is a wonderful character. His ears have been filled for years with stories told by his master, Arlan. But he's never realized how much of those stories are more an old man's wishful thinking than actual truth- and his ignorance may get not only himself killed, but any of the knights who will be fighting on his side.

And that may be the biggest tragedy of all- and who will get the blame for it? Nobody but Dunk. "Dunk the Lunk" as his Master used to call him. This story is effective and well-told, and I definitely wanted to read more at the end of it. Recommended.

No comments: