Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Picture cribbed from Amazon
Yesterday I finished reading A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R, R. Martin, which is a compilation of three novellas featuring Ser Duncan "Dunk" the hedge knight, and his squire "Egg". Set a few generations before the events of the Song of Ice and Fire stories, you really get a feel for Westeros in a time of relative peace.  The stories are easier to read that the Song of Ice and Fire books, both because they have fewer characters, and because they are, as mentioned above, set in more peaceable times, so the outright horror of the other books is not as present.

Another interesting feature of this book is that it is lavishly illustrated, with over 150 illustrations of various sizes by Gary Gianni. [who apparently illustrated Prince Valiant for a while, which certainly carries over into his illustrations in this book] While the illustrations do not match the text exactly, they are excellent, and the book is probably worth paging through just to look at the pretty pictures... something you do not get to say about fiction books very often.  Amazon has a preview of the book which shows some of the pictures.

I really enjoyed these stories, and look forward to reading the promised 3-9 more when they come out... probably in 15 years at GRR Martin's usual rate.  Tales of knightly daring do, and honorable men in dishonorable company really appeal to me, and I like the setting, as there is even less magic than the War of the Five Kings era, and the military technology is transitioning from mail with plate to full harness.

I have discussed miniatures for Game of Thrones actions before, but while the Perry War of the Roses figures are suited for the War of the Five Kings (and plastic!), the earlier era is best suited by the Agincourt to Orleans line (now with its first plastic set, and forthcoming French set).  This is imperfect at best, since naturally a range aimed at Agincourt is focused on archers and wealthy men-at-arms in full harness, but supplementing with other Perry figures, Claymore Castings figures (particularly the Scots 1388 line), and other lines should do the trick.

Jousting figures heavily in the book, and playing a jousting game with just a few knights always sounds fun.  The 5th edition Bretonnian knights are ideal for this, but as those are more than a decade out of print, the Fireforge Teutonic Knights with some conversion would do nicely as well (particularly with some more "fantasy" heads).

Aside from miniature gaming there is plenty here to inspire for role playing as well, particularly in the middle story, which gets heavily into minor barony politics, and the various dynastic discussions.  A game like Pendragon seems ideal here.


Dai said...

I read these when they were originally released. Fun stuff and I like how they key in with the novels, histories-wise.

One day we'll actually get the next ASoIaF book...

Lasgunpacker said...

Dai, supposedly in spring... and of 2016.