Despite the lackluster critical reception to final season, the world author George RR Martin built remains one of HBO’s most popular IPs. This was made all the more obvious with the overwhelmingly positive reaction its spin-off series, , received upon its airing in 2022. on even more stories adapted from , leaving audiences anxious to discover what else the medieval fantasy world has to offer.
However, approaching the thousands of pages written in the series can be a daunting experience for even the biggest fantasy fan. It is a little easier, however, to discover the lore behind via George R. R. Martin's spin-off books -- but one series set within is just as rich in lore yet far more accessible for the casual fan. were compiled into the novella and later adapted into three graphic novels by Marvel: and
Fans of may not be immediately familiar with the characters found in or its sequels, but the two main protagonists, Ser Duncan the Tall and Aegon "Egg" Targaryen, are very important to the mythology explored in both HBO shows. Not only is Duncan the Tall (more commonly referred to as "Dunk") an ancestor of popular character Brienne of Tarth, but Egg eventually becomes one of the many Targaryen kings who helped mold the history of Westeros as it is recognized today.
In , Dunk takes Egg under his wing as his squire in order to teach him the humility that his older Targaryen brothers lacked. This simple decision set the kingdom down a path of relative peace despite several attempted uprisings to end his reign. When Egg (known in the history books as King Aegon V Targaryen) finally claimed the Iron Throne, he led Westeros with far more compassion than most Targaryen kings. This is likely due to the lessons instilled in him by Dunk during their days together. , among the men at Castle Black when Jon Snow arrived. It was Aemon joining the Night's Watch and passing succession to his younger brother than granted Aegon the throne and dubbed him "Aegon the Unlikely."
Many tales alluded to within the main tales are retold clearly in stories. The graphic novels offer a colorful window into the less-explored aspects of the stories while supplying readers with even more details on the Targaryens and the struggles they experienced. In the series' first tale, , readers are presented with the Trial by Seven that results in the death of Prince Baelor Targaryen, a notable figure in the . In , Dunk and Egg play an important role in a dispute over the rights to a river in the Southwestern region of Westeros known as The Reach.
The third entry in the series, , treats readers of with one of the most notable events in the series' history as Martin tells the story of the aftermath to the Blackfyre Rebellion, one of the multiple Targaryen civil wars brought upon the kingdom by pretenders. Dunk and Egg help stifle a second rebellion before it devolved into an all out war. The story features a rare appearance by Lord Bloodraven who had previously gone by the name Brynden Rivers and will eventually become the Three-Eyed Crow (referred to as ). Readers also catch a glimpse of a very young Walder Frey, the man responsible for the infamous "Red Wedding" that resulted in the deaths of several popular characters.
Much to the displeasure of some fans, George R. R. Martin has yet to complete the main series. Not much is different for the , as the current trilogy isn't the extent of the two notable characters' stories together. If readers were to jump into the world of via and its sequels, it would offer them new stories to look forward to while waiting for the next books in the main series ( and ) to finally hit bookshelves.
The graphic novels in particular present readers with gorgeous artwork that only enhances the stories. With art by Mike S. Miller, all three Marvel graphic novels present the world of Westeros in vivid color and fascinating detail. Each design fits the descriptions of not only the characters themselves, but also provides a clear point of origin for how they appear in the main stories and the HBO series.
If readers are looking for a simpler entry point into the world of , there is no better option than the graphic novels adapting the It wouldn't take nearly as much time as the tomes that are George RR Martin's novels, and with gorgeous artwork to accompany each story's twists and turns, it's an experience like no other. With news dropping recently that as yet another spin-off series, now would be the perfect time for new fans to immerse themselves in the ever-expanding lore behind George R. R. Martin's world.