5. Dunk and Egg
Dunk and Egg feels a lot like The Hobbit, a softer story that nicely ties into the larger history of Westeros. The novellas follow a standard hedge knight and his squire as they travel across Westeros. Throughout the series, which GRRM said he hopes to continue soon, the two characters slowly come of age and sharpen their abilities.
We know part of the ending already thanks to information subtly given in Game of Thrones. Ser Duncan the Tall, a far off relative of Brienne of Tarth will eventually end his journey as a legendary member of the King’s Guard while Egg grows up to become King Aegon V, but for now they’re just two people trying their best. While Westeros seems simpler at the time due to less political infighting and a stable monarch, the characters are as rich and complex as ever, distinguishing this as more of a character driven story than the plot heavy Game of Thrones.
The novellas are a long-form coming of age tale for both protagonists. While ASOIAF certainly shows a few characters growing and making hard choices, most of them are in the larger context of the intense political situation taking place across Westeros. The story of Dunk and Egg, on the other hand, is really a story about watching two young men grow up to be the heroes they are destined to be. TV audiences eat it up whenever they get the opportunity to see the lowly hero become a champion warrior, and getting to spread that growth out over a long span of time makes it more enjoyable to watch characters grow because it feels like we’ve been watching them practice for years instead of all of a sudden being some great fighter.
There aren’t any dragons or Others to be seen here, just some good, old fashioned, character driven drama.