In addition to A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin also wrote the Dunk and Egg novellas. These novellas are set about 100 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Many fans believe that the protagonist of that series, “Dunk” or Sir Duncan the Tall, is an ancestor of Brienne of Tarth.
Here’s what you need to know.
A Descendant of Dunk May Be on the Show
First, Martin has supposedly told fans that a descendant of Dunk’s will make an appearance in the Game of Thrones book series and, by extension, possibly in the show, too. This idea comes from supposed conversations that fans have said they had with the author, so it’s impossible to confirm.
Here’s one quote, shared on Westeros.org by KLI from November 8, 2000:
…But I did get up the courage to blurt out one small SoIaF query, which was if we’ve met a descendent of Dunk’s in the SoIaF. He said yes.”
John Reynolds submitted this story from November 10, 2005:
Asked if he’ll ever tell which character is Dunk’s descendent. Got a rather acerbic, ‘I gave a pretty strong hint in the new book,’ to which I sheepishly replied ‘Yea, but I read it real fast, in three days.’ I told him I suspected Brienne but thought that she was too obvious and that he’d be more subtle than that and he said, ‘You think?’ Coy bastard.”
The Books Have Strong Clues That They Could Be Related
But why Brienne? Well, for starters, Dunk is incredibly tall and strong. In the book The Hedge Knight it says:
Dunk was hugely tall for his age, a shambling, shaggy, big-boned boy of sixteen or seventeen years (no one was quite certain which) who stood closer to seven feet than to six, and had only just begun to fill out his frame. The old man had often praised his strength.” (emphasis ours)
Brienne is also very tall and strong.
First, there is this description in A Clash of Kings, the Catelyn II chapter:
She heard King Renly declare the Lady Brienne of Tarth the victor of the great melee at Bitterbridge, last mounted of one hundred sixteen knights.”
And then there’s this description, also in A Clash of Kings, the Catelyn II chapter:
The way she looked at the king—looked down at him, she was a good hand higher, though Renly was near as tall as his brother had been.”
So what? Both characters are tall and strong. This could easily just be a coincidence. But this next part would be quite a strange coincidence, indeed.
Dunk invented his own family crest and had it painted on his shield. Here’s the description from The Hedge Knight:
An elm tree,” said Egg. “A big elm tree, like the one by the pool, with a brown trunk and green branches.”
“Yes,” Dunk said. “That would serve. An elm tree . . . but with a shooting star above. Could you do that?” (emphasis ours)
Brienne happens to describe an old shield found in her family’s armory. It’s almost certainly the same shield. Here’s the description from A Feast for Crows, the Brienne II chapter:
She remembered how she’d run her fingertips across the cracked and fading paint, over the green leaves of the tree, and along the path of the falling star.” (emphasis ours)
To summarize the clues: Brienne and Dunk are both exceptionally tall and strong. Both characters are obsessed with chivalry, and served in a King’s Kingsguard. Most importantly, Dunk’s shield seems to be in her family’s possession. So, if only one of Dunk’s descendants shows up in the books, our money is on Brienne. But there’s no reason that Brienne has to be the only descendant of Dunk that we’ve encountered. We also think Hodor could be a good candidate. This is a theory we explore in an in-depth article about Hodor: “What Do the Game of Thrones Books Tell Us About Hodor?”