The latest episode of Game of Thrones is titled "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," drawing fans' attention to a popular theory from the prequel books.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2 lie ahead!
As sprawling and intricate as the story of Game of Thrones is, it often only scratches the surface of its source material novels. It makes allusions where it can, however. For example, Sunday's episode title was taken from a collection of prequel novellas by the same name. Set roughly 90 years before the main series, A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms tells the story of King Aegon V and Ser Duncan the Tall, whom we now know is the ancestor of Brienne of Tarth.
The title is a brilliant nod to this deep cut, especially in relation to the episode's content. This week's installment of Game of Thrones found the characters preparing for their first battle against the Army of the Dead, and Brienne was defensive as she spent time with Jaime Lannister, Tormund Giantsbane and others.
However, her companions proved that they did not intend to mock her or belittle her when Jaime knighted Brienne. She has upheld chivalry and virtue more than any other anointed knight in the story, yet she never believed she would be allowed to be knighted in earnest.
This mirrors the unlikely story of Ser Duncan the Tall in many ways. In the prequel series, "Dunk" as he is known begins as a squire to a lowly hedge knight — practically homeless and looking for a way to make a living as an honorable knight. He eventually rises to become Lord Commander of the King's Guard under King Aegon V — or "Egg."
Many fan theorists have long believed that Brienne is descended from Dunk, and it was actually not that much of a stretch. Author George R.R. Martin repeatedly hinted that fans were looking in the right direction with that theory, until he finally confirmed it in 2016.
Martin told fans at the Balticon That Brienne is, in fact, descended from Dunk at the event, according to a report by Vanity Fair. Presumably, his future novels will explain the details of this connection, and perhaps reveal it to Brienne to give her a boost in confidence. Meanwhile, there is a good chance it will play into the shows as well, depending on HBO's prequel development goes.
HBO has at least five prequel series for Game of Thrones in development. One, we know, is about the first Long Night thousands of years ago, and two have been shelved. While Martin has said that neither of the other two are direct adaptations of A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms just yet, it seems very possible that Ser Duncan the Tall will make an appearance. After all, he is a key player in many dramatic episodes of Martin's fantasy history, from the fifth Blackfyre Rebellion to the northern adventures of Blood Raven.