Set approximately 100 years prior to the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Hedge Knight series is a set of novellas and subsequent graphic novels. I have not read the three novellas yet, but have read the two graphic novels adapted thus far from the series.
The novels feature two main characters, Dunk (later known as Duncan the Tall of the Kingsguard) and Egg (Aegon Targaryen, later King of Westeros). Aegon is mentioned in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I can’t recall Duncan being mentioned in the series. Nevertheless, the world presented in the novels feels very familiar to a reader of the larger series, with the ancestors of characters such as Robert Baratheon, the Lannister siblings and Dany Targaryen playing generally supporting roles. The story itself is fairly straightforward and well written – Dunk is a squire who becomes a knight when his mentor dies, and follows him as he pursues his dream of becoming a knight and exploring the realm. Despite his royal blood, Egg becomes his squire and accompanies Dunk on his adventures. In addition to the battle scenes and political intrigue common to Martin’s books, The Sworn Sword shows a bit of how a feudal system would really work, and The Hedge Knight depicts a tournament and a bit of the legal system of the realm. The series is interesting, as much of the A Song of Ice and Fire series focuses on the activities of the nobility, while Dunk is lowborn and dealing the world in an entirely different way as a result of his status. It gives some interesting backstory to the main series, particularly in further humanizing the Targaryen family. Mike Miller’s art is very well done, with beautiful colouring that changes to reflect scene and atmosphere.
The story does not rely overmuch on the story developed in the main series, but it does seem to foreshadow some of the events – I am not sure if people not already familiar with Martin’s work would be able to invest much into the graphic novels. I really enjoyed them, however, and look forward to reading the third graphic novel and the source novellas.