Author George R.R. Martin has confirmed a fan theory about Brienne of Tarth, kicking her cool levels up a few more notches.

Speaking to fans at Baltimore’s Balticon last weekend, Martin confirmed that Brienne is descended from Ser Duncan the Tall — the central character in Martin’s Dunk & Egg novellas.

In the stories, the first three of which were recently collected in A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, Duncan begins life as a commonborn young knight. (Well… he may or may not actually be a knight, but that’s complicated.) Known for his prodigious size, strength, and loyalty, Dunk comes to meet Prince Aegon Targaryen and through a series of simultaneously funny and tragic mishaps, takes the boy on his squire.

George R.R. Martin had previously allowed that a descendant of Ser Duncan would be revealed in A Song of Ice and Fire, but aside from Brienne’s physical prowess there were few hints to the individual’s identity. The only significant clue was hidden in a passage from A Feast for Crows, in which Brienne recalls finding a shield very similar to Duncan’s at the armory on Tarth.


While Martin’s revelation probably won’t have any impact on HBO’s Game of Thrones, the author did suggest that something may come of the connection in A Song of Ice and Fire.

“Will we ever learn how Brienne descends from Dunk?” a fan asked at the convention.

“Eventually,” Martin replied. “All will be revealed in time.”

Though this information is very much of the past (and perhaps most pleasing to the giddy nerds — of which I am one — who delight in Martin’s gift for granular detail) it’s worth noting that Brienne’s lineage may hold portends for the modern story.

After all, young “Egg” of the novellas eventually becomes King Aegon V Targaryen. Aegon, called “The Unlikely” due to his distant place in the line of succession, named the lowborn Duncan as Lord Commander of his Kingsguard. Dunk held this position until his and Aegon’s deaths many years later, in the Tragedy at Summerhall.

Aegon, of course, is the great-grandfather of Daenerys Targaryen. At the end of A Dance with Dragons, Brienne is stuck in a sticky situation in the Riverlands, while Dany has been captured by Dothraki in Essos. Still, it doesn’t seem impossible that Dunk and Egg’s fierce female descendants might come to serve as Queen and Queensguard together, in an accidental echo of the roles that shaped both their ancestors and Westeros forever.

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