If you haven't read the Dunk and Egg novellas (which are now available in one book), I highly recommend them. They're good for the Song of Ice and Fire reader who's trying to decide whether to stick a toe into the Olympic swimming pool of ancillary materials, the Game of Thrones watcher who's thinking about reading the books but doesn't have time for a thousand-page door stop, or the fantasy fan who has no exposure to either the show or the books, is curious about them, but is daunted by the length of both series. The AV Club listed the first Dunk and Egg novella, "The Hedge Knight," as a gateway to George R. R. Martin's work because it nicely compresses the themes and tone of Westeros into a bite-sized, pleasant piece (the novella collection clocks in at 368 pages for three novellas, and that's with illustrations at least every five pages and generously sized print.)
The novellas are also a lovely read for anyone who mostly enjoys Game of Thrones, but wishes it weren't so darned Game of Thrones all the time. They have complex situations and shades of grey, but also some genuinely heroic heroes and genuinely villainous villains--and the villains don't have to prove how bad they are by eating people's faces and raping every woman in sight. (In fact, I don't recall a single incident of, or even allusion to, sexual violence in any of the three novellas. The closest we get is a woman who's almost forced into an arranged marriage to a man she despises, but even that doesn't happen, and he doesn't spend the whole time leering about how much he's going to rock their wedding night.) Endings are invariably bittersweet, but not to the point where the protagonist is decapitated in front of a jeering crowd. And perhaps most importantly, for the first time since Storm of Swords, Martin seems to be having fun writing these. The last two Song of Ice and Fire books felt like something Martin was dutifully crossing off his list of chores. Dunk and Egg never does.
- If you actually recognize where you know the name from ("Hey, it's the Freys!") rather than just vaguely knowing they sound familiar from somewhere ("Oh, the Crakehalls. Right. Who are they again?"), drink twice.
- If you recognize a specific character from their being mentioned in Song of Ice and Fire, drink three times.
- If he actually gives him a clout on the ear, finish the bottle.
- "Dunk the lunk."
- "Thick as a castle wall." (Thus, if you get "Dunk the lunk, thick as a castle wall," drink twice.)
- "Tanselle Too-Tall they called her, but she was not too tall for me."
- "How many eyes does Bloodraven have? A thousand eyes, and one."
- If he actually uses it, drink twice.