I recently came across the graphic novel adaptation of “The Hedge Knight” on the shelf at the library. I also picked up some other graphic novels. I hadn’t planned on even checking anything out from the library that day. I just went in there to do some computer stuff. But while going through the graphic novel section “The Hedge Knight” was what made me definitely have to check something out. And it was what I read first. I had been curious about the story line for a long time and had wanted to read it.
Leafing through it, I did not find the artwork to be amazing. Later while reading it I found that I had been wrong. The artwork does compliment the storyline. Often it does not look period. The artwork looks modern. The inking and coloring remind me of just how much has changed after the Image revolution. Except here the art does not have such a heavy individual stamp.
The artwork is more than solid. It exhibits a good handling of skills in the visual storytelling medium. While reading it I always got the sense that the pictures had been executed clearly and were telling the story to me in a way that I could readily understand. I must say that everything with horses and knights in armor was what was handled especially well.
I’d have to say that the penciler, the inker, the colorist and the letterer all did a fine job. The work all jelled and seemed to all go together. Everything rests on top of the solid pencils by Ben Avery which pulled everything together and served as a strong foundation which makes this story real in the mind of the reader. The digital colors bring it up to an even higher level by helping to define the changing moods of the various panels. A fine job rendering candle light, night time, day light, etc. All handled differently and all well done.
I guess that leaves the adaptation. Well, since I haven’t read the original. I can’t really speak on how well it was adapted. I can only speak on the final story that made it in to the graphic novel.
To understand the story or how it is told requires some reference to the story telling technique in “A Song of Fire and Ice”, because in many respects it is in opposition to traditional good storytelling rules. It purposely breaks some of those rules first. Like names right off the bat. Names that sound a like. Or a lot of names. And a lot of names of characters that you are not familiar with. That is purposely present in “A Song of Fire and Ice” and that is present here as well. So, that is the kind of thing that must be taken in to consideration when following the story. It can get confusing. Yes, I was confused and still am about certain points.
The main story in this part of the story. (The second being “The Sworn Sword” novella “The Hedge Knight Part 2” comic book adaptation) I did understand and would probably be understood by just about anyone. That is what is important. This story about Dunk and Egg. This story had me interested from the beginning to the end of the graphic novel. I enjoyed it all the way through. This first story is solid. A solid enjoyable read. I could probably read this graphic novel again for pure enjoyment and it did make me want to read the original novella even more. And of course I’d enjoy watching the story on the small or large screen.
This version of that universe that I am familiar was familiar and different. Yes, it kind of feels the same. But, different in many ways. Everything sexual is not present here. There is none of that. This graphic novel is PG except for a little violence. So, that is definitely different than the universe that I am used to. Also the handling of the medieval setting here is much more traditional. We see the world through Dunk’s eyes. His ideas of what a knight is and what chivalry is are traditional. The other side, the Game of Thrones version is mostly missing here. But, the story does not suffer from a lack of that vibe. That darker vibe. Even from the lack of magic or mystical creatures. Here it does not suffer from a lack of anything.
If anything it actually contains purple Targarian eyes. Who hasn’t been waiting for that?
I don’t want to keep comparing this graphic novel to other things. But, the story does not contain epic wars and semi epic battles. The scale is pretty small and the main character is some one most of us can relate to. The era and setting are foreign, but the struggle is our own. He is doing what we do to get a little piece of that pie and you’ll like watching him do it. But are we that bold? Do we take such bold risks? Probably not. But, hopefully we will.
If I had to give one critique it would only be that at the very end there is a little section called “Battle on RedGrass Field”. This very little part contains a lot of story with a lot of names of a lot of characters that we do not know. Neither do we know the connecting back story that links to it. It’s just a confusing punctuation on a very sweet story that needn’t be there in my opinion. If need be, told a little clearer I’d suggest. I later found out that this story is part of “The Hedge Knight 2” (comic adaptation). That’s where it belongs. In that context. And it’s still somewhat confusing there. But, yeah. That’s one of the things that we love about “A Song of Ice and Fire”. I’m on board for that. Digging deep in to that world. Such a deep world. Such a deep dig.
Fantasy Comic Book Nerdom