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Lady_Qohor

Why does Maekar allow Egg to go off with Dunk?

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So I've just finished the Dunk and Egg stories and I have to ask why on earth Maekar allows his 8 year old trueborn son to go off with some unknown hedge knight? I know Dunk argues to Maekar that if Egg is allowed to go on this journey maybe he won't end up as bad as Aerion or Daeron but that just doesn't seem to be worth the risk. A running theme of The Hedge Knight is that nobody can really vouch for Dunk, nobody at Ashford has known him longer than a few days, nobody can even prove he's actually a knight and yet Maekar just hands him over his young prince son. Dunk could be cruel, incompetent, a traitor, he could sell Egg to slavers to repay some gambling debts, he might be a secret Blackfyre supporter and hand Egg over to Bittersteel to be used againt Maekar as a hostage.

Yes you can say that Maekar is grieving at that moment but it still doesn't seem enough to justify such a risky decision. I can't honestly think of another highborn parent in Westeros who would willingly hand over their trueborn child to some unknown hedge knight that nobody has known longer than a few days.

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"Can I offer you a nice Egg in this trying time?"

                                                 Maekar to Dunk at the end of the Hedge Knight.

Joke aside, there might be several factors, firstly Egg was really down the line for any possible inheritance.

His older sons seem to be disappointments, Egg seems to have liking  of Dunk
 “My youngest son seems to have grown fond of you, ser. It is time he was a squire, but he tells me he will serve no knight but you. He is an unruly boy, as you will have noticed. Will you have him?”,

Baelor's attitude toward Dunk might have influenced decision, his actions during the challenge and their conversation, though I agree that he was taking a chance with him. He also might have sent spies with Bloodraven to keep watch on them during their travels. 

Edited by Eltharion21

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This is all driven by Bloodraven. He is playing a long game intended to shore up the main Targaryen line as heirs to the throne, and he sees Aegon V / Egg - in combination with Dunk - as the best prospect for an effective Targaryen king.

He also wants the boy out of King's Landing for awhile because he is going to unleash the Great Spring Sickness and kill off a large percentage of the population in the city.

Traveling the countryside also will help Egg to be a better king. He will get to know what life is like in the realm and pick up knowledge that can't (or won't) be taught by maesters. For instance, Egg muses out loud in The Sworn Sword that the small folk can teach him about poisonous plants.

I don't know if Bloodraven would have had a conversation with Maekar, where he would literally instruct him on letting his son squire for a hedge knight, or whether it was an unspoken "mind control" situation - I've explained elsewhere that Bloodraven is closely linked to Tanselle, who manipulates the dragon puppet. Maybe he said something vague like, "I know you are ambitious. Things can swing your way if you do as I say. Be sure to say goodbye to your father and to your nephews via Prince Baelor."

But Maekar also seems indulgent toward his sons. He helped to create the whole Trial of Seven situation because he believed the sons who said that Dunk was a bad guy. Maybe he feels guilty about that and now swings the other way, wanting to indulge Egg.

Maekar would know that Bloodraven has a thousand eyes and one. If Bloodraven assured him that Egg would be watched over and kept safe, he would probably have 1000% trust in this reassurance.

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3 hours ago, Lady_Qohor said:

So I've just finished the Dunk and Egg stories and I have to ask why on earth Maekar allows his 8 year old trueborn son to go off with some unknown hedge knight? I know Dunk argues to Maekar that if Egg is allowed to go on this journey maybe he won't end up as bad as Aerion or Daeron but that just doesn't seem to be worth the risk. A running theme of The Hedge Knight is that nobody can really vouch for Dunk, nobody at Ashford has known him longer than a few days, nobody can even prove he's actually a knight and yet Maekar just hands him over his young prince son. Dunk could be cruel, incompetent, a traitor, he could sell Egg to slavers to repay some gambling debts, he might be a secret Blackfyre supporter and hand Egg over to Bittersteel to be used againt Maekar as a hostage.

Yes you can say that Maekar is grieving at that moment but it still doesn't seem enough to justify such a risky decision. I can't honestly think of another highborn parent in Westeros who would willingly hand over their trueborn child to some unknown hedge knight that nobody has known longer than a few days.

Given how his older sons turned out, I think it’s safe to say that Maekar is not a particularly good father. His way of fixing that with Aegon is further proof of that. He’s just lucky that it worked out with Dunk.

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1 hour ago, James Steller said:

Given how his older sons turned out, I think it’s safe to say that Maekar is not a particularly good father. His way of fixing that with Aegon is further proof of that. He’s just lucky that it worked out with Dunk.

 

5 hours ago, Lady_Qohor said:

So I've just finished the Dunk and Egg stories and I have to ask why on earth Maekar allows his 8 year old trueborn son to go off with some unknown hedge knight? I know Dunk argues to Maekar that if Egg is allowed to go on this journey maybe he won't end up as bad as Aerion or Daeron but that just doesn't seem to be worth the risk. A running theme of The Hedge Knight is that nobody can really vouch for Dunk, nobody at Ashford has known him longer than a few days, nobody can even prove he's actually a knight and yet Maekar just hands him over his young prince son. Dunk could be cruel, incompetent, a traitor, he could sell Egg to slavers to repay some gambling debts, he might be a secret Blackfyre supporter and hand Egg over to Bittersteel to be used againt Maekar as a hostage.

Imagine the red faces all round if Dunk turned out to be a scumbag. Though if anything did happen to Aegon, Dunk would have to get the seven hells out of Dodge. There's no way he'd be safe in the Seven Kingdoms if he'd misused a Targaryen prince, especially with Bloodraven keeping one of his 1001 eyes out for him.

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Also Dunk has just won a trial of seven. This is a world where people believe such prerogatives. Dunk has proven his valor - more than once even, with his initial actions and then at the trial. Baelor "the one without a fault" believed in Dunk enought to fight for him, Maekar killed his brother defending the loosing side. Meakar is not only grieving, he feels responsible, guilty even. Entrusting his son to Dunk makes sense.

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And he gives his son "the boot" (the Targeryen ring with Maekar's personal sigil). That's a hell of a safeguard 

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