Game of Thrones Episode 6: Ice Dragon: B-
A thrilling, but ultimately unsatisfying conclusion.
Episode 6 successfully concludes all the major story lines from Episode 5, but leaves you wanting more. Minor spoilers from past episodes follow.
Even though Episode 5 ended with the death of a major Forrester character, Episode 6 opens with Gared, Cotter, and Sylvi finally reaching the fabled and mysterious North Grove. There they encounter two new characters who reference the mysterious power of the North Grove. From the outset, it is clear that something is wrong with these new characters. The episode successfully reveals their dark secrets gradually, but fails to explain the North Grove properly. The new characters repeatedly claim the North Grove has important powers, but never explain what those powers are. So when I was faced with the major decision of whether to aid my friend from the past four episodes or sacrifice him to help the grove, it wasn’t difficult at all.
The main Forrester arc was satisfying, if a little unsurprising. It’s been clear from the beginning that things will not end well for the Forrester family and Episode 6 does not deviate from this pattern. At the end of Episode 5, you have to choose which of the two main Forrester characters to save. I chose to save the more warrior-like one because the Whitehills (the antagonists) only understand force. The Forrester arc culminates in a major battle between the heavily outnumbered Forresters and the vicious Whitehills. It’s not surprising that things go poorly for the Forresters, but the episode did a good job of making it feel closer than it really was. You come close to achieving victory despite immeasurable odds.
Mira’s arc, which had been the most interesting this season, was a complete letdown. Mira’s machinations to try and protect her family from King’s Landing allowed her to interact with various important characters from the show, such as Tyrion, Cersei, and Margaery Tyrell. Also, her scheming was a nice change from all the violence and swordplay of the rest of the Forrester. But this episode basically turned her into Sansa. She’s made powerless and then controlled by an abusive male figure. While it may be in keeping with Game of Thrones themes, it’s absolutely no fun and diminished Mira as a character.
The gameplay and graphics remained the same as always. Combat occurs through QTEs and you interact with people by looking and clicking on them. You control the dialogue between characters and your choices either please or anger whoever you’re talking to. As always, you’re forced to make tough decisions. For example, do you stage an elaborate ambush for the major villain, but risk harming your brother who is his hostage? Or do you attempt to poison his wine, even though that’s considered a coward’s weapon? These kind of choices make the game more immersive and had me on the edge of my seat.
In conclusion, while the finale successfully wrapped up all the cliffhangers from the episode before, it was far from satisfying. The ending felt derivative of the show. As the game was ending, my wife asked me, “So you’re basically the Starks?” I couldn’t think of any response to prove her wrong. You’re a family in the North undone by your honor and the treachery of other houses, including the Boltons. All noble characters end up dead and the future of the house rests on a young child being raised by a wild woman far away.
Telltale originally claimed there would be multiple seasons for Game of Thrones. However, Season 2 has yet to be confirmed. If there is more than one season, then this finale is not enough to prevent me from continuing the Forrester story. But if there’s only one season, then this’ll be the first time I regret playing a Telltale game.