“Game of Thrones, Episode 4: Sons of Winter” Review
Just as HBO is reaching its home stretch of episodes, Telltale Games is reaching its slower version of a home stretch with the fourth episode of Game of Thrones in Sons of Winter. We’ve seen good development so far, but what do we have here? Perhaps the best of the series so far.
What Is It?
Sons of Winter picks up immediately where The Sword in the Darkness left off with Gared at Castle Black. Having gotten himself into a far stickier situation than he anticipated (which is really just par for the course in The Realm), he’s forced to protect himself to greater degrees. In the process, he has the potential to grow closer to some of the butting-head friends he’s become fellow Crows with.
Asher, meanwhile, faces a different type of Danaerys Targaryen than what at least causal GoT fans will know from the show. She comes off as harsh and unlikely to trust you, but does a great job trolling with one of her present dragons. Your encounter with Drogon in the previous episode plays a key role with setting off events and agreements with Danaerys.
Mira plays a somewhat smaller role in this episode, but is able to expand upon her political attitude that was building in Sword in the Darkness. What she’ll do here is uncover some of the deeper plots against House Forrester that the rest of her family doesn’t appear to be too well aware of, so she may prove to be incredibly useful later down the line.
Finally, Rodrick is put into more of a showdown position with Griff back at Ironrath. His part of the story begins to set up what is likely to be the most important battle elements for the final two episodes. This felt like the trickiest I needed to explain, but you can imagine just how fun and fancy and free Rodrick’s tale is going when everybody’s favorite bastard son from House Bolton shows up.
Why Should I Care?
After three episodes, Sons of Winter seems to have everything come fantastically into its own and each story element offers some of the best moments yet.
I had a tough time deciding which of the stories were my favorite — Asher’s or Rodrick’s. Asher’s provides a good amount of growth opportunities for him, but also takes you deeper into Beshka’s backstory so you’ll understand why she’s been acting in such ways leading up to Mereen. You won’t find much dragon action here like you did in Sword in the Darkness, but I did like how the dragon was used as an intimidating factor. I actually like the dragon more than Danaerys, who came across in just a foul way that didn’t make her all too enjoyable, and not even in that “hate-watch” way. I also found her to be a bit oddly animated. She seemed very stiff and her character didn’t move all too well, especially when compared to her dragon.
What this arc provided in terms of action scenes were easily the best since Asher’s in Iron from Ice. It offered a great mix of stealth and full blown action sequences. The last couple of episodes had offered good fighting pieces, but this was more engaging with different styles of fighting. Perhaps that was building off some of the great elements from Gared’s arc in the previous episode. His action was much more subdued this time around, but I did like his development between Finn and Cotter.
Rodrick’s, on the other hand, allowed muscle to be flexed through tension and strategic planning against the Whitehills. It provides him the opportunity to continue his growth to a strong leader, which plays nicely off Asher’s potential growth to a much more mature and important part of the family. The tension that played out between characters here felt natural and not quite as forced as other situations. I’m hoping, though, that what the episode’s results did doesn’t do anything to mess too much with the trend. It’d be a shame for it to get off course simply for the sake of having things get worse just because they can.
More so than any other other so far, Sons of Winter has connected itself to the show’s current events. Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll be getting up to the most recent episode (7, as of 5/24/15), but I was surprised to see just how parallel Telltale’s series is matching up against HBO’s. Mira’s story was perhaps the closest as her events are taking place in King’s Landing. The rest don’t dive quite as deep, even though the title card for this episode insinuates bigger connections.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
Sons of Winter is easily the best episode of the series so far. It manages to pack together great action and story in such a cohesive way that you may want Episode 5 to come immediately. It felt like a television series’ penultimate episode, which to some degree causes some concern for the next two episodes. Typically, the penultimate will provide all the awesome stuff and segue directly into the finale. Of course, Sons of Winter will not lead directly into the final episode, so we’ll see if anything about the next episode drags on. Still, this episode is more than worth the few hours of your time.
Reviews of Previous Episodes of Game of Thrones:
|Title:||Game of Thrones, Episode 4: Sons of Winter|
|Platform:||PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC|
|Release Date:||May 26, 2015|
|Editor's Note:||A season pass was purchased by the reviewer for the Xbox One. Episode 4 was completed prior to this review being written.|