“Game of Thrones, Episode 5: A Nest of Vipers” Review
Game of Thrones: A Nest of Vipers left me confused and angry. Confused as to why I made certain decisions in the previous episodes and angry at myself for not going in a certain direction. The latest installment in the Telltale Games series is engaging, thrilling and downright punishing, all in the realm of what fans expect an average episode of Game of Thrones to be. The choices you have made, or failed to, will come back to haunt you in this episode and Telltale puts out all the stops to make sure you understand how each decision affects everyone. A Nest of Vipers was hard to watch, and that is exactly what makes it the best episode in the series yet.
What Is It?
War is coming. The Forresters are in distress after having their home of Ironrath being torn apart by the neighboring Whitehill clan and Roose Bolton’s army in the North. Rodrik is constantly struggling with a need to please everyone in his family while not starting a war, Asher is trying to build an army to help his family back home, Mira is off in King’s Landing trying to get help from the royal families, and Gared, recent escapee from Castle Black, is off to find the North Grove.
The varying storylines are much more intense this time around, as decisions you have made in previous episodes begin to shed some light into the actions you see. Ramsay Bolton, perhaps notorious for his vileness on the latest season of Game of Thrones on HBO, is downright rotten this episode. The opening scene is revolting enough to rival the brutality of the TV show, and Ramsay once again shows why he is the villain in the game. Many of the show’s star characters return as well, but their interactions are sidelined with only a few lines here and there. Their appearances, however, help showcase how important the Forrester’s struggles are to the realm of Westeros.
Why Should I Care?
Because A Nest of Vipers has everything fans have been waiting for. The Forresters are at their breaking points and the scenes with Rodrik and Ramsay have some of the most intense dialogue options of the series. All of Rodrik’s scenes this episode were very well done, and his conversations and choices this time seemed to be much more upfront. In the past episodes, I made Rodrik have a wait-and-see attitude, watching things unfold and second-guessing all my choices. Rodrik’s role in this episode shred that doubt for me, and I made decisions that not only affected House Forrester, but the entire landscape of the war that was eventually coming to Westeros. One choice in particular where Rodrik uncovers a traitor at Ironrath will undoubtedly have repercussions down the line.
Asher’s segments involved gathering an army to help him fight back home. The Mother of Dragons makes an appearance to tell Asher she cant help with his army but gives him enough gold to hire his own should he find one. A fun little battle sequence with the pit masters of Meereen is a nice change of pace from the nonstop killing and the gladiatorial-like setting is a great way to see the back story of Beshka and her relationship with Asher. Despite my love for Asher’s character, I actually found his role this episode the most mundane, mainly for the fact that the characters he meets for his army are some of the most cliche archetypes created and some of them seemed out of place in the lore of the Game of Thrones history.
Gared, fresh off his break out from Castle Black, is still searching for the North Grove while escaping the Night’s Watch. His story arc involves a little bit of everything; hunting for food with a bow, great dialogue decisions that affect your party’s thoughts on the situation and a battle to the death against a welcomed enemy (I won’t spoil the surprise for you, but fans of the show should know who it is based on Gared’s location). Gared still feels quite bare in terms of character development as opposed to everyone else and the fact we still have to wait one more episode before finding out what the North Grove is was quite a disappointment.
Mira, however, has the best scenes this episode. Her dealings at King’s Landing with the royal families have some of the best character interactions in the game, and Cersei in particular steals the show this episode with her sarcastic chortle towards her brother Tyrion’s well-being and Mira’s willingness to work with him. Since this episode takes place after the “Purple Wedding,” Tyrion is locked away in the dungeon, which leads to a very enjoyable conversation in regards to Mira’s previously entered partnership with Tyrion and Cersei’s desire to know who her brother has called as a witness to the trial. Mira has come a long way from being the scared girl afraid to talk to the nobles in the first episode to a powerful tool in the Forrester’s hopes of getting help for Ironrath.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
A Nest of Vipers comes together to deliver the best episode to date in Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones series. Each character has more to lose and decisions made in past episodes finally come to light, for better or for worse. The final decision you make in this episode has to be one of the hardest of the series thus far, and the fact that fans were split down the middle (50%) with their choices should give you an idea just how gut-wrenching and emotional the choice was.
The final choice was brutal, but it promises that the final episode will be just as explosive and emotional that the game has been building up to. My only qualm with this episode is that many of the chapters were only one scene long, with one in particular involving a minor conversation with Cersei. The fact that this episode seemed shorter should not throw you off, it still had the best dialogue and action sequences from any episode yet. Putting that aside, Telltale Games knows what Game of Thrones fans expect from a finale and given their track record, I expect all bets to be off and everyone to be vulnerable for a brutal killing next episode. It’s the Game of Thrones way.
Reviews of Previous Episodes of Game of Thrones:
- Episode 4: “Sons of Winter“
- Episode 3: “The Sword in the Darkness“
- Episode 2: “The Lost Lords“
- Episode 1: “Iron From Ice“
|Title:||Game of Thrones, Episode 5: A Nest of Vipers|
|Platform:||PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC|
|Release Date:||July 22, 2015|
|Editor's Note:||A season pass was purchased by the reviewer for the Xbox One. Episode 5 was completed prior to this review being written.|