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‘Game of Thrones – The Ice Dragon’ Review

Game of Thrones Episode 6

Platforms PS4/XB1/PS3/360/PC/OS X/iOS/Android
Developer Telltale Games   Publisher Telltale Games
Genre Adventure   Platform Played On PC

After almost four months of waiting (on our part, that is), developer Telltale Games has released the final episode for Game of Thrones’ first season. Called The Ice Dragon, has this finale been worth waiting for? I’m more inclined to say “yes” than “no”, although barely. If not for the fact that absolutely nothing gets resolved, this episode could have been the best one in the entire season. Here’s why…

I will try and refrain myself from spoiling too much, although it’s really hard, given last episode’s soul-crushing decision. In fact, let’s start from there. The most important aspect of The Ice Dragon is the fact that the events in Ironrath are wildly different, based on whom survives A Nest of Vipers’ ending. Yes, if you haven’t figured it out by now, a major character kicks the bucket in that finale, although it’s up to you to decide who gets to return to Ironrath. To not ruin the surprise, let’s call these characters ‘Hero #1’ and ‘Hero #2’, although, even if you haven’t played episode five, it’s pretty obvious whom these two characters are.

If Hero #1 survives, after a small encounter with some Whitehill soldiers, he returns to Ironrath, only to be immediately followed by an entire army of Whitehills, other important characters and one last chance for “peace” between the two Houses, which includes a forced marriage and House Forrester bending the knee to House Whitehill. I actually found the proposition an interesting one and would have liked to see TellTale implement an option to accept it. On the other hand, the entire House has been fighting for so long and had lost so much that such an idea wouldn’t have made sense. Anyway, that idea is thrown out the window and Hero #1 is presented with two ways of getting rid of the immediate danger. As predicted, however, all these schemes eventually end in an all-out war between the two Houses.

If Hero #2 survives, he returns to Ironrath, only to be immediately followed by an entire army of Whitehills and other important characters. This is where things start to branch off, as Ironrath is immediately attacked, forcing Hero #2 to go behind enemy lines and wreak as much havoc as possible, before going back and defending Ironrath. Whomever you chose during episode five’s finale, I can honestly say that these two fights are the best Game of Thrones has ever seen. The best part is that I couldn’t possibly predict who would live or die, so I was literally on the edge of my seat, the whole time. Yes, important characters on both ends meet their demise (after all, this is Game of Thrones) and while I’m glad that some live, their survival is way too absurd (in this universe, people have died from way lesser wounds). Nevertheless, it’s unclear what fate awaits the survivors, as the episode ends right after everyone important either died or fled.

Moving on to a more serene setting (although one just as dangerous), let’s take a gander at Mira’s conclusion. What’s frustrating here is the fact that not one decision made during earlier episodes has any meaning here. Even if you were a loyal friend to Sera, even if you were kind to Tom, even if you hadn’t killed that guard or even if you hadn’t kept that knife, things end up the same: you are no longer a handmaiden to Margaery (although certain decisions made here will make you part ways with her on good terms, something which will probably be of use in a potential second season) and are accused of murdering a Lannister guard. Mira has known for some time that she has made some unknown enemies in King’s Landing and this episode reveals at least one of them. Sadly, The Ice Dragon ends Mira’s tale with a decision just as big as the one in episode five, although the consequences will only be revealed in a (yet again, potential) second season.

One, final place to go, that being north of the Wall. Yes, Gared, Cotter and Sylvi finally discover the North Grove, although – as expected – it’s not exactly what they expected. As it turns out, the North Grove is populated by a bunch of Free Folk, whom share a special connection to the late Lord Forrester. Obviously, I won’t mention what that is. The important part, however, is the fact that the Free Folk’s leaders, a brother and a sister, possess special abilities. One of them is a Warg (a person whom can mind-control animals), while another one can directly mind-control all the other warriors in the North Grove. After an exciting battle and a gut-wrenching decision related to Gared and Cotter (the consequences of which have yet to be shown), the question on everyone’s mind is finally spoken out-loud: do Gared and company travel south to help House Forrester or remain in the North Grove to protect it, as the late Lord Forrester wanted? Unfortunately – you guessed it! – said decision is made right at the end of the episode, so players don’t get to see the outcome. Again, that potential second season comes into play.

the-verdict

The best part of episode five was the huge decision, right at the end. It was the first time in this season when I actually felt that my actions would impact more than a few dialog lines here and there or a cameo or two. As such, imagine how happy I was when I realized that episode six has brought one such type of decision for the entire cast. Unfortunately, the major bummer is the fact that The Ice Dragon is the last episode of the season. While a press release from 2013 had stated that TellTale has a multi-year deal with HBO (meaning that a second season is guaranteed), this shouldn’t be an excuse to end the first one with so many cliffhangers. That said, the Game of Thrones fanboy in me cannot wait to see what fate awaits House Forrester. Oh, and we definitely need a new engine. Come on, TellTale. It’s not like you’re giving us an open-world to explore.

The Good

  • Everything Happening at Ironrath and the North Grove
  • Huge Decisions with Wildly Different Outcomes…

The Bad

  • … Although Nothing Will Get Resolved Until Next Season
  • Mira’s Actions in Past Episodes are Ignored
  • Some Audio Glitches and Crashes

The Score 8


Vlad Pintea was a news editor/columnist/reviewer at Analog Addiction. You can contact him via e-mail at vlad94pintea@yahoo.com and vlad94pintea@gmail.com, on Skype (vlad94pintea), and Facebook.

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