The first season of Telltale’s Game of Thrones comes to a close with Episode 6 – The Ice Dragon. Compared to The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, episodes of Game of Thrones have run a little longer than Telltale’s usual fare – The Ice Dragon feels like it’s probably one of the longest they’ve ever done – and there’s a lot happening here.
For me at least, A Nest of Vipers closed out with Rodrik Forrester being butchered at the hands of Gryff Whitehill – leaving Asher to take up the mantle of Lord of Ironrath and lead protagonist. The Ice Dragon is quick to setup what comes next, escalating the dramatic tension as you visibly see – and feel – the walls close in around the Forresters. I enjoyed watching how the episode built Asher up as a viable leader for the family – how it distinguished him from the other characters who have filled the role.
As the main plotline runs towards its conclusion, The Ice Dragon puts you in the compelling position of either struggling to create a lasting peace with the Whitehills or fighting to thwart such a resolution. Both came with their own challenges and while executing my own “Red Wedding” was particularly satisfying, it felt like there were a lot of different ways the final few chapters could have played out. The main plot leaves the fate of the Forresters in a pretty open-ended place that makes me wonder where Telltale might take the family in a potential second season.
The North Grove plotline also (finally!) redeemed itself with some much-needed development, conflict and action this time around. There are some nice touches in the environmental and aesthetic design of The North Grove itself which bring a spooky tone and atmosphere that hits the right marks when it comes to delivering on the reverence attached the location.
Siblings Josera and Elsera Snow also bring a cool brother-sister dynamic and some more mystical attributes into to the – giving the plotline a much more distinct feel than previous episodes have. There are some good payoffs here, however the battle with the wights comes off a little undercooked due to the low level of model variation on both sides of the brawl. It’s a dramatic hiccup that took me out of the story and I’m kinda baffled me as to why Telltale didn’t just reuse assets from The Walking Dead when it came to this scene.
Down South, Mira’s character arc receives some similar pathos. The concluding chapters of her story are all about the consequences of her choices catching up to her. It’s about determining whether or not Mira has a future in the capital and, if she does, what form that future will take. The episode flings betrayal after betrayal after Mira and while it makes for some gut-wrenching moments, it occasionally feels a little rushed.
Like its predecessors, The Ice Dragon, does a good job of capturing what draws people to HBO’s Game of Thrones. However, like the rest of the series, this comes at the cost of everything feeling a little too familiar. Your enjoyment with the episode is obviously going to hinge on how invested you’ve become in the series over the previous five episodes. There’s nothing happening here that’ll win over outright skeptics. Still, The Ice Dragon is solid closing chapter that’s probably worth seeing through to the end.