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03 December, 2014

Four Big Discussion Points Around Telltale's Game of Thrones

Warning: Massive spoilers for the HBO series Game of Thrones follow.

If you’re like us and have been eagerly awaiting the release of Telltale’s Game of Thrones, well here’s something to get you excited before its imminent release. Telltales has posted the first full-length trailer for the anticipated adaptation of George RR. Martin’s epic series. To celebrate, Grab It has rounded up information about the incoming game, and discussed some places we'd like the series to go. Check it out below.

The Trailer
Earlier this month we knew little of Telltales’ adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic series – aside from a series of cryptic excerpts from the novels. But as leaked screenshots of an animated Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister reared their royal mugs, it became clear that Telltale was using the outrageously popular HBO series as a template for its episodic adventure.

Now that the trailer has surfaced, we can confirm that at least four actors from the series will be joining an entirely new cast of characters to lend their voice talents. Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Natalie Dormer (Maergary Tyrell) all utter a few lines in the trailer, and their voices are instantly recognisable. But the sound of Iwan Rheon’s voice as the bastard Ramsay Snow will either make you smile with murderous glee or send a shiver down your spine. Ramsay Snow (or Ramsay Bolton), a prominent character throughout seasons 3 and 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, has shaped up to be one of the most unrelenting and sadistic characters in Westeros, and that’s a big call in a world full of sadistic and unrelenting characters. Telltale has proved with The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us that, just like Martin, they pull no punches when it comes to brutal and tragic storytelling, and Ramsay Snow is the perfect vehicle for some graphic and unexpected deaths.

We also got to see a little more from House Forrester, the focus of Telltale’s rendition. Already we can start to draw parallels between House Forrester and House Stark. There’s the strong, protective mother, Elissa Forrester, the stubborn but brave child, Ethan, and the timid daughter trapped in King’s Landing, Mira. Whether this family tree resembles the Stark family simply as a matter of location and social milieu or whether they have closer ties to the Starks than we already know is unknown as of yet. But one thing’s for sure, if these characters share a common fate to their Stark counterparts, the Forresters are in for a bumpy ride.

What We Know Of The Story
Playing The Walking Dead, I had always hoped Telltale would continue to tie in events and characters from the show. Past the first episode, this never eventuated. Which makes sense. With the complete deconstruction of civilisation, it's a wonder characters ever get the chance to reconnect. And after all, it was Skybound and Telltales' The Walking Dead, not AMC's The Walking Dead. With Game of Thrones, however, Telltales' game is set firmly within HBO's version of the Game of Thrones universe. So it's likely we'll feel the actions from the show reverberate throughout the six episodes of the game, and possibly see the fifth season of the television series influenced by the events within the game.

Telltale has confirmed that the game will take place between the end of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 5 of the HBO series. This would mean that we meet the Forresters of the North at a precarious place in the grander timeline. As those familiar with the show are aware, Season 3 ends with the infamous Red Wedding, the assassination of Robb and Catelyn Stark at the hands of Roose Bolton (father to Ramsey Snow), effectively granting Roose the title of Ward of the North. With the North now under the rule of the draconian House Bolton, loyalists to the Starks such as House Forrester are pressured to swear allegiance to the King. To make matters worse, House Forrester has an antagonistic history with the Whitehills, banner men to House Bolton, who, as Cersei threatens, may be intent on claiming the Forrester home, Ironrath, for themselves. But that’s just the happenings around the North and King’s Landing. The trailer and character bios reveal a few more iconic locales from the Game of Thrones franchise.

Globe Trotting: Westeros and Beyond
In true Game of Thrones fashion, the game will take us to many different corners of the series' vast map. In the trailer we got a glimpse of an unknown character approaching the home of the Night’s Watch, The Wall. And according to his bio, Forrester outcast, Asher, was exiled as far as Essos. The largest continent in the Game of Thrones universe, Essos is located across the Narrow Sea, far from the happenings in Kings Landing and the North. It’s home to the Dothraki, and it’s where the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, goes about her business, freeing the oppressed and dethroning those who condone slavery. In the four seasons of Game of Thrones, Daenerys has not once come into contact with any of the main cast from Westeros. Ripples have been felt in King’s Landing from Daenerys and vice versa, but that’s about as far as it goes. This demonstrates the vast distance between the two parties. So, it is possible that we’ll experience part of Telltale’s story in complete isolation from the rest of the gang – likely from the point of view of the banished son, Asher Forrester.

House Forrester: Who will be the major players and who will be the hapless NPCs?
Telltale has confirmed six episodes for their Game of Thrones adventure and five playable characters. Assuming the game follows suit and tells each chapter from a different character’s point of view, we’re guessing that the first five episodes will each focus on one character, with the sixth episode in place to tie up loose ends and wrap everything up in a manner that will satisfy every narrative branch. So who are our five playable characters? Thirteen affiliates of House Forrester have been announced, and each has their own backstory and motive to ensuring solidarity in Ironrath. Each seems worthy of a playable character role.

But those familiar with the novels know that it’s not always the most expected characters that get a point of view position. Robb Stark, for example, was the oldest and strongest son in the Stark family, quite a typical protagonist, but even he was denied a spot as a point of view character in the novels. Who knows exactly what characters will take the reigns, but Telltale has a dropped a few hints, suggesting that we won’t just be playing as characters from the Forrester family, but also as people in servitude to the house. We’re guessing that, although it would make sense for Telltales to place the head of the house, Lord Gregor Forrester, in a protagonist role, we may see his story through the eyes of his long time friend, Duncan Tuttle, or his ambitious squire, Gared Tuttle. And with much of the story unfolding in King’s Landing, it’s a safe bet that Mira Forrester will play an important part throughout the season.

Here’s our bets on who we will be following through Season One of Telltale’s Game of Thrones:

Gared Tuttle: Gared, squire to Lord Gregor, was raised on stories of heroism and dreams of one day being a warrior himself. This could give us someone to root for (not usually a good thing in the GoT universe), but his need to be recognised as a valiant warrior could also lead to some irrational and irresponsible decision-making.

Asher Forrester: The fact that Asher exists as a character at all almost guarantees him a spot on the playable character list. As I mentioned earlier, Essos is a long way from the North, and it’s unlikely that the story will go there unless it’s through the eyes of a character with ties to the main plot.

Mira Forrester: Headey, Dinklage and Dormer all featured heavily in the launch trailer, and I’m sure Telltale won’t let that talent go to waste. I think we’ll be spending a fair amount of playtime in King’s Landing as Mira, standing by sheepishly as Cersei gets pissed on summer wine and rubbishes your entire family.

Ethan Forrester: As we know, part of the story takes place in Ironrath. With the creepy flayer, Ramsay Snow, lurking about, things seem to be tense at the homestead. With Lord Gregor Forrester and his oldest son, Rodrik off fighting the good fight, its likely Ironrath will be left vulnerable - Elissa Forrester and her children will be left to fend for their own. Ethan’s character bio describes him as an individual "drawn to the pursuits of the mind," and the character of Tyrion Lannister has proven that fans enjoy the departure from stereotypical physical powerhouses. Through Ethan’s character we could keep track of matters on Ironrath, while spending time with other characters like his mother, Elissa, and his twin sibling, Talia.

Malcolm Branfield: Probably the most mysterious character announced, Ellisa Forrester’s brother, Malcolm Branfield, is described as a black sheep of the Branfield family. He took up the life of a hedge knight and still has a tendency to disappear for weeks at a time. This character is a bit of a stretch, but we did see someone approaching The Wall. Could this be Malcolm on one his mysterious ventures? Using Malcolm as a playable character later in the season could be a good way of pulling off some kind of big reveal towards the final act of the story.

These are just my speculations and I could be completely wrong. But as the release date gets closer, I can’t help but imagine all the wonderful and horribly unfair ways we’ll get to experience Telltale’s vision of the Game of Thrones universe. 

Iron From Ice, the first chapter to Telltale's highly anticipated take on the Game of Thrones franchise, is set to hit Mac and PC on the 2nd of December, with PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 slated for the day after, and iOS coming in later (as usual) on December 4. Unfortunate PS3 and Android users will have to hang out for a release date, but Telltales has promised a December release for those platforms too.

Brodie Fogg

- The Walking Dead
     - The Wolf Among Us

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