Telltale’s Game of Thrones Liveblogging

Ok, so a while back I played Episode 1 of Telltale’s Game of Thrones, and I had promised to do a playthrough of succeeding episodes. However, I haven’t really done that to date, partly through being busy, and partly because the game’s excellent use of moral choices (even ones that don’t have a major ludic impact) made me surprisingly anxious about moving on before I’d “perfected” my choices from Episode 1 – what if I saved Bowen? What if I learned more about the North Grove? Etc.

I’ve finally mustered up the free time and willpower to finish what I started, so beginning at 8:00 PM Eastern I’m going to be live-blogging my playthrough of the series. Instead of a detailed writeup after the fact, I’ll be writing a continuous stream of bulleted commentary as I go, and updating the posted version:

Episode 1: Starting at 8:00 PM Eastern

– ok…firing it up.

– Back at the Red Wedding again…this time, I decided to be nice to Squire Bowen and save his life, for all his anti-pig farmer prejudices. Basically, my policy this play-through is to see to what extent I can make decisions that’ll move these minor characters into appearing later where they wouldn’t otherwise.

– Also, decided not to ask about the North Grove, on the grounds that the maester is probably the traitor within House Forrester, and that the writers aren’t going to tell me anything important yet about this storyline, so I might as well wait.

– this game desperately needs a skip-ahead function on subsequent replays.

– decided to kill the Whitehill soldier, since war with the Whitehills seems pretty inevitable and, from the Forresters’ viewpoint, eminently practical. I don’t think this guy shows up again, anyway. Oh, also, apparently you could kill someone with the pitchfork, which is weird because it never worked last time.

– can’t help noticing that for all that Duncan talks about supporting Ethan, sending Gared to the Wall really undermined him, both within and without…

– ok, done with Gared’s setup. Now on to Ethan, who’ve I’ve decided to play in total DGAF mode, since he’s going to die regardless. Presentism in action – even though it doesn’t change how the game will go, it definitely leads to a different experience.

– how does Ethan not know what a milksop is? Seems like a common idiom.

– also, Talia’s “never change” thing is really dumb.

– so much more fun telling Lord Whitehill to go fuck himself than trying to reason with him.

– now, on to my next task, Mira’s section, which is honestly the best of the episode. Definitely going to side with Margaery, as she’s the better long-term bet.

– if they ever do an HD remake of this game, for gods’ sake remodel Natalie Dormer’s face. Whoever did it the first time fucked up.

– This time round the discussion with Cersei, I emphasized the Warden title, which seemed to work a bit better than before. Also, sided with Margaery, because Joffrey’s not going to be around for much longer, and I’ll have much more luck with her than with him.

– Decided to let Sera stay this time. After all, the request to Joffrey means it’s not going to be a secret, and it seems like having Sera on your side is useful in Ep 3.

– blatant reuse of the muttonchopped Bolton soldier…given that I rammed a pitchfork through his neck, I don’t think he’s still around.

– sending Eric to the Wall again, see if he shows up before Gared leaves, but I doubt it.

– Going to pick Ser Royland, because honestly diplomacy isn’t a good idea with patent bad actors like the Whitehills and the Boltons. Not that it’s going to make a difference to Ramsay. Also, I noticed that Ser Royland can be brought to heel pretty easily if you just act tough to him.

– Also, incredibly satisfactory to be as big of an asshole to Ramsay as I can muster. Lord Ethan the Brave!

– Taking the key and seal because now I know they are badly needed in Ep 2….which I’ll start tomorrow morning, since I had a really early start today.

Episode 2:

– well, Asher is much more fun, right off the bat. And Beskha is awesome.

– always flip the table. Life is better with flipped tables.

– I like this fight, the choreography is fun, the music is great, etc. But at least on my computer, it’s really random and unpredictable whether hammering the key actually picks up in time.

– well, it took like 18 tries, but I managed to hold my own in the fight. And now I’m out 800 dragons. Sellswording ain’t easy.

– Rodrik’s introduction is interesting…for all those who said he was basically a clone of Robb, here’s a very different story, about a young man permanently marked by the war, who now has to live in the peace. Decided to walk on my own two feet, because A. it doesn’t change anything and is more about your perception of Rodrik’s character than any consequence, and B. I liked the wooden sword.

– arrived at Castle Black; decided to tell the truth to Frostfinger(s), because on your first day in a penal legion, not a bad thing to have people think you’re a killer.

– I really like the scene where Rodrik has to make the walk to the Great Hall – the mix of reactions, the combination of people being glad to see you, shocked that you’re alive, scorning your injuries, etc. is very evocative.

– decided to starve out the Whitehills. Giving them wine definitely doesn’t work with Rodrik’s intended, and it’s not like peace is going to break out any time now.

– definitely going to forge the letter. The family matters more than Margaery, who actually isn’t that forthcoming with help despite her protestations. So, if I have to lose her friendship, an army isn’t a bad thing to trade it for.

– Ok, pausing it there. Need to prep for class tomorrow, etc. Back this evening!

24 thoughts on “Telltale’s Game of Thrones Liveblogging

  1. somethinglikealawyer says:

    Presentism from Steven Attewell…I never thought I see the day (j/k)…

    Seems to me that the devs suffer a bit from having someone knowledgeable about the politics and philosophy of the time period not on the payroll (maybe an opportunity for you, who knows?!) The Whitehills being bannermen to the Boltons makes little sense given the geopolitical realities of where the Ironwood seems to be located, but I could hardly expect every game studio to have a feudalism master to take to task when it comes to crafting a political reality.

    Just messing with you. I’ve played up to and through episode three, so I’m going to be scant with the commentary for virtue’s sake.

    Seems fun though, to attack the series with a bit more time-relevant political knowledge than the average user. Maybe it’ll work better, maybe it won’t. Wouldn’t be the first time too much knowledge has backfired on someone, right?

    • The Badinator says:

      In fairness, I would point out that in our own history, feudal geopolitcs tended to be very messy, and a powerful lord’s fief and vassals weren’t always contiguous, but to be fair to your point, Westerosi feudalism is generally depicted as a little bit ‘cleaner’ than its historical inspiration, so the layout of the Glover-Gorrester-Whitehill-Bolton lands is at the very least conspicuous.

      • There’s non-contiguous and then there’s more than 600 miles between fiefs. How the hell would the Boltons govern the Whitehills from such a distance?

        The only way I could see this working is if the Forresters, rather than being depicted over on the west coast near Deepwood Motte, live on the eastern border of Glover territory on the west bank of Deep Lake, with the Whitehills in that hilly territory to the northwest of the Boltons.

    • Hey, I’m allowed to be presentist when I’m playing a video game, I’m off the clock! 😉

  2. Jake Drake says:

    I had Sera leave because Suspicions, which was why I only took the key over the seal, but I made it up to her by being the Best Friend Evar. My reasoning with Royland was that I had to be in control of the negotiations, have Ramsay/Whitehills meet on our terms and keep them from soldiers….until the troops came in.

    It’ll be interesting to see how you deal with 2/3, considering the politics starts to ramp up, as well as the sense that you’re making the wrong decisions all the time.

  3. Fourten says:

    In retrospect, while the unusually aggressive maester makes him a good candidate for the traitor, but you have to wonder what the benefit is for him, ShowPycelle seems to be motivated by his wish to be in proximity to power and the fringe benefits of his position. This maester of a third-tier (second at best if you ignore how the books portray them) house could benefit very little from the fall of House Forrester, hungry for reassignment maybe? But that wouldn’t even be up to him.

  4. Sian Griffith says:

    It would be nice if Telltale actually knew the world, its geography, for example. How a hell would you get from the Twins to the far North, on a cart, without food and water, and under a pile of corpses? I really like this out-of-their-asses story choices. It gets even better from there how little sense some things make.

    The antagonists are cartoonish villains, and all ambiguity and blurring of the boundaries between good and evil, right and wrong, is lost. The story in a game is a very amateurish fan fiction at best.

    Choices do not really matter, and any major outcomes stay the same. The only way I found to make some sense out of people’s actions and therefore out of the story is to play the second time knowing all major story points, and to adjust behavior of the characters to the future outcomes. Otherwise it is just plain painful, and the first run often set my teeth on edge.

    It looks like Telltale simply run through the checklist of expected GOIT features, and do not really care how the resulting story fits into the lore.

    But still it is entertaining enough, I suppose.

    • I think there’s a bit more ambiguity – Ludd and Gryff are sneering thugs, but Gwyn is a reasonable person and so is Morgryn.

      As for choices not mattering, they certainly felt different even with the same outcome.

  5. Fourten says:

    Beskha and Asher (but mostly Beskha) saved this game from itself, I was having fun right away playing as Han and Sexy Chewie [/Defiance] and was gutted when the Uncle showed up and dragged them into the game’s overall arc. One whole episode of these two platonic lifemates (FWB at best) tearing up Essos and I’d have bought the Collector’s Edition when it came out.

  6. KrimzonStriker says:

    Give her freedom of choice about the marriage thing, better to have a willing partner then a resentful ally especially when you used false pretenses with the letter that could bite you in the behind otherwise.

    • I get that, but at the moment I’m approaching the marriage from a more medieval perspective – this is about lands and soldiers, not love.

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        Well that might work under most cases but this is also from Rodrick’s point of view as well, he and Elena have been betrothed for awhile and has a strong child-hood history growing up with her. Please keep that in mind.

    • Esp. since the way you make her willing is to offer her ironwood.

      • Fourten says:

        Good night everybody!

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        When there’s no pressure from Margeary yeah, but that bit on the Ironwood also has to do with her father mostly. If circumstances were normal she would marry you with no objections but they aren’t and it’s delicate so it’s understandable if incentives might be needed when pressure is not available given the situation. Just trust me about letting her have a say once you’ve got her in a bind, you can afford to be gracious in that case ESPECIALLY when once again the letter was under false pretense.

  7. Yaraisnttheworstnameever says:

    Maybe it makes more sense, but House Forrester are word to Deepwood Motte, right? Wouldn’t the Ironborn invasion and the capture of Deepwood Motte be a factor to these people?

    • KrimzonStriker says:

      They mention that in episode 2 if Rodrick asks what allies they can summon to their aid, there’s been no word since Deepwood Motte fell to the Ironborn from the Glover’s, leaving them on their own to deal with the situation as their other allies are either dead from the Red Wedding or too afraid of the Boltons to intervene.

    • I would have liked more of that, yeah.

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        It’s pretty early in the episode so you can just replay it to the point where Rodrick attends the council meeting and ask the question “Call up our allies” when the issue of lacking an army is brought up.

  8. Yaraisnttheworstnameever says:

    Haven’t played yet. Maybe it makes more sense, but House Forrester are sworn to Deepwood Motte, right? Wouldn’t the Ironborn invasion and the capture of Deepwood Motte be a factor to these people?

  9. Sian Griffith says:

    Yep, they are sworn to House Glover of Deepwood Motte. They ARE NOT Star’s bannermen as the game constantly tells us (or at least as much as Whithills are, because both Glovers and Boltons are/were Stark’s bannermen).
    In a Dance with Dragons Lady Sybelle Glover provides scouts from House Forrester to Stannis Baratheon for his march through the wolfswood from Deepwood Motte to Winterfell. I expect it to be reflected in the game, though may be not this season.

    • KrimzonStriker says:

      You get the impression the Forresters are little bit more directly involved though because of their strategic resource and location near the Ironwood. After all even the crown of Kings Landing is taking an interest on the matter. So it would stand to reason they dealt with the Starks and other High lords on a more equal footing then their position would normally entail.

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