Game of Thrones: Episode 5 – A Ne st of Vipe rs

How to fake friends and in­flu­ence peo­ple

XBox: The Official Magazine - - REVIEW -

Pity the poor fool who gets on the wrong side of Ram­say Bolton. Early on in this episode, we see ev­ery­one’s least-favourite Noth­erner dis­em­bowel a hap­less pawn – who just so hap­pens to be a For­rester ban­ner­man. Lovely. Pity even more the poor lord who just so hap­pens to be court­ing said pawn’s sis­ter. Talk about an awk­ward sit­u­a­tion to have to dis­cuss over Sun­day lunch with the in-laws, and frankly that’s among the least of Ro­drik For­rester’s wor­ries.

While Rod­ders may in­deed have drawn the short­est straw in this episode, he’s by no means the only one in a sticky sit­u­a­tion. Ex­iled brother Asher has seen the Khaleesi re­nege on her prom­ise of an army of Sec­ond Sons to fight for his fam­ily, so it’s off to the fight­ing pits to hire some sell­swords in­stead. Oh, and to im­press them, he’ll need to get down and dirty in there – the en­su­ing, fran­tic com­bat is among the high­lights here.

Down in King’s Land­ing, Mira goes up against both Cer­sei and Tyrion – with Lena Headey on bril­liantly icy form. It gen­uinely feels like you’re walk­ing a dan­ger­ous tightrope of de­ceit be­tween the two, try­ing to dis­cern which an­swers are the ones that will pre­vent the lat­ter from rum­bling your true in­ten­tions and ap­pease the for­mer enough that she might wield her con­sid­er­able power to aid your house’s plight. Out be­yond the Wall, Gared is still search­ing for the North Grove – os­ten­si­bly also as a means of con­tribut­ing to the For­rester ef­fort, but it’s been so long that this mys­te­ri­ous lo­cale was in­tro­duced that even the new (and pretty vague) info we re­ceive this episode wasn’t quite enough to pique our in­ter­est.

One of our main crit­i­cisms of the se­ries thus far – ill-cho­sen art style aside – is that your de­ci­sions don’t seem to have a tan­gi­ble im­pact upon mat­ters. That changes here, with one choice in par­tic­u­lar that you’ll both ag­o­nise over and have to live with in the fi­nal in­stal­ment. There are a few lesser mo­ments, too, where it feels like past de­ci­sions are com­ing back to haunt you. It’s a welcome change, al­beit one we’d have liked sooner, and makes this fi­nally feel more like a ‘proper’ en­try in the Tell­tale canon. OXM

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