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Game of Thrones: Episode 3 - The Sword in the Darkness
Score: 95%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure


Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness is a turning point for Telltale’s A Song of Ice and Fire sidestory. At this point, all the major players have been firmly established. It’s time to start making the morally sympathetic ones really suffer. And that is a task that Telltale’s writers throw themselves into with gleeful sadism; over the course of this excellent episode, you will be beaten down and subjugated with extreme prejudice -- and you’ll be forced to like it.


As the title implies, The Sword in the Darkness has a special focus on Gared Tuttle, former squire to Gregor Forrester and new recruit for the Night’s Watch. When Lord Gregor forced Gared to flee The Twins with a cryptic message for his Uncle Duncan concerning the mysterious "North Grove," it was hard to know what to make of it. What is the North Grove, and why must it never be lost? Well, we start getting a few answers here, but there are numerous complications that threaten this mission. Firstly, Gared formally takes the black in this episode; the Night’s Watch is his new family now, and the punishment for losing sight of that is death. And with the appearance of a familiar but incredibly unfriendly face at Castle Black, the poor boy must tread carefully…

Rodrik Forrester is between a rock and a hard place. His body remains mostly broken, his brother is held hostage at Highpoint, and a garrison of Whitehill soldiers has been stationed inside of Ironrath. They are almost entirely a cruel lot, making everyone’s life a total misery if and whenever possible. Furthermore, the despicable Lord Ludd Whitehill has installed his fourthborn son Gryff as the leader of the aforementioned garrison. Rodrik’s story this episode is by far the most upsetting the series has been since the Bastard of Bolton murdered Lord Ethan in cold blood. It’s a painful exercise in futility and a sharp reminder of what kind of world we’re occupying. The Whitehills (save one or two) are needlessly and almost cartoonishly cruel human beings, which makes some of the writing a bit unbelievable, but they are fun villains to hate – and they give you plenty of opportunities to do just that.

As with the show, the most interesting story takes place in the Westerosi capital of King’s Landing. Mira Forrester continues to play politics at court with some of the most powerful and dangerous men and women in the Seven Kingdoms, along with her foolish handmaiden friend Sera. It’s her job to curry favor with those in power; whether it’s in the form of an exclusive (and lucrative) ironwood contract between the crown and Ironrath or whatever future assistance from future Queen Margaery Tyrell, any aid is welcome at this point. But the pitfalls are many and dangerous. First of all, anyone who knows how King Joffrey’s wedding feast pans out is naturally wise not to put their faith in the otherwise honorable Master of Coin Tyrion Lannister. And why is Tom (the "coal boy") always so eager to help Mira stay out of trouble? Could he be one of Varys’ little birds?


Asher Forrester is a man on a mission. Along with his uncle Malcolm Branfield and his sellsword companion Beskha, it’s his job to procure a sellsword army and return to Ironrath to oust the Whitehills. But Essos, being the third world hellhole it is, has a certain hunt-you-down-and-kill-you quality to it, and the Lost Legion are not the type to forgive. And soon Asher has a deadly but extremely fortunate once-in-a-lifetime encounter that may give him some leverage with a certain princess-in-exile...

With the exception of A Game of Thrones, I’ve always found the plot development in Essos uninteresting. Over the course of the five books that are currently available, I’ve become disillusioned with Daenerys Targaryen and find myself less and less interested in her plight as the series progresses. I hope the story for this Telltale series doesn’t mirror the agonizingly slow pace of her story, though I have enough faith in Telltale’s scribes to believe that won’t be the case.


Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness is a brutal, harrowing middle chapter that will leave you emotionally exhausted and eager for more. House Forrester is slowly but surely working its way into the pantheon of the most fascinating Houses in Westeros. And as much as we know that there’s even more undeserved punishment in store for our heroes, there will come a time of reckoning. And as pyrrhic and bittersweet as that victory may be, I can hardly imagine a more fitting manner. Valar morghulis. Valar dohaeris.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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