The Game of Thrones adventure game series is fast reaching the conclusion of its first season with the release of its penultimate episode, A Nest of Vipers. House Forrester remains on the brink of destruction at the hands of its rival house, the Whitehills. And as we might have expected, many of the plans players set in motion during the season are either starting to come together or fall apart horribly. For the Forresters, it's usually some mix of both.
Of course, there's still a ton of stuff going on. Roderick is still trying to keep the homefront together - a task that's made even more difficult by the unexpected appearance of Ramsey "love to flay" Snow. Mira is in King's Landing trying to foil a plot against her family without revealing herself, all the while trying to stay somewhat within Margaery Tyrell's good graces. Gared is north of the Wall in search of the North Grove. However, even though everyone appears to have a full plate, I'd say that this is Asher's big episode to step up. He finally gets his army of mercenaries, and now he's bringing them back home to lay waste to some Whitehills.
Of the four concurrent stories, Asher's is among the most interesting, since he's the only one who actually makes any progress. After successfully leading a strike team in Mareen, Asher finally gets a chance to hire an army of sellswords. Although it takes a lengthy fight to win them over, the speech options Asher has at the end make it totally worth it. The others end up spinning their wheels trying to figure out their next moves. Gared, who had a major story in the last episode, gets only a brief visit in this one before he's all but forgotten about. Much the same goes for Mira, but at least she has one final conversation with Tyrion.
The only other character who ends up making some sort of progression is Roderick, since he finally finds out who the spy is inside his house. But given how there are only a small handful of possible suspects, I wasn't so much surprised by the revelation as disappointed. I'm also let down by the fact that no matter how I chose to deal with him, the game ends up going down the same path. It gets tough to buy into how decisions are supposed to be meaningful when they're regularly overlooked or rendered pointless. I also noticed a dialogue error, as the traitor holds Roderick responsible for something that his deceased brother Ethan actually did.
The season so far has been a series of fits and stutters, and the game probably has more characters to keep track of than it should. The main problem with A Nest of Vipers is that not a lot happens to two out of the four major characters, while the other two go through a great deal. However, discussing anything that happens will give too much away. Suffice it to say, episode 5 is very fight heavy, so prepare to follow those arrows and to repeatedly tap on keys to face-off during struggles.
It all builds up to a climax where players will have to make the biggest decision of the game. One that is both exciting and saddening at the same time. The entire fate of House Forrester comes down to this, and I couldn't help wondering after it was all over: what happened to the big guy's corpse?
I don't think my question will be answered, though. Since this seems like it was the episode for answers. The next one looks like it'll be all out war, which should help solve the problem of having too many characters around. Hopefully, Gared won't end up lost and forgotten in the North.