“Sons of Winter” may be Game of Thrones’ most solid episode thus far, but is it enough to finally win us over? Not if Ramsay Bolton has anything to say about it.
Transcript available under the cut!
JAYLEE: This episode contains spoilers for Telltale’s Game of Thrones and the HBO series it’s based on.
JAYLEE: Hello and welcome back to the Push to Smart Water Cooler. This week we are going to be looking at Episode 4 of Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones: Sons of Winter. Like most Telltale games, we’ll pick up right where we left off in the previous episode, which included some important things happening that I can’t quite recall.
STACEY: (laughs) I was just gonna say the same thing. Like, I feel like a lot happens, but when it’s done I don’t remember.
JAYLEE: Yeah. (laughs)
STACEY: It’s just a blur of sandy-haired, bearded men and…
JAYLEE: Brown-haired ladies.
STACEY: Yeah. (laughs)
JAYLEE: And Tuttle on the Wall.
STACEY: But I will say, Tuttle makes me irrationally angry. Every time he’s on screen it’s just like ugh!
JAYLEE: I know.
STACEY: You again.
JAYLEE: I’m pretty sure was like the first character of the episode.
STACEY: He was. (laughs)
JAYLEE: Oh god, it was so annoying! One of the things that I did like about this episode is that he didn’t really have that much time.
STACEY: Compared to last one, yeah. I mean, the time we had with him was awful, and it was the weakest part of what I thought was otherwise probably one of the more solid episodes.
STACEY: But he’s in his like band of buffoons. I just…
STACEY: I just don’t know what to do with him. Like, the first few choices in the game with Tuttle are “Did you do it or did you not do it?”: “I didn’t do it.” “It wasn’t my fault.” “No.”
JAYLEE: (laughs) Yeah. Exactly.
STACEY: And that’s just a response. That’s not a compelling choice. Which a lot of games can get away with masking those meaningless dialog options as choices when there’s more compelling stuff going on, but if the point of your game is a narrative adventure based on your choices, that is bad. (laughs)
JAYLEE: I know. I was like, no matter what I choose, Finn’s going to be here and be like “I hate this guy.”
STACEY: Yeah. Which he wasn’t.
JAYLEE: For me he was.
STACEY: Oh, Finn came to my defense.
JAYLEE: He was like “He murdered him in cold blood! I hate this guy!”
STACEY: Well that’s interesting.
JAYLEE: I never made up with Finn in the last episode.
STACEY: Oh, I was commander Sherparding it and trying to play it cool with everybody, and he came to my defense. But nobody believed him. It was yet another one of those “It wasn’t his fault!” “No.”
JAYLEE: (laughs) And then you go up to Jon Snow and he’s like “I’m so disappointed in you.”
STACEY: I know! That was the worst!
STACEY: It was like… The only option I could choose was like “I’m sorry I disappointed you” and it’s like, no you’re not! This is like…!
JAYLEE: I know! I did like later in the episode once you’ve escaped from the Night’s Watch, there was that choice where you can say like, “The Night’s Watch betrayed me,” which I totally chose.
JAYLEE: I was like, I pledged myself to them, and these motherfuckers were gonna kill me.
JAYLEE: Which, I was trying really hard to get myself executed…
JAYLEE: …To see if that was a possibility. When Cotter comes to try and save you I wanted to be like “No, I should say here and…”
STACEY: Fulfill my duty!
JAYLEE: Fulfill my sentence.
STACEY: That crossed my mind too when I was being thrown in prison. I’m like, maybe this’ll be like Ethan.
STACEY: And he’ll die.
JAYLEE: But this is the one time you can’t be like “honorable Tuttle.”
JAYLEE: No, it’s just like, get me the hell outta here.
JAYLEE: Just make sure you grab the onions on the way out.
STACEY: Yeah. And he was like “Now we have food.” I was like, onions? Really?
STACEY: It’s like a fucking garnish.
JAYLEE: And crabapples.
STACEY: Yeah. Oh god. And then I hated— This I getting ahead, but when you get back and they all escape together because they’re bros. And they were arguing and it was right back to the same thing from the first episode. It was like, so we have learned nothing, basically.
JAYLEE: (laughs) You know, let’s just keep talking about Tuttle and get it out of the way.
JAYLEE: Mine was a little different because…
JAYLEE: …Once he escapes, Cotter’s like “If we run into Finn, he’s going to call on us.” And I was like… And then they both pick up swords and I was like “Okay, let’s do this, let’s kill him. I don’t care anymore.”
JAYLEE: That was kind of my mantra throughout the game. I was like, I don’t care anymore!
JAYLEE: I’m just gonna do whatever the fuck I want. So I was like… I mean, later in the Wildlings I was like, I don’t care, I’m just gonna kill you all. I don’t care.
STACEY: See that made me… Okay, first of all question: did Finn come with you even though he tattled on you?
JAYLEE: He didn’t. We didn’t even see him, which was weird.
STACEY: Oh, well he’s with me! We’re bros that argue and don’t learn anything.
JAYLEE: You’re the odd trio.
STACEY: I know. It’s like, aren’t they funny? The way they don’t get… NO!
JAYLEE: There’s nothing humorous about this.
JAYLEE: And then Tuttle catch up to some Wildlings. And then Cotter’s just like, “Just let me talk to them! Don’t do anything, it’ll be fine.” And then he gets stabbed in the fucking chest.
JAYLEE: Did that play out different for you because you had Finn?
STACEY: ‘Cause Finn’s an aggressive dude, we wound up fighting all the Wildlings. Which I hated! You stabbed that one through! It’s like, you have disarmed her! There is literally no reason!
JAYLEE: She pulled another knife out.
STACEY: She does in the game over state. Because at first I missed. But it’s like, come on guys. There should be more options. There’s literally no compelling choices on the Tuttle track. There’s nothing.
JAYLEE: (sighs) And then we end up going to the camp and then his sister shows up and I’m like, oh, that must be his sister. And then…
JAYLEE: Big revelation: “She’s my sister!
STACEY: There was a lot of that in this episode.
STACEY: Where it’s like “Big reveal! Something you figured out in the first 20 minutes.”
STACEY: Which some of them I think I was willing to go along with more than others. That one I was kind of okay with because I liked her. I liked her design and I was excited to see where that goes. For once.
STACEY: Jumping ahead: Beskha. You know within 10 minutes, oh, she used to be a slave.
STACEY: That’s her secret.
JAYLEE: Like, why else would you…
STACEY: Yeah. (laughs) I did appreciate the way you’re able to react in that big reveal scene. And given the nature of the show, I was pleasantly surprised that her secret was that she fought in the pits and not that she was prostituted out. (laughs)
JAYLEE: I know! (laughs)
STACEY: I was like, oh! Okay!
JAYLEE: Last episode I mentioned that I just didn’t really care for Asher because I didn’t feel like he devolved much as a character. But I think this was my favorite…
STACEY: He had an actual arc this time!
JAYLEE: I know! And I actually really liked it!
JAYLEE: I think there was very little I’d change about it.
STACEY: The only things I did not like was I thought all the sections with Dany were ridiculous.
STACEY: And out-of-character and very plotty.
JAYLEE: I felt like they were kind of out-of-character, but not as out-of-character as Margaery being like “I hate you, you’re not putting me in my wedding dress.”
STACEY: (laughs) Yeah. Jumping way ahead, did you let her kill her former master?
STACEY: Me too! And it looks like from the preview that that counts as not letting the people choose for themselves. Which, fuck you, she’s the people!
JAYLEE: One thing that I actually really do like about this is that in the episode she’s such this white savior character.
STACEY: Yeah! And Beskha calls her on it!
JAYLEE: Among this sea of faceless brown people that she saves. And, you know, in this we actually got to see something from one of the slave’s perspectives. And it was very much like… In the preview I was so pissed off, because she was like “You didn’t let them do justice!” And I was like…
STACEY: Yeah I did!
JAYLEE: Okay, so the slaves only get justice when you’re the one who freed them? Is that what this is?
STACEY: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s the thing I’m worried about. Like, I like the perspective that Beskha gave in this episode, but I’m worried that’s going to be retroactively moralized to go along with the show. And worried we won’t be able to combat what she’s saying, and we’ll either have deny the whole thing…
STACEY: …With a lie in brackets, or we’ll have to own up, like “Sorry! We messed up!” When no, we didn’t!
JAYLEE: Yeah. I really liked when you’re going to make sure that the beacon wouldn’t get lit.
JAYLEE: I thought that was a really cool and effective action scene, in a Telltale way.
JAYLEE: I just thought it was really well-executed.
JAYLEE: Even though I knew that at some point things were gonna go wrong, because it has to.
JAYLEE: I was still kind of like, really compelled.
STACEY: Yeah, it felt a lot less shoe-horned in than a lot of the action sequences in Telltale games tend to be.
STACEY: It felt a little bit more like the best ones in The Wolf Among Us.
STACEY: I will say, there were so many moments where they just stop and smile at each other. I was just like, no, you can’t do that on Game of Thrones! One of you is going to die! (laughs)
JAYLEE: Yeah, I kept expecting somebody to just put a sword through Beskha when they were like, “Ha ha! We rock!”
STACEY: Yeah. And then I like that they played with that later. Because also they were like, “Oh my god, Croft.” And he’s just like, “Eh, whatever.”
JAYLEE: “I got this.”
STACEY: “I’m fine.” See, overall pretty good in that regard. So next in the list is Mira, who is still at King’s Landing and trying to unpack the conspiracy against her family, now that she’s taken care of any incriminating evidence linking her to Tyrion. Tom makes a little bit of an appearance, suggesting that he’s doing some errands for her, at least eavesdropping. So like, the main part with Mira is you have to sneak into the coronation party. Again, I think this worked a lot more because it was more defining Mira and her relationships with the people around her instead of just doing Task A, Task B, okay switch. Specifically her relationship with her fellow handmaiden, Sera.
JAYLEE: Yeah, I really liked that.
STACEY: Yeah. Which, I had to replay it because I felt so bad. I made a choice at the end I regretted. So, what did you do while exploring the coronation party?
JAYLEE: First I eavesdropped on some people that were just by some wine.
JAYLEE: And they were talking about the dead…
JAYLEE: …Guard! And I was like Oh shit!
STACEY: I liked that bit of world-building. I wish she’d reacted more to it. Like, had some kind of animation to go with it instead of just sitting there. (laughs)
JAYLEE: Yeah. But she kept her composure. That’s good.
JAYLEE: And then I went to eavesdrop on the guy whose name starts with an A.
STACEY: That looks exactly like the Lord of the Whitehills, and I just figured out they were different people. (laughs)
JAYLEE: Yeah, just a larger Whitehill character model guy. And then I was like, “Oh, was a surprise! He’s the one who’s in his pocket!”
STACEY: (laughs) I did like that there’s like this… third cousin.
JAYLEE: There’s always like a bumbling Lannister cousin whenever they need to throw one in.
STACEY: Yeah, exactly! (laughs)
JAYLEE: But then you get the information: the Lannister third-cousin twice removed or whatever…
JAYLEE: (laughs) Is addicted to milk of the poppy. What happened after you got that information?
STACEY: I went a very roundabout way. So like, I had Mira notice his injury and talk about how that was really hard for him, and she can’t imagine what he’s been through…
STACEY: And he kind of let slip that, “Oh, you know, he’s been holding it over my head!” And she’s like, “Well don’t let him hold it over your head.” And he marches up to the other guy and like yells at him. (laugh)
JAYLEE: Mine was like, “I know you’re addicted ‘cause he told you!”
JAYLEE: “He’s betraying your trust! Go yell at him!” And then they get into this big old fight. Then, probably my favorite moment…
JAYLEE: …Mira and him get into an argument and you can end the conversation by being like, “I will destroy you.”
JAYLEE: And it was like my favorite thing, and I was like YES!
STACEY: Oh my god.
JAYLEE: I’m going to do it! I’m going to destroy you!
JAYLEE: Iron from ice!
STACEY: Mira has my favorite facial expressions in the game. They’re very reminiscent of Clementine’s from The Walking Dead.
STACEY: And she kind of does that when she suggests, “Oh, what are you afraid of?” She lifts that one eyebrow like “That’s what I thought!”
JAYLEE: I know! Mira’s my favorite.
JAYLEE: I just want more of her.
STACEY: But the bulk of the episode was probably Rodrik.
JAYLEE: It was. So it starts off, you’re betrothed, Elaena…
STACEY: Mhmm. Who’s going to die or betray you, or both.
JAYLEE: At some point, yeah.
JAYLEE: Comes up with her super hot brother. (laughs)
JAYLEE: I was like, oh, who’s this? Who’s this brother of yours? Aren’t you going to introduce us?
STACEY: (laughs) Yeah.
JAYLEE: And she’s like “They forced my feather to betroth me to the Whitehill. But here’s this army of badass archers.
STACEY: Yeah, and that’s what killed me. It’s like, why didn’t you bring those earlier?
JAYLEE: Yeah, I know.
STACEY: There was just a lot of weird pacing issues with his side, where it was like… And I wasn’t always sure what the consequences of my actions would be or how they were going into the main plot. Like, we’re marching on to take down Gryff, and the mother comes running out. “She’s attacking the Maester.” And I was like, “Okay, let’s go stop him.” And then Elaena pulls Rodrik aside and she’s like “You remember what you said?” And I was like…
JAYLEE: You’re gonna kill him!
STACEY: And I was like this is in line with what you said! I don’t understand why you’re threatening me right now.
JAYLEE: I know.
STACEY: Did I do something wrong, game? (laughs)
JAYLEE: (laughs) It was a very odd character switch.
STACEY: Yeah. And then I… I presume that this is the way it goes for everybody but I didn’t kill him.
JAYLEE: Yeah, neither did I.
STACEY: So does that mean I betrayed her?
JAYLEE: I don’t know.
STACEY: I don’t understand. Like… (sigh) Which is a bad thing for a game to do!
STACEY: And it’s not misunderstanding in the way that’s narratively compelling, it’s literally I want to do this, I don’t understand what my character’s doing.
JAYLEE: I just don’t know how.
JAYLEE: And so you bust in on them.
JAYLEE: And what did you do?
STACEY: Did the move Royland taught me, and then when he was like sputtering, threatening us, and it was like, you really shouldn’t do that. And then there’s that great quick time event where you see him raise the cane slowly. And it’s like, oh yeah, we’re gonna do it. And he brings it down and the soldiers just all come in. And the first time I played, I had him yell, “Shoot anyone that moves!”
STACEY: And immediately it was this really badass moment where one of the guards starts to run away and the brother just immediately turns around, shoots him. The second time I was just like, get their weapons. Did you punch him?
JAYLEE: At first I got the Maester out of the circle. And then I beat the shit of him. (laughs) And I kept hitting him and I think I gouged out his eye.
STACEY: Oh my god!
STACEY: I didn’t because I didn’t feel that was becoming of a ruler to do that. I am the bigger man here. I’m just gonna throw you in the dungeon and starve you.
JAYLEE: I am so over being the bigger man in this game.
JAYLEE: That’s why Mira’s going to destroy that guy!
JAYLEE: Tuttle’s gonna kill anybody, and I’m just gonna poke out your eyeball with my stick.
STACEY: Mira’s going to have the Iron Throne by the time she’s done.
JAYLEE: She’s going to win. (laughs)
JAYLEE: If it’s the last thing I do.
STACEY: (laughs) Oh, this is a weird part too! Because it was like, “We’re killing all the ravens.” “A message just arrived!” (laughs)
JAYLEE: And then we killed it! You get invited to Highpoint or whatever it’s called, and you go in there and it’s very, like, Red Wedding-y, and the sister kind of tries to talk you down.
JAYLEE: And he wants to basically make you slaves. And…
STACEY: Yeah. And you see that really silly, like, family portrait. (laughs)
STACEY: Which looks like…
JAYLEE: The pregnant mother…
STACEY: Yeah! (laughs)
JAYLEE: A Whitehill is always a Whitehill. And then they come in and they try to negotiate this thing.
JAYLEE: You’re handling all the production so that it’s not shitty quality anymore.
JAYLEE: And he just becomes an indignant little shit like he always does.
JAYLEE: Pretty much there are three different ways that you can tell him that you have Gryff, but I didn’t want to. I just did silent.
JAYLEE: And Royland was like, “And we’ve got Gryff!”
JAYLEE: And I was like, dammit!
STACEY: Be cool, Royland! Be cool!
JAYLEE: Yeah, exactly. And then everything escalates.
STACEY: And I actually, I got the game over twice.
JAYLEE: Me too!
STACEY: I did the like, “Can I kill him now?” And I’m like, yeah. And Royland, you know, throws an axe, which is awesome.
JAYLEE: Into his head!
STACEY: Yeah! (laughs) But then everybody dies Red Wedding-style, but I thought I saw a quick time event, so I was like, I gotta redo it and get the quick time event!
STACEY: There is no quick time event. You just die.
JAYLEE: I know. I was actually really excited when that happened, because I was like, finally my actions have consequences!
JAYLEE: But then it was just game over.
STACEY: Just game over.
JAYLEE: It was like, well.
JAYLEE: Of course.
STACEY: Yeah, which is like… You have this many characters and the show has the reputation it does… Like, killing of Ethan early did nothing. Killing off Rodrik now, that would do something.
JAYLEE: I know. Especially because I left Talia as Lord.
STACEY: Me too! Later for my actual… I bluffed.
JAYLEE: Yeah, I called his bluff too. And then I was like, kind of okay with how things were going, and then, the very end…
JAYLEE: You go there, there’s nobody to be seen, arrows have been fired off, and you go into the hall and Ramsay Motherfucking-Bolton is there.
STACEY: As soon as I heard just the jovial voice, I couldn’t even make out what… I was like, it’s Ramsay, isn’t it? Godda… I have to wonder, with what is going on with the show right now, if Telltale knew about it, or if they didn’t and they’re watching the reaction to this show, going “Oh shit”?
STACEY: Or if they’re on board with everything Ramsay is doing. Because they are writing Ramsay as a bad cartoon villain.
JAYLEE: No, absolutely.
STACEY: And the show also was kind of doing that now. Ugh.
JAYLEE: I kept expecting some, like, cartoonish laugh.
JAYLEE: When I first entered, or something.
STACEY: Dun-dun-duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun! Cut. Black.
JAYLEE: And I think the thing that this episode did so well was it kept away from a lot of the show characters.
JAYLEE: Which gave you a chance to really dive into the characters and feel like your actions had consequences. Because they didn’t effect canon characters. But now going into here, I’m like, well he can’t die, I can’t kill him, so I’m fucked. I don’t’ know what I’m gonna do.
STACEY: Yeah. I had that reaction. It was like, it was going swell, and it’s like, goddamn it. (laughs)
STACEY: It felt very much like, hey kids, remember, this is Game of Thrones as seen on HBO! (laughs)
JAYLEE: (laughs) Yeah. Every Sunday at 10!
STACEY: (laughs) I noticed in the “Next time on Game of Thrones,” Cersei had come to Mira for incriminating evidence about Tyrion.
JAYLEE: I punched the air, I was so excited that I called it.
STACEY: Which was definitely something… Yeah. Okay, choices. Let me pull up my choices.
JAYLEE: (laughs) Sorry, didn’t mean to cut you off.
JAYLEE: So, me and 8.4% did not encounter Finn.
JAYLEE: (laughs) And then me and 62.5% maimed Gryff.
STACEY: I and 85.3% kept Sera’s secret from Lord Tarwick.
JAYLEE: Oh, wow, it’s gone down. Yesterday is was 86.3%.
JAYLEE: And then, me and 69% ordered the Glenmore soldiers to remain at Ironrath, which pisses me off.
STACEY: Yeah, it did absolutely frickin’ nothing!
JAYLEE: Well, that’s the thing. It’s like, it didn’t make any sense.
JAYLEE: There weren’t any Whitehill soldiers…
JAYLEE: …There weren’t any of Elaena’s archers. There weren’t even townspeople.
STACEY: It was literally just Ramsay.
JAYLEE: Yeah. I hated that.
STACEY: It’s actually gone up, though. 71% have ordered the soldiers to remain. And saw shit payoff.
JAYLEE: Well joke’s on us. And then, when I played it was 21.9%…
STACEY: Ooh, that’s gone up!
JAYLEE: …Who allowed Beskha to kill the slavemaster.
STACEY: 25.4% have now allowed her to…
JAYLEE: That’s a pretty big bump overnight.
STACEY: Yeah! It’s a good choice.
STACEY: Don’t listen to Daenerys. What does she know?
JAYLEE: Last episode we asked who your favorite playable character was. Bleeters mentioned that she found Asher’s parts a little therapeutic just because he actually A) gets shit done and B) is roguishly charming.
STACEY: And now for this episode, I agree.
JAYLEE: Me too!
STACEY: I liked his parts in this episode after feeling like he was kind of dead weight for a while.
JAYLEE: Codename Eagle points out that, while Mira is their favorite, they aren’t liking how everybody’s kind of forced onto the same path, kind of the same direction. Which, I could see that.
STACEY: Oh, yeah.
JAYLEE: That’s what I’m starting to feel like. It’s okay if Tuttle dies, because we still have all these different avenues. Come on.
STACEY: Yeah, exactly! It’s like too many things and then a game over state, or just have the “Let’s do this,” “No.” So it’s like, live a little, Telltale. So ReverieNightengale shouted out to Rodrik and his scenario ‘cause even though he is, quote “getting pushed around a lot of his parts and most of the original,” the Mira and Tuttle parts they thought were a little bit too influenced by the canon characters, which I can see. Rodrik definitely feels very—minus Ramsay—feels a little bit isolated from what’s going on.
JAYLEE: So this week we want to know, do you like the appearance by the TV show characters, or do you think that they weigh the game down? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date with all our latest episodes and water cooler discussions.
RAMSAY: Whelp, it’s been a time and a half but… (sighs) Lotta torturing to do. Booop boop boooop doop doop dee…