Though House Forrester’s position and influenced has been severely diminished thanks to the Whitehills and Boltons, they continue trying to reclaim what is theirs. Game of Thrones: Episode Three – A Sword in the Darkness sees the Forresters making further moves to wrest power from the Whitehills but it’s a road fraught with danger; both from enemies outside and inside their halls.
Though the Forresters are (for the most part) honorable, they have to sacrifice some of that honor due to how dire their situation is. To retake their ancestral home of Ironwrath, Roddrick, Mira, Gared, and Asher all have to tow a fine line of doing what is just and doing what is necessary. Lying, breaking oaths, stealing, withholding information, even murder, no option is forbidden if it serves House Forrester.
Some of the tension missing from the last episode makes a welcome return. This is illustrated the most with Roddrick and his sister Mira who have to both do unsavory things in the pursuit of their goals. The humiliation Roddrick has to suffer in front of his court is one that will cause players to feel extremely uneasy. Roddrick is a proud Lord but he has to put this aside for the sake his family and subjects. Mira seems to be learning much from her time in King’s Landing and is becoming just as adept at lying and manipulation as the Lords she’s surrounded by.
This series has thus far stayed away from the more fantastical aspects of the franchise but this episode brings some of it forward. Much like the source material, magic and fantasy are slowly making their way into the narrative. This is helping to make it feel more genuinely Game of Thrones.
The most obvious example of this is that Drogon, Daenerys Targaryen’s biggest and most vicious dragon, makes an appearance. The black and red dragon is the highlight of Asher Forrester’s story and his encounter with the creature is one of the most exhilarating moments of the episode. If the finale is anything to go by, we will be seeing more of the dragon in the future.
The North Grove, a place Lord Forrester told Gared about keeping secret, is explained in more detail. The Grove is considered a myth; a fairy tale told to children. However, we learn that Gared’s kleptomaniac friend Cotter isn’t exactly who he appears to be and knows more about what lies beyond The Wall than he should. The North Grove holds something powerful which may help the Forresters, but it means Gared will have to break his vows to the Night’s Watch in order to find it and return with it to Ironwrath.
The unique, water color painting style continues to become more prominent in this episode. Meereenese desert canyons, Northern forests, and areas beyond The Wall looked gorgeous enough to be displayed at an art museum. In the past, this style didn’t fit the characters too well since it made their textures look muddy. While this is still an issue, it isn’t as bad as it used to be. It’s interesting that this dark and brutal video game series has such a dream-like art-style but it somehow works.
Though the Forrester’s plans to reclaim Ironwrath are slowly coming together, there is still the heavy sense that all of it could fall apart. Going by certain scenes in this episode, it appears that allies are the ones to be the most wary of instead of the expected foes. This is the world of Game of Thrones and everyone ultimately looks out for their own ends, even if they claim to be on your side. The Forresters must tread very carefully in order to save their land.
This review is based on a digital copy of Game of Thrones: Episode Three – A Sword in the Darkness for the PlayStation 4 provided by Telltale Games.