Sons of liberty.
The fifth season of HBO's Game of Thrones is in full swing, and just like the most recent episode seven "The Gift," this fourth installment in Telltale's Game of Thrones series marks a comeback. House Forrester has been under the thumb of the Whitehills and the Boltons for the last three episodes, to the point where it's becoming as monotonous as Sansa's continued torture by the very worst families in Westeros. Thankfully, in Sons of Winter, the chips are finally falling in place for each of the Forrester family members as they begin to hold more agency over their collective fates—a bit more iron and not so much ice.
[Spoilers ahead!] Gared Tuttle, a newly minted ranger in the Night's Watch, left the last episode on a cliffhanger. Though he was merely defending himself against his fellow brother, the Whitehill-aligned Britt Warrick who fought him atop The Wall, the vows he made as a brother of the Night's Watch mean that he will face certain punishment and will likely be beheaded in the morning. Not even Jon Snow can save him. But luckily, his budding friendship with Finn and Cotter still allows him to move forward on his quest to find the North Grove past the Wall. Apart from one particular decision, his plot follows a fairly straightforward track, at least he reaches that darn grove, but at least we get to see more wildlings in this episode.
Meanwhile, Mira Forrester leans on the trust of her fellow handmaiden Sera in attending a coronation ceremony in King's Landing despite Lady Margaery's disapproval. Through some eavesdropping and slips of the tongue, Mira can discover which nobleman is working with The Whitehills and dismantle his plans to exclusively source the supply of ironwood. The time you spend as Mira is rather brief, but the tension in the dialogue choices can be felt more strongly here, as it should feel like at any high-class party in King's Landing. You will need to juggle lies, half-truths, and past decisions without exposing your sources. It's a short and sweet sojourn.
Asher Forrester, who takes the brunt of the uncomplicated action-oriented scenes, has finally reached Daenerys Targaryen's camp in his pursuit to gain an army of sellswords who could help defend the Forrester's home in Ironrath as a last defense. His encounter with Drogon in the last episode earns him an audience, though Daenerys is not easily swayed. Malcolm Branfield and Beshka still butt heads, but ultimately Asher and Beshka need to prove themselves as infiltrators into the city of Meereen. Though Beshka knows the layout of the city, she has reasons to be reluctant, and your decisions as Asher in regards to controlling her actions will be at the forefront as you slaughter the guards in Meereen before Daenerys conquers it with the help of a glorious slave revolt.
Last but not least, Rodrik Forrester must make a stand against Gryff Whitehill's bullying tactics and seemingly receives the assistance he needs to stymie House Whitehill's actions. Though wounded and battered, Rodrik needs to make power plays in order to save his younger brother Ryon who is being held hostage by the Whitehills and at least give time for the other Forresters to lend their aid. While Rodrik has more agency to strike back, his sequence still feels rather limited and forced, particularly with the ending and one sequence where you can actually lose… but it then rewinds back to the decision as if it didn't matter in the first palce.
There's usually one episode in a Game of Thrones season where the numerous setups that the earlier episodes have built finally culminate into a payoff. For Telltale's adaptation, this is that episode. Some of the existing complaints with the somewhat cloudy graphics and some choices that don't really matter still persist, but Sons of Winter makes the overall series worth the wait. I only hope that, for sake of relevance, Telltale can crank out the next two episodes expediently because the HBO show is about to be a season and a half ahead of Telltale's series.