Video Game: Game of Thrones
"There is nothing so terrifying as a truly just man."Game of Thrones
is a 2012 Action RPG
inspired by George RR Martin
's fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire
, but not, ironically, by the television show of the same name
. The game was in Development Hell
for seven years, and it is very clear that the plot draws far more from the book than the show. The plot was universally agreed by critics to be its greatest strength, but most derided the graphics and simplistic fighting system. In short, it failed as an actual video game sold at $60. However, as a world-building exercise and experience in human drama, it is easily one of the more successful examples in video gaming.
Throughout the story, the player takes control of two disgraced knights. One, a Sworn Brother of the Night's Watch named Mors Westford, otherwise known as the Butcher. The other, Alester Sarwyck, a Red Priest returning home to reclaim his inheritance. Both are immediately introduced as Well-Intentioned Extremists
, with the player often having a say as to how either character reacts to brutal life in the Seven Kingdoms. Their stories are kept separate for much of the game, with Mors in the North and Alester in the South. Both characters will face many forms of corruption and betrayal, and over the course of the game, the player will be confronted with the same harsh realities and shocking twists the series is known for. And of course, everyone dies
It is worth mentioning that though the game draws on plot points ignored in the television show, it actually features the voice work of James Cosmo (Lord Commander Jeor Mormont) and Conleth Hill (Lord Varys) as their respective characters from the show. Other major characters appearing with unique portrayals are Queen Cersei Lannister, Qhorin Halfhand, and Chataya. For tropes regarding book characters, please see their respective pages
Note: If you're looking for the Telltale game of the same name, go here
Tropes found in the game include:
- Animal Motifs: Mors Westford is a skinchanger whose companion is a dog. He is regularly compared to a canine for his ability to sniff secrets out. His defining characteristic is his loyalty. When we finally see his house sigil, of course it's a dog.
- Averted with Alester, whose banner is a broken sword, which is no less fitting.
- Anti-Hero: Both main characters, though in very different ways.
- Mors will happily slaughter anyone who dares dishonor themselves on his watch, but has a very strong sense of justice that compels him to defend the weak. This attitude is a major reason why he exiled himself to the Wall. The Night's Watch is the only place he felt an honest knight could truly serve without hurting the innocent. His strong camaraderie with other Sworn Brothers suggest he was even happy, though its clear many are just scared of him.
- Alester no longer has the traditional mindset of what constitutes a knight in Westeros, but he still puts his family, faith, and community before anything else. Compared to Mors, he initially comes off as the more sympathetic of the pair before Mors comes out of his shell and we learn just what depths Alester will go to protect his family.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Mors and Alester in the final chapter.
- Badass: Many characters, especially Mors, who regularly fights off small armies singlehandely. Alester is equally badass, but is more likely to sneak through and rely on armed support.
- Ser Desmond Hardyng is specifically introduced as the best swordsman in the Riverlands. His stats agree.
- Valarr should probably have been smothered at birh, but there's no denying he's a force of nature on the battlefield.
- Badass Preacher: Ser Alester Sarwyck, anointed Priest of R'hllor, will tell you more about the God of Flame and Shadow than you ever wanted to know, and those who don't care to listen often get the Flaming Sword instead. Borders on Church Militant, as he hopes to use his authority in Riverspring to create a safehaven for his faith.
- Bastard Bastard: Ser Valarr Hill seems to think noone likes him because of his illegitimate status, and not at all due to how freaking evil he is.
- Big Bad Ensemble: It wouldn't be Westeros with just one massive conspiracy.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Gorn, a wildling intent on leading his tribe through the Wall. A fierce warlord with many warriors,he might have succeeded if the Butcher and Qhorin Halfhand had not been waiting on the other side.
- Hero Antagonist: Tyrek, a Riverspring merchant intent on leading his starving people to open revolt. Not actually evil, per se, just angry.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Ser Valarr Hill, the game's primary antagonist, and the most evil man in Westeros. A Bastard Bastard, Blood Knight, and Evil Sorcerer, Ser Valarr is Alester's illegitimate brother and Arch-Enemy.
- Big Bad: Queen Cersei Lannister. Unlike the show, the game displays her ruthlessness in all its horrific glory. Like the books, Cersei orchestrates the murder of all her husband's bastards in order to cement her own children's ascent. She even goes so far to employ Valarr to chase a pregnant woman all over Westeros.
- Bigger Bad: Lord Tywin Lannister. Never actually appears in game, but it is his power and influence that grants Ser Valarr the manpower and authority to cause our heroes so much suffering. Tywin is eventually revealed to have given the infamous order that Mors joined the Night's Watch in order to avoid carrying out. He then ordered Alester and Valarr to murder Mors' family in retaliation. Though we never see him, he is ultimately responsible for almost the entire game's plot in one way or another.
- Big Bad: Lord Arwood Harlton, the Manipulative Bastard responsible for murdering Alester's father and brother, torturing Mors, and attempting to use an unwilling Jeyne to rally support against the Lannisters. Unlike the other antagonists, Harlton actually has an Evil Plan that stretches back 15 years. His great resources and personal army would almost cement him as the game's true antagonist if not for a bit of Black Magic on Valarr's part.
- Big "NO!": A rather Narmy one from Mors when he discovers his wife and daughter have died.
- Black Knight: Ser Valarr Hill
- Break The Fourth Wall: Two surprising examples, one more overt than the other. The first is American-accented Maester Martin, who gets irritated when people ask him when he'll finish his history of the Seven Kingdoms. The second one is Varys, who apparently knows everything because he's the narrator.
- The Butcher: A rare heroic version. Mors's Ax-Crazy tendencies and overall Badass reputation have earned him this title.
- Darker and Edgier: Not the setting itself, but the characters are much more grim and brutal than any of the heroes of the main series.
- Justified, in that they are both career knights, and thus professional killers.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Mors Westford's dayjob when not massacring his enemies.
- Expy: Several characters, though very well fleshed out, may remind players of certain figures in the books.
- Ser Mors Westford is a noble skinchanger more concerned with upholding his duties as a Sworn Brother than others are. However, Mors is a much more brutal character than Jon Snow ever was, and has lived a much fuller life. Personality-wise, he has much more in common with Ned Stark, whose sense of honor regularly causes suffering for himself and his family.
- Ser Alester Sarwyck invites comparisons to other Red Priests, but he has much more in common with Jon Connington, as both are disgraced exiles haunted by failures during Robert's Rebellion. Both even become heavily involved in pro-Targaryen conspiracies. Connington's armor can even be bought from Alester's personal steward.
- Ser Valarr Hill comes off at first as a smarter Ser Gregor Clegane, being a psychotic knight who serves the Lannisters. His VA and articulate dialogue only make his actions more horrific. Eventually revealed to be even more dangerous than the Mountain, as Riverspring and Castlewood learn to their dismay when Valarr shows off his other abilities.
- Lord Arwood Harlton has a great deal in common with Prince Doran Martell. Both are embittered nobles conspiring to take vengeance for wrongs committed during the Rebellion. When confronted though, he declares he is fighting for the Realm itself, and is hoping to set up a proper ruler, much like Varys.
- Varys, amusingly enough, has much in common with Lemony Snickett. He narrates the story, despite being a major character. At one point, he breaks the fourth wall to ask the player to make a choice. In the last scene, he refers to the game's plot as a sad tale. He's still Varys though.
- Jeyne Greystone may remind viewers of Daenerys Targaryen. She, however, is arguably the most anti-Targaryen character in the game, and would rather live in a cottage than a palace.
- Failure Knight: Both main characters. Standard for the setting, but Mors and Alester raise the bar to new levels.
- Good Is Not Soft: Mors and Alester are this, due to the harsh realities of Westeros. Mors regularly reminds the player far more of the Punisher in chainmail than Jon Snow or Samwell Tarly. Lord Commander Mormont approves.
- Guttural Growler: When Mors says he would like to tear out your entrails and eat them in front of you, you believe him.
- Lord Smooth and Ser Rough: Alester and Mors have this dynamic when they finally meet up. They're both technically landed nobles, but Alester is rightful heir to a major town while Mors is a professional soldier who surrendered his own lands long ago.
- Low Fantasy: Like the series, the plot is far more interested in matters of politics and succession. It is very easy to forget both heroes and the Big Bad are essentially sorcerers.
- Narrator: Varys... who plays a major role in the game.
- Real Knights Love R'hllor: Alester Sarwyck never lets anyone forget it.
- Downplayed with Mors and the Faith of the Seven. He never expresses a genuine belief in the Seven, but still considers his Andal heritage very important to his identity as a knight.
- The Problem with Licensed Games: Was praised for its story (penned by Martin himself) but otherwise got bad reviews due to poor graphics, combat, and a number of other things.
- Recruiters Always Lie: Averted in tragic fashion. Mors regularly lures newcomers to the Night's Watch with rather terrifying descriptions of a life spent fighting wildlings, the cold, and much worse. Fortunately for him, peasant life is even worse everywhere else.
- Remember the New Guy: Played straight, subverted, and flaunted.
- Mors Westford is specifically introduced as Mormont's best ranger (Not the same thing as First Ranger, which is Benjen Stark's job) and a Sworn Brother so feared, both wildlings and crows dread encountering him. However, he leaves the Wall long before Jon Snow ever arrives. He only returns to the Wall in one of five endings.
- The Sarwycks of Riverspring and the Harltons of Castlewood are never mentioned in the books, nor do their towns exist on the map. Both families along with their towns are essentially wiped by war and poverty before the end of the game.
- Alester and Valarr become personal enforcers for Cersei Lannister, assassinating 'enemies of the state on her behalf. Both skip town before the beginning of the book's events and only return when everyone is distracted by Ned Stark's coup.
- Varys engineers the Final Boss Fight on behalf of the heroes and helps Alester out more than once. Alester is convinced that Varys is somehow manipulating events to benefit himself, regardless of who wins and who loses. He is.
- The main plot revolves around the premise of Robert Baratheon impregnating one of Aerys' bastards. However, Jeyne is almost as anti-Targaryen as Robert, what with her mother being raped by a mad king and spending her life on the run. Lord Harlton even comments the only thing that really matters to the common people is her silver hair, which is good enough for his plans. Almost everyone is far more concerned about her unborn child than her personally.
- The Battle of Stag's Mount is regularly referenced. Good luck finding it on a map.
- Mors and Alester are famous war heroes who made their name in the above battle, and served under Jon Arryn. Jon Arryn is quite dead during the game, but his trust in Mors is why he drags the old knight back into the game of thrones.
- The Brotherhood, a secretive pro-Targaryen alliance between lords disenfranchised during the War. They are also wiped out before their plans really take off. More importantly, they have no actual link to the surviving Targaryens and are more interested in setting up a puppet government in their name.