Telltale Games has teased its upcoming Game of Thrones video game with a quote from A Dance With Dragons and a hashtag. But what does it actually tell us about the game's setting in Westeros? (Warning: This post contains Spoilers for A Dance With Dragons.)
Telltale's twitter account posted this tantalising image the other day, the first piece of media for the Game of Thrones game since it was announced at the VGX awards late last year:
At a first glance, it doesn't really tell us anything - especially if you're a TV-show-only Game of Thrones fan. A simple quote and and hashtag, but if we dig a bit deeper we might be able to decipher some new bits of information about just who we could be following in this new series. Let's start off with the one word highlighted from the quote: Forrester.
(Also, final, final warning - There will be Spoilers for the books from here on in!)
We currently know very little about House Forrester. A minor house from the North's wolfswood, they're bannermen sworn to House Glover - who are in turn were sworn to House Stark before the Red Wedding. The Glovers declare fealty to Stannis Baratheon after he liberates Deepwood Motte, their seat of power, from the Greyjoys in A Dance with Dragons.
Our first mention of the Forresters comes in Chapter 42 of Dance - Lady Sybelle Glover sends scouts from the House, along with members of Houses Wood, Branch and Bole, with Stannis' beleaguered army as he marches from the Motte to Winterfell to siege the Boltons. We've not actually met any specific individuals from House Forrester so far outside of these scouts, so it would make sense for Telltale to want to establish some characters - maybe even the game's protagonists - from them, as it gives them a relatively free canvas to develop a story around them without having them too tied up with the series' biggest Houses and plot points. If a Forrester is the starring character of the series, it would at least mean we're going to be seeing a lot of the North in the game - either if it's set during the events of A Dance With Dragons, or perhaps even earlier (if House Forrester is sworn to the Glovers, there stands a good chance of some of them being in Robb's army, or perhaps defending Deepwood Motte when it falls to the Greyjoys in A Clash of Kings) in the series' chronology.
Outside of the highlighting of 'Forrester' from the quote though, there's another clue to be found in who's actually speaking in it - Asha (or, as the series is based on the HBO adaptation, Yara) Greyjoy.
Yes, this one's going to be a bit tricky. In A Dance With Dragons, Asha/Yara is taken captive by Stannis when Deepwood Motte falls to his forces, and dragged along with him on his march to Winterfell - and whilst on the way there, she meets her scarred, abused and disfigured brother Theon for the first time since he took Winterfell in A Game of Thrones, who has escaped from his imprisonment by Ramsey. So if the game is actually set around Stannis' march around the North to raise support for his claim, maybe we'll actually meet Yara after she's captured by the Baratheon forces?
The only big problem with this is that Telltale's Game is specifically based on the HBO series, rather than the original A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and the show hasn't got to this point in the books - and I'm not sure next years Season 5 will, considering there's been a pretty drastic set of changes to the Grejoy plotline so far. We've already seen Yara encounter Theon in an attempted rescue from the Dreadfort in Season 4 - and last we saw her, she was sailing away and declaring her brother dead to her. The Yara of the TV show is seemingly quite a ways off from being at Deepwood Motte to be captured by Stannis (the show hasn't even gotten to Balon Greyjoy's death and the Kingsmoot yet). Stannis himself is in place by the end of Season 4, ready at Castle Black, but without some cutting by the show, I'm not sure if we're going to see her getting captured in the next season. It would also mean that if it is set around this period, Telltale's game wouldn't come out until early next year when the show returns.
So what would the hashtag refer to then?
The Dance quote and who's chapter it comes from seemingly all points to Yara - symbolising the 'Iron' that the Greyjoys admire so much - and her kinda-sorta-liberation (as she's still Stannis' prisoner) from the 'Ice' of the North? It all makes sense until you remember just how far away the show is from these events. So what else could it be?
There stands a chance that the 'Iron' of the hashtag could be a bit more literal - the iron not of the Greyjoys, but the Iron of weapons and armour, of conflict. Could the 'Iron from Ice' refer to a Forrester sworn to the Starks during Robb's rebellion, fighting his way from the Ice of the North southwards? Maybe the 'Ice' is even more literally: it could be a Forrester who's forsaken his allegiance to their House, and is a member of the Night's Watch stationed at the Wall - that's about as literal as Ice can get in Westeros, without going beyond the Wall.
For now, all we have is speculation and that image, but it might not be that way for much longer: Telltale are still insisting Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series is coming out some time this year.
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