“The Lost Lords,” the second episode in Telltale’s "Game of Thrones" spinoff, does almost nothing different from the first episode, “Iron From Ice.” In many ways, it’s just more setup material for what I assume will be a huge payoff later in the series. Throughout its two or so hours, "The Lost Lords" distributes screen time among a few leads in House Forrester, but none develops very significantly. Developer Telltale is still playing with backstories, careful to prevent this episode from making any important strides for the series.
It doesn’t offer any surprising revelations or thickening plots beyond the ones its predecessor already introduced, instead incrementally building on established material and throwing the two eldest Forrester brothers back into the fray. Tensions between the Forresters and Whitehills escalate, but in a predictable way. Jon Snow shows his face at The Wall. The episode’s ending, though sentimental, doesn’t do much to drum up drama for the next episode. For now, at least, this is still okay.
"The Lost Lords" does have a few instantly memorable moments (ask Cotter about the potatoes), but these instances are stretched thin as Telltale inundates the episode’s flow with backstory and details. It’s easy to get get bogged down in things that, by episode’s end, turn out to be immaterial. The third episode’s preview doesn’t exactly promise completed arcs or important developments, either. And it’s at this point that I start to wonder when Telltale will finally make their point.
Now that we’re nearly halfway through the total story, I feel like there should be more. More for me to put my finger on and tell people, “This is why I want to keep playing.” But there’s just nothing new that’s really grabbing me a second time around, especially now that I’ve had to think about my actions in Iron From Ice -- more and more I wonder if my choices actually mean something, because Telltale seems set on telling one ending to the tale. No matter how I acted towars Ramsay Snow in "Iron From Ice," he still killed Ethan. Gared Tuttle still got sent to The Wall.
This time, I managed to convinced Rodrick Forrester’s betrothed to still marry him despite his family’s precarious position (a task you can fail), so hopefully that’s finally a setup to a branching path. But if the Forresters get prevail or perish despite my actions...then the choice didn’t matter. As an extension of the television series or the novels, I suppose it makes sense not to mess with overarching literary canon, but as a videogame it robs a player of agency and satisfaction that their decisions actually made a difference.
It isn’t all bad news, of course. Telltale’s usual comedic charm has made its way into "The Lost Lords" (mostly in the form of exiled Asher Forrester), as has their penchant for grisly deaths (again, mostly involving Asher). The technical issues present in the first episode haven’t reared their heads again.
Criticisms aside, The Lost Lords is still entertaining for an evening, especially if you’re already a "Game of Thrones" fan (but even if you’re not). But you just have to accept that it feels, as some television episodes do, a bit like filler to pass time until the really good stuff comes out.