Hi, Jennifer Brandes Hepler here, lead writer on Game of Thrones Ascent. I want to take a little time today to talk about where we’re heading in our new original storyline, Breaking Ties.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Season 5 and your personal storyline.
It’s not exactly news that Season 5 has been unrelentingly brutal, moreso it seemed than other seasons, because even we long-time book fans didn’t know what to expect. So we decided to start with your character in the same place that I think we all are as an audience – reeling from the number of deaths and defeats in so short a timespan and wondering what will be coming next. At this point in time, none of the great houses in Westeros has a secure hold on power with a clear line of succession.
Which opens the chance for your character’s advisors to ask: How much do you really owe your liege lord? Winter is coming, and where will your loyalties lie? In serving a great house that has pursued power to the point of its own destruction, or in building your own holdings so you can survive the winter and maybe one day lay claim to your entire region?
This is the season where you start playing the Game of Thrones in earnest. Your fealty is weak, which means there’s no oversight as you wreak your vengeance against rivals from your past, annex their holdings, and build yourself into the greatest power in your area. The new volume is called Breaking Ties, because unlike Forging Bonds, you’re no longer concerned about creating alliances, now it’s every house for itself.
Additionally, this season, I wanted to play with the ideas of bastardy and legitimacy in Westeros. While those are huge themes in the show, touching major characters like Jon Snow and Ramsay Snow/Bolton, they have yet to become personal for your house. This volume, you character must answer the question, is it better to support a weak legitimate ruler, or throw your strength behind a charismatic bastard?
Lastly, this season is about triumph emerging from tragedy. Whatever horrors have befallen your fealty, now is your chance to act, to protect what you have built and strike out against those who could drag you down. Play new quests every week and meet a new cast of characters, including a sellsword-turned-revolutionary-leader, a rogue warlock of Qarth and a bastard who claims to be your own. Delve into the history of your fealty and learn what dark secrets haunt your liege lord’s line. And as Westeros crumbles around you, let your house rise from the ashes. Someone has to fill the power vacuum left by all the wars, make sure it’s you!
The Breaking Ties content begins in the build on Monday, July 6, 2015.