Game of Thrones – Season 3 On Blu-Ray

game-thrones-season-3-dvd-blu-ray-special-features

HBO is quickly becoming the gold standard by which I measure a collection’s extras, and transfers by, and the latest season of George R.R. Martin’s epic and involving fantasy tale is another feather in their cap.

Since it burst on the scene in 2011, the series has enraptured fans and non-fans alike with its character driven story, fantastic locations, and intricate politics. Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been wonderfully faithful to the source material, encapsulating one volume in the Song Of Ice And Fire each season. With a brilliant cast, that seems to have literally walked out of the imagination of Martin, viewers have followed the series passionately and now, thanks to the release of Season 3 on Blu-Ray, they can refresh or catch up before Season 4 begins April 6.

And while the Red Wedding will be the thing most viewers remember from this season, and it is no less shocking (Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen)!) or troubling having seen it a couple of times now (I’ve even read all the books (to date) and it still troubled me), the rest of the season is replete with great performances and stories as the war for the Iron Throne continues -  one of my faves is the last scene of the season between Ygritte (Rose Leslie) and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington).

Game-of-Thrones-Season-3-Inside-The-Wildings

Everyone has their characters that they love, or love to hate, and I’m no different, but what I love about the series is that those lines seem to waver, someone you hate, or may consider a ‘villain’ does something that redeems them, at least until their next nefarious act, and you reconsider your stand on them, its brilliant!

I’ve made no secret of my favorite characters, Tyrion (the wonderful Peter Dinklage), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and Davos (Liam Cunningham), and each of them get some brilliant moments this season. I was also delighted to see Diana Rigg join an already amazing cast this season as Olenna Tyrell, one more character to keep a watch on. The show continues to draw strong talent to it, Charles Dance, Ciaran Hinds, Iain Glen Lena Headey, Stephen Dillane, Julian Glover, and Natalie Dormer to name just a small portion of the cast.

And watch I did, I mainlined all three seasons again over the past 10 days, just to watch the story so far as one big cohesive whole, and I have to say, the Blu-ray picture looks magnificent! I’m one of those people who love to see all the details when I immerse myself into a world, with the level of definition available on Blu-ray, I love seeing the textures of the fabrics costumes are made out of, the detailing of the set, and also the incredible work on this series with green-screen set extensions… it all looks amazingly beautiful on Blu-ray.

The sound is top-notch, whether I’m venturing beyond The Wall with the Night Watch, or wandering the Red Keep, the sound design for this series continues to help create the reality of the world, and much like the picture, it has been transferred perfectly in this collection.

GoT_Sansa-cloaked-wtih-Tyrion

As mentioned in previous reviews I am a sucker for behind the scenes information, making-of features, and the like, and this collection is no different, there are commentaries featuring cast and crew, several making of featurettes, as well as character profiles to keep names and families straight if you find yourself getting a little lost…

My favorite was the histories and lore special features which helps to expand the on-screen world with tales, legends and stories told by character set to animation that allow us a little more insight to them. Nice touch.

For those who like to get their info while the show is running, the Game of Thrones Blu-rays, there is an in-episode guide that can run concurrently while you view the episode, and if you are unsure of a character, their allegiances or where they are, boom, press a button and catch up. This is a great help for new viewers starting on season 1, if you find yourself getting muddled along the way… it is a lot of names and families to keep straight after all.

I love the fact that HBO is also incorporating DVD and digital copies with their Blu-Ray, doesn’t mean I’m eager to lend my sets out but I like to know I have the possibility of watching the show wherever I go!

And as I finish writing this post, I sit here wondering if I can get through all three seasons again before season 4 starts in April…

Valar morghulis.

got

About these ads

Game of Thrones S02 E10 – Valar Morghulis

There it is, the season finale, and we’re done for another year, it’s gonna be a long wait for a return to Westeros, but maybe I’ll read Dance of Dragons between now and then to fill up some of the time.

This week, we saw the fallout of the Battle of Breakwater, as well as things setting up events for Season 3 and beyond of course.

Tyrion wakes to discover he’s no long the Hand of the King, his father has reclaimed the title, and he’s been ousted from his quarters, his men in the King’s Guard have been removed and his hillmen have been sent home. He also learns that his sister was behind the attempt on his life during the battle.

In moments, we see everything that he has worked for, gained, and amassed over the course of the season, is swept away from him, leaving him broken, and literally scarred.

He even attempts to drive Shea away by speaking cruelly, but she refuses, and eventually he breaks down in tears, in a wonderfully poignant moment, ending with the two of them clinging to one another as he cries. Still proving he’s my favorite character.

Margaery is put forth to Joffrey as a potential bride, replacing Sansa Stark, who is at first elated at the idea until Little Finger points out that Joffrey would still keep her around to use and abuse her…

Daenerys is having troubles of her own and goes to the House of the Undying to reclaim her dragons, there she is confronted by illusions and magic created by Pyat Pree, including one of the north beyond the one and one where she speaks with her dead husband Drogo, and the unrealized child they would have had together.

Finally she confronts the sorcerer, and unleashes fiery death upon him courtesy of her dragons. Nice.

She locks Xaro in his own safe as payment for her betrayal of her, and takes all she can lay her hands on to a buy a ship for her return to Westeros…

Bran and Rickon come across a dying Maester Pycelle, who urges them to go north to The Wall, after his flight from a sacked and burned Winterfell, from where Theon Greyjoy has been taken by his own men, after a rather rousing speech which came to naught…

Arya (my other favorite character) and Jaqen part ways, but not before he advises her that should she like to learn his ways, she only needs to show a special coin, that he gifts her, and say the words, Valar Morghulis, which means “all men must die.” Before they go their seperate ways, Jaqen physically changes his appearance, and leaving Arya debating the course of her future…

Brienne and Jamie Lannister are making for King’s Landing…

Robb Stark marries Talisa, breaking a promise he made to the House of Frey to marry one of his daughters. That won’t go well… Having read the books, I know that won’t go well…

Finally, beyond the Wall, Qorin Halfhand is slain in combat by Jon Snow, which will only cement his acceptance into Mance Rayder’s men…

And at the Fist of the First Men, where Sam and other members of the Night’s Watch wait, they hear three blasts of the horn, meaning White Walkers!

Portly Sam is left behind as the other men flee back to camp, and he is in their midst as the White Walkers, frightening and monstrous stride out of the snow storm…

It’s a great end to the season, tying up a number of story lines and getting us ready to launch into new ones. For those of us who have read the books, we know whats coming, but I am loving this adaptation to the small screen, and am looking forward to its return next year.

Good thing I have lots to occupy myself with in the interim…

What do you think of the finale?

Game of Thrones S02E03 – What Is Dead May Never Die

The politics and machinations are well under way at this point of the season, as parties maneuver to gain control of the Iron Throne and the lands of Westeros.

North of the Wall, we rejoin Jon Snow as Craster delivers him to Lord Commander Mormont after catching Snow spying on the fate of Craster’s male children, murdered and delivered to the White Walkers.

Sam in the interim is obviously quite taken with Gilly, one of Craster’s daughter/wives, and leaves her one of his mother’s items as a promise to return.

From North of the Wall we travel south to Winterfell, to check in with the young, lame Bran. He has been having dreams, where he can run, walk, hunt and eat. He is beginning to suspect these are more than dreams, that they are real, that he is somehow connected with his dire wolf.

We travel further south to find Lady Stark arriving at King Renly’s camp in the midst of a gladiatorial game, in which the flamboyant Loras, the so-called Knight of Flowers, is bested by a towering knight, who upon winning reveals herself as Brienne, a much-loved character from the book series. Though I will say, she is not as ugly as she is described in the books, but that is the wonder of television one supposes. The victory earns her a spot in the illustrious King’s Guard.

We also learn that not only is Renly married to Margaery, though he’s yet to consummate the marriage, he is also sexually involved with her brother, Loras.

Margaery is aware of the relationship, and takes it in stride, but counsels Renly that if he fathers a child with her, it cements their union and strengthens their hold, denying their enemies.

From there we travel to Pyke, where the Greyjoys are developing battle plans to slip behind Robb Stark’s line of attack across the south and seize the North behind him. Lord Greyjoy questions where Theon’s loyalties lie because of his friendship with Robb while he was a ward of Ned Stark. Theon is given one ship to go raiding with, but his sister Yara is given a fleet of 30 and will do the bulk of he fleet action. Theon temporarily toys with the idea of warning Robb, but commits himself to his family and is baptized with salt water as he proclaims his faith in the Drowned God.

Meanwhile in King’s Landing, Tyrion is weaving webs of his own, to ferret out who the spy for his sister is. Telling each of his suspects, Little-finger, Varys, and Grand Maester Pycelle that he plans to marry Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella,  off to three different men. Knowing that whatever story he hears from Cersei will reveal the spy to him.

He also arranges for his mistress, Shae, to become Sansa Stark’s new handmaiden, hiding her in plain sight, so Cersei won’t know who she is.

Sansa, meanwhile is beginning to realize how truly trapped she is becoming amidst the Lannisters, and is closing very quickly in on despair.

Tyrion’s machinations pay off, revealing Pycelle as the spy, when confronted by Tyrion and Bronn, he proclaims his allegiance to House Lannister, always House Lannister, but Tyrion banishes him to one of the infamous black cells.

Finally we venture along the King’s Road, where we find Arya spending a sleepless night, and attempts to engage Yoran in conversation. She wants to know how he can sleep at night when he has seen so many horrible things.

The two are interrupted as a group of soldiers, loyal to the Lannisters stumble upon them, seeking Gendry.

Urging Arya and Gendry to escape and go north, Yoran is slain by the soldiers, who then proceed to ransack the convoy, and slay many of those on their way to The Wall.

Arya, helps the prisoners in the convoy escape, but then is set upon by a soldier who capture her and others,  steals her sword, and uses it to run through one of her young traveling companions.

When the soldiers demand that they tell them where Gendry is, Arya points out Gendry’s helmet next to her slain companion, saying you already got him.

This show gets better and better, and even having read the books, and knowing what’s coming, seeing it unfold on the screen is a spectacular ride, the production continues to be lush and stunning, and the characters grow and change from week to week – the death of Ned Stark hangs over everything as a reminder that anyone can die at any time.

How long will your favorite character last?