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).
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.
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…