Directed by: Daniel Minahan, David Benioff, Alex Graves, Alik Sakharov, Michelle MacLaren, David Nutter.
Staring: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Jack Gleeson
WARNING! This review will contain spoilers to seasons one and two.
I once read “Game of Thrones is like twitter. There are 140 characters and bad things are constantly happening.” While some may see this as a joke, it couldn’t be closer to the truth. When I first started watching Game of Thrones, personally I thought it was a slow burn, but could be interesting show, but I didn’t really understand why everyone thought it was amazing. Then I saw the ending to the first episode, when Bran gets pushed out the window and my jaw dropped and I gasped harder than I ever have for a show. After watching only three episodes I was completely hooked and bought the first season when it came out. Ever since, I have been completely addicted and am loving every moment.
“If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
( Instead of writing about the show as a whole, I’ve decided to break up each section of the show and discuss my thoughts on the storyline. )
Beyond the Wall
Jon Snow finally makes his way to see the “King beyond the wall” while being a spy for the Nights Watch. We finally get to meet and know the wildlings after having only met two from the previous seasons. I personally like Mance Rayder as his character will make you laugh and then feel extremely intimidated within seconds. Lets not forget Samwell and Commander Mormont who survive the attack on the white walkers and now must retreat to Castle Black to tell the world about the impending doom. While I liked this storyline, as with other seasons I feel like its just lacking some of the time in having haste in wanting to know what happens next. That’s not to say its bad, but in terms of all the other storylines I found this one to be the least interesting.
In Kings Landing
Meanwhile in the Capital, having survived the attack on the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion now struggles keeping his head on his sholders having lost the power he had as hand of the king now that his father, Twyin is now in charge. Cersei, while still Queen, finds herself losing the ability to control her son, the king, Joffery. For those who don’t know, Joffery is the most despicable character I’ve ever seen in any form of entertainment and Jack Gleeson plays him wonderfully evil. As the Tyrells come into the city and betrove their daughter to be wed to Joffery, Cersei sees this as more power to be lost in the marriage and tries at every turn to create conflict among her family and others around her. This plot thread is hugely entertaining and really is a trill to watch the characters scheme and think of ways to possibly screw over one another, showing the power of well written dialogue. A personal favorite moment of mine is Tyrion, in a drunken haze, threaten Joffery that made me want to stand up and cheer. While not my personal favorite storyline, it’s absolutely wonderful and a pleasure to guess what will happen next.
Across the Narrow Sea
Daenerys Targaryen having now sacked the city of Quarth now sets out to the city of Astapor to acquire an army to take back the iron throne. While the plot last season really didn’t have much steam this season is full of twists. Daenerys is the fan favorite for several reasons; one being that she wants to free slaves and the second that she has damn dragons. Personally, and I know this will sound stupid, but if I was in this world, I would gladly join her army. It also doesn’t help that Emilia Clarke is stunningly beautiful. I also found her performance to have a wide range from having optimism to having a performance within a performance.
Valar Morghulis and the War in the North
While in the lands of the Westeros Aria Stark is still trying to make her way back to her family after escaping from Harrenhall. Rob Stark (the “King in the North”) and his mother Catlin Stark have won every battle in their rebellion, but are still losing the war. As the war rages on, Rob tries at every turn to make the right decisions to try and gain favor among other factions but it’s a rough road to go down. I found this section to be extremely riveting and really the drive behind the entire story, since technically they are the main characters. While I know the reputation of episode 9 (im trying to be spoiler friendly as possible here) does detract in watching the show again, in terms of dread. The first time I saw episode 9, like other people I was in tears by the end. It is one of the most controversial episodes of a tv show to come out.
The Iron Islands and The Lord of Light
Up in the north close to the sea we find Theon Greyjoy now tied up and being tortured for his crimes and acts of treason done to Winterfell and others. While at first this entire section is ok to watch but after six or seven episodes of more ways of brutal torture it starts to become extremely painful to watch, as it should. I did find Theons torturer to be almost as bad as King Joffery but to a lesser extent. While some may find it to be repetitive I found it to be important to see the transition of Theon to Reek. Meanwhile Stannis Baratheon (the rightful heir to the throne) is licking his wounds after losing the battle of Blackwater and now is not sure whom to trust aside from Lady Melisandre who slowly might be tricking him to do whatever she wants him to do. The only one who can see through her possible lies is his right hand man Davos Seaworth. If there’s any storyline that meanders around the entire season it’s this one but again that’s not to say its bad.
The season plays wonderfully as a whole and actually is better to power through them in two to three sitting rather than watching them from week to week. If I had one major complaint that its the ending of this season isn’t as strong as previous seasons. Watching the ending of it, close to the premier of season 4 really does hype me up better than any trailer that has been put out. Simply put aside from one minor flaw, the season as a whole is close to perfect and I wouldn’t make a single change to it.
“Any man who must say, I am the king, is no true king.”
HBO has always had a very high standard when it comes to their blu ray releases and this is no exception. Game of Thrones season three has one of the best audio/video presentations available on the market today. Colors are lush and vivid, while the black levels and grey tones are perfect. Flesh tones have a very stormy look to it due to the themes and setting but are very accurate. Details are almost scary real, making almost every shot look 3D, at some points one could almost smell the smoke or blood coming off the screen. A few times I started getting distracted by looking at all the stitching patterns on the characters clothing and other details in the sets and interiors. Artifacting or blanding are only present in one shot that lasts for two seconds but aside from that it’s filmic look is never tarnished. I cannot recommend this presentation enough and is in the top 5 best (non-70mm) video presentation in my collection.
Swords ring out, shield shatter and arrows fly onto Game of Thrones powerful DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. LFE use is strong and potent while never being overpowering and the surround sound usage is constant and fierce. Personally hearing the main theme in 5.1 really pumps me up and is wonderfully mixed with sounds panning from one speaker to another. At one point while watching an arrow came out of the right rear speaker and I actually ducked thinking it was going to hit me. Needless to say, that’s quite an accomplishment for a sound mix. Atmospheres are deep and the spatial range is wide. Fidelity is strong and dialogue is always in the forefront being clear and never drowned out. Every scene uses the mix perfectly and is better than most theatrical released films.
Packaging and Bonus Features
“We’re going to need details. Copious details.”
Packaging for the set is great with a white backdrop with three swords etched on the cover. It also contains a clear slipcover with the shadow of a dragon flying above it. The effect is really neat and is a lot of fun to take off for the first time. The set also includes a digital copy and DVD copy.
Bonus features for this set are massive and vast. All presented in HD and some lasting for an hour or longer Game of Thrones shows how doing bonus features are done right. For starters there are 12 commentaries, each having great insight to nearly every scene from different points of view. While never becoming legendary in terms of great, its very good and is a great listen. Next is the In-Episode Guides that act as like a picture in picture mode that really are extensive. From interviews to behind the scenes footage to actual maps and concept art being used to show and explain everything. It never becomes too much information on the screen and flows wonderfully. Other bonus features include a show recap for those who don’t want to sit through the entire show first. A feature to introduce new characters and who they are/what their plans are. Deleted and extended scenes, that while are good, are cut for a reason. The Histories and Lore section is amazing, telling over twelve stories and fleshing out the history of the realm told by the actors in character reveling historical facts about cities and battles. Other bonus stuff is talk about the characters of the wildlings and how marriage works within the world.
– Audio Commentaries
– In-Episode Guide
– A Gathering Storm
– New Characters
– The Rains of Castamere Unveiled
– Deleted and Extended Scenes
– Histories & Lore
– Roots of Westeros
– Inside the Wildlings
– The Politics of Marriage
“The Lannisters send their regards.”
The year has just started, but im certain this is the years best blu ray. HBO has shown how to make the best season to date and have the brutal punch it has. It also delivers a master class in terms of its Audio/Video presentation and bonus features making it one of the best blu rays I have ever owned. I simply cannot recommend this enough for its amazing quality and fantastic price currently on the market. Do not miss this.
OVERALL (Not an average): 10/10
The Show: 9.5/10
The Video: 10/10
The Audio: 10/10
Packaging and Bonus Features: 9.5/10
“If you ever call me sister again I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.”