Game of Thrones is an adaptation of the epic dark fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire from writer George R.R. Martin and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The series airs exclusively on HBO and stars Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke. Season 6 debuts April 24th and Season 5 will be available to own on Blu-ray/DVD March 15th.
Set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos Game of Thrones weaves several plot lines with a broad ensemble cast. The first narrative arc follows a civil war among several noble houses for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms; the second covers the attempts of the exiled last scion of the realm’s deposed ruling dynasty to reclaim the throne; the third chronicles the rising threat of the impending winter and the legendary creatures and fierce peoples of the North.
Before I let you read some of my season 5 review which focused solely on the show, let me tell you that this latest Blu-ray set is by far not only the shiniest home release ever made, but it is hands down the most beautiful and stacked yet for Game of Thrones. From the gorgeous slipcase to the golden cover and sleeves, season five looks astounding as a Blu-ray set. The special features are also the most plentiful yet out of any of the previous seasons’ home releases.
I was surprised at how in-depth the Anatomy of an Episode: Mother’s Mercy was and I loved the behind the scenes takes on all of the deaths this season. Yes – they really do hammer down the fact that you know who is indeed toast – a lot – in this feature. They almost convinced me they weren’t lying. Almost… The animated ‘Dance of Dragons’ segment, which details the history of the Targaryen civil war, was all kinds of awesome for a Song of Ice and Fire nut like myself as well.
As much as I had problems with season five’s pacing, something I found similar to the issues of season two’s slow build, when I looked back at these episodes again, I found myself appreciating them far more. The final three in particular, which I loved when they aired and I feel saved the season, are still spectacular. I think they are three of the finest in series history – with episode 8 ‘Hardhome’ indeed being the greatest Game of Thrones hour of all time.
The dragon sequence in episode 9 – incredible. The blitz of death and chaos in episode 10 – incredible. Game of Thrones Season 5 may have garnered a 4/5 rating when it aired, but this stacked blu-ray set is easily a 5/5 because it’s one of the best home releases of a TV series that I’ve ever had in my nerdy clutches.
[Excerpts from Past Review] We are officially caught up to the books as Game of Thrones season five has come to a close. I proclaimed season four to be the best of the bunch thus far last year, so how did season five compare to such a spectacular run? Not so great. That being said, by no means was this a weak year for Thrones, it just wasn’t what most fans were likely expecting. Think back to season two where the entire storyline was quite a bit slower in pace, finally coming to a head in the furious ninth episode ‘Blackwater’ and you’ll get the same kind of vibe here for the fifth.
I was feeling really down on the fifth season until episode seven when it started to pick up, but it wasn’t until eight ‘Hardhome’ that I officially got back on board. A fleeting reference in the novel was ultimately adapted into what I think is the series’ greatest episode as Jon Snow and the wildlings fight for their lives against an army of the undead and a war party of white walkers. It was astounding television, rivaling most if not all feature films in 2015. I had no idea it was coming, but when the madness struck, my jaw was left on the floor. Kudos to the writers for including a giant that I assumed would have been cut, but man oh man did he ever kick some serious ass. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched a giant smash an army of warrior ghouls using a tree.
The plot in Meereen was one of the few storylines adapted for television that actually improved in the process. Cutting out several annoying and unnecessary chunks, we’re left with a lean and mean battle between the queen of dragons and the frightening Sons of the Harpy, culminating in a spectacular showdown in episode nine where we finally get to see the most impressive dragon display on Game of Thrones yet.
Peter Dinklage with his superb beard winds up in the most unexpected places this year on the other side of the world and even though he doesn’t get as much time to shine as he did in season four, he makes the most of his scenes, especially with Emilia Clarke in the ninth episode.
The bottom line is seasons three and four wrapped up the best parts of the third novel in Martin’s series, ‘A Storm of Swords’, and I expected season five to be weaker because it was left to pick up the pieces of two fragmented books that came afterword and were not as beloved as the ones that came before. Much like the novel, the best bits came at the very end of ‘A Dance With Dragons’ and that holds true to the fifth season as the finale was a rollercoaster of death and abrupt conclusions to nearly every single plotline this year.
Read my full Season 5 review HERE – Note: MAJOR SPOILERS
Rating: [star rating=”5″]
- The Dance of Dragons – Hear the story of the Greens and the Blacks, the Targaryen civil war that led to the downfall of the dragons, featuring surprise narration from notable characters from past seasons.
- In-Episode Guide – Dig deeper into the show with this in-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories.
- Histories and Lore – Learn about the mythology of Westeros and Essos as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves in 14 history pieces. Select Histories feature illustrations from the show’s storyboard artist, Will Simpson.
- Anatomy of an Episode: Mother’s Mercy – From the early stages of the writer’s room to the final visual effects, see what went into creating “Mother’s Mercy,” the Emmy-winning episode fans will be talking about for years to come.
- The Real History Behind Game of Thrones – Watch historians, along with George R.R. Martin, explore the interweaving inspirations of the actual players in the era known as “The Wars of the Roses” and other historical events in this two-part series.
- Audio Commentaries – Twelve audio commentaries with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Iain Glen, Maisie Williams, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie and more.
- Deleted Scenes – 4 deleted scenes.
- A Day in the Life – Three countries, hundreds of cast & crew, one epic day. Get an inside look at the production process of Season 5.
- New Characters/New Locations – Explore the new societies, cultures and locations of Season 5.