Game Of Thrones is much better as a TV series than as a book series, and part of the reason is HBO’s almost absurdly sumptuous DVD sets. We recently got the Blu-Ray, and the truth is, if you love the show, it’s worth every penny. This will be spoiler-free.
I’m not going to waste a lot of time telling you the show is really good; we’ve gotten into that at length. Suffice to say, the show’s excellent. But what do you get for your money with the Blu-Ray set?
If there’s a criticism that I have of the set, it’s that it’s not built with the hardcore fan in mind, but for people who have heard of the series and are willing to drop the $80 this set is available for to start watching the series. That’s great, but by the same token, if you’ve already seen the show, you’re going to skip most of this stuff. It would have been nice if HBO put a few more features towards fans of the series who are buying the set regardless.
That said, yes, it is absolutely worth that $80, major fan or newbie. This is how you watch Game of Thrones.
First of all, this is, as expected, perfect. The transfers are, as you might expect, crystal clear, and the audio is well-mixed; while I wish there was a stereo spread, it’s a well-mixed show in the first place, so you won’t have to ride the levels while watching it.
Probably the best touch in the Blu-Ray exclusive features is how much you can dig into the lore if you’re not up on the series, or last consumed it in a massive binge. Each episode of the series comes with an “in-episode” guide that’s surprisingly useful; it’s packed with little touches of lore about characters, locations, and full of general useful tidbits that you either missed the first time or had slipped your mind.
There’s also a standalone interactive guide laying out the complex relationships between characters on the show that’s actually incredibly useful: As I’ve been rewatching the show to prep for the fourth season, I’ve found myself popping in the disc and using it as a reference.
The only missteps are the Season Two recap, which feels unnecessary in light of the more extensive features that cover the same ground, and an odd puff piece about marriage. It does touch on marriage as a power play in the show itself, but it feels a bit tacked on and out of place next to the rest of the extras.
Most of the in-depth, meaty stuff, though, is largely focused on two areas: A detailed breakdown of The Rains of Castamere, and the episode commentaries. The former is pretty meaty as to the episode itself and what went into it. The latter is also fairly interesting and a pretty broad mix of both cast and crew. They’re all fairly informative, although in the case of a few episodes, they do rehash a little ground. You’ll also want to be caught up on the show before you fire them up. But, in all, they enhance your appreciation of show considerably.
In short, HBO has put out a great home video set. If you’re a fan of the show, it’s worth every penny.