91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2014
If you are looking at this product you probably don't need me to sell you the series itself, you likely know how engrossing and how brilliantly put together it is. Why then should you buy this box set instead of watching or re-watching the series on a catch-up service?
The extras are why. All three series have some incredibly interesting and entertaining audio commentaries that accompany the episodes. Some are really informative, with the director or writers giving insights into how particular things were done, where, when and why. Each series George R.R. Martin commentates the episode that he specifically wrote, and this is especially interesting for those who have not read the books as he points out some of the differences in characters, or settings, or slight plot changes. Some of them that feature the actors have less (although still a reasonable amount) of insight into the filming process, however they are fun and entertaining and allow the watcher to learn a bit about the actors behind the characters and what may be involved with their daily lives on and off the shoot. Unfortunately there are usually about two or three episodes a season without commentary, however in seasons two and three some of them have two. This is a bit disappointing as I re-watch the series and want to have a commentary an episode as I do so and not have to watch episodes twice in succession, but is not a major issue.
'The Making Of' documentaries are also insightful and as a filmmaker myself they are inspirational in giving me ideas for ways of shooting things. Although some of the things that they talk about are touched upon in the commentaries, overall they are still worth the watch for a bit of a closer look, and to see how things looked before the editing and visual effects teams got a hold of them.
In addition to this there are many other short featurettes about the 'Game of Thrones' world and the making of the series, and for season three there are extended and deleted scenes.
Something that I think is a very nice touch is the episode guide pamphlet included for each series. In all the seasons it has the episode names and summaries on it. For the first season also included on it are family trees, and a map of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The second series has information about the characters and a map that extends to show all of the areas that the show visits. In the third season pamphlet there is a nice piece of concept art of the Throne Room in King's Landing.
Overall I am very impressed with the box set as a whole. I do think however that the third season lacks somewhat in the 'Making Of' department, however it has other featurettes on aspects of the cultures within the series and extended and deleted scenes that somewhat make up for this. If you are a fan of the show and are looking to know more about it, or even want to re-watch it, I do recommend this box set with the audio commentaries on (and you can subtitle the show so you can still keep up with the story).
158 of 181 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2013
I'm by no means an expert on critiquing or reviewing tv as i'm more of a music man. I also don't like seeing premature reviews just for the sake of it, but I felt I simply had to strike while the iron was hot whilst i'm at my most enthusiastic about Game of Thrones. Or as original long-term fans would dub it, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Having watched all three seasons multiple times and devoured the five volumes of books, I can honestly admit that this medieval period masterpiece has got me well and truly hooked. Literally not a day goes by when I don't think or talk about a certain set-piece, line of dialogue or a flippant action of one of it's many masterfully written characters, my work colleagues are no different.
Over these three seasons you'll be taken on an exciting yet convoluted journey, while your emotions will be toyed with left right and center. This show is an adaptation of the George RR Martin book series, 'A Song Of Ice And Fire' and what a tremendous effort it does in staying faithful to the source material. *Mild Spoiler Alert - Everything you've become accustomed to over your whole lifetime of watching tv? Best pretend that didn't exist as this bastard keeps you guessing every step of the way. In my opinion 'Game of Thrones' is a real game changer in the way we judge characters, feel about characters and flat out what we've come to expect after a lifetime of watching tv. 'Rules'... this show just doesn't abide by them.
A fantastical undercurrent is prevalent in this fictional land and it's something to behold in the books, but HBO have very deftly removed some elements to make it more palatable to a tv audience who may not be too familiar with x-rated fantasy storytelling (your reviewer was one of them). I've also heard people complaining that the show is too slow at the beginning, but personally I found that to be nonsense as the very first episode holds an almighty cliffhanger. It will take you a while to suss out each character and their respective 'Houses', there's a lot of information to get through.
Another noteworthy topic to discuss is the actual EXPANSION of the original story. For example, the books' chapters are all done from Point Of View complete with an inner monologue, but what happens to the non-POV characters once they close the door behind them? Well the writers do a sterling job in showing you, like a superb conversation between the king and two of his bodyguards (Kingsguard) in Season 1 which kills two birds with the one stone, essentially expanding characters which don't get much 'page time' and filling you in on some juicy backstory.
Season one plays most like a drama out of the three. An honorable man leaves the sanctuary of his home and (half) his loving family to aid his long-term war ally (who also happens to be King) in the "Rat's Nest" capital, Kings Landing. Meanwhile across the narrow sea, Viserys Targaryen, his sister Daenerys and an army of Dothraki Horselords plan an assault on the kingdom of Westeros in an attempt to re-claim the Targaryen's ancestral chair which was usurped by the current King, Robert Baratheon. That's just the tip of the iceberg as there are several key storylines running parallel with one another. This Season is mostly designed to get you used to four of the major Houses and to give you an idea of each colorful characters' (initial) agenda. DO NOT mistake this for a bland season as it's anything but that ;)
Season two ramps up the action with five lords laying claim to the be the rightful king. By this stage things have gone a bit pear shaped regards the laws and politics of the coveted "Iron Throne", which in turn allows for more players to emerge. I found this to be a step up from the first Season as it had the perfect balance of great scenery, compelling drama and exemplary battle sequences. Admittedly they do stray from the books quite a bit this time around and with such a wealth of material to work off of, you wonder why this is the case. Although not all changes are for the better, I must commend the show runners for handling some transitions quite brilliantly. Two characters, Roose Bolton and Tywin Lannister, both take up identical roles in almost identical scenes in the book and show respectively. They work flawlessly in both mediums and it's a clear cut case of what works best on the page and on screen. Lest we forget Episode 9 - Blackwater. One of the greatest tv episodes i've ever seen.
Season three brings us firmly back into book territory (for the record 'A Storm of Swords' is an amazing read and is considered the best book). Here's where your metal will be tested. How will this occur? Hmmm. How can I put this? If you've enjoyed the show up until this point for whatever reason (pro Lannister, pro Stark, pro anything, it makes no matter), I think this is the Season that will make you or break you. Is it bad? Far from it, in hindsight I think it's the best. There's lots of new characters to explore and the already momentous freight-train of the main storyline (Starks vs Lannisters) that's been ploughing along goes into the stratosphere.... Episode 9 'The Rains of Castemere' overtakes 'Blackwater' for my favorite episode of ANY tv show of all time, so that's two from this show alone!
Last but not least, the extras. Oh the extras. This is why it's worth forking out for the official release. There is absolutely no stone left unturned here. A huge portion of the rich lore is presented over the three seasons and is an almost essential addition imo. There's an interactive guide to Westeros (the fictional land in which it's set). It gives you the history of every major House in the land, perfect for those (like me) who'll miss something first time round. Character profiles which are actually interesting to watch and enrich the overall experience greatly.
Game of Thrones is a show that'll leave you with more questions than answers. Its characters will have you baying for their blood one minute and eliciting endless sympathy the next. The violence, language and sex is very close to the edge, and is beyond doubt unsuitable for children. Be prepared for an unyielding, unapologetic masterpiece of a story. Be prepared for emotion, heartbreak and triumph, and one of the greatest ever stories.
Here are Season 3's extras, in case you were wondering...
Blu-Ray - In-Episode Guide - In-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations and relevant histories.
"The Rains of Castamere" Unveiled - Get an in-depth look at the creation of the most pivotal episode of Season 3 in this comprehensive exposé featuring cast and crew.
"The Roots of Westeros" - Explore the interconnected web of relationships, rivalries and conflicts between the noble houses of Westeros with this interactive guide.
"Histories & Lore" - Learn about the mythology of Westeros as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves.
DVD - "A Gathering Storm" Featurette - Look back at the stormy events of Season 2 in this 14-minute recap with cast and crew.
"The Politics of Marriage" Featurette - The concept of matrimony in Westeros is all about making power plays and political alliances. Cast and crew examine this ancient institution and its place in Game of Thrones.
"Inside the Wildlings" Featurette - Go beyond the Wall with this introduction to the wildlings to gain a better understanding of their backstory.
"New Characters of Season 3" Meet the new faces in Season 3: Olenna Tyrell, Missandei, Mance Rayder, Tormund Giantsbane, Orell, Jojen & Meera Reed, Blackfish & Edmure Tully, Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion.
I forgot to mention a slight niggle regards the functionality of the discs. As you know, a lot of DVD's/Blu-Rays come with a continuity feature which basically lets you take off from where you left it. Here it's not an option which can become quite annoying after a while. They DO however provide disc to disc sequential running. If you make a mistake by putting in the wrong disc or you run out of episodes and want to carry on to the next disc without going through the (many) unskipable menus, you're allowed eject the disc and replace it with your desired choice without being punished. Just something to take into consideration!
on 10 April 2014
I'm writing this off the back of having just watched S3-E3 last night, just after the fourth series has premiered on HBO, and just having had word of there being a fifth and sixth series in the works. As someone who picked up the original book in the series before there was ever a notion of a TV serialisation, I suppose I could consider myself a book snob, and obviously know and remember most of the delicious plot twists and surprising redshirts that exist in the story arc.
However, this HBO series (which I received as a birthday present) has been so effectively edited it puts the written version to shame. Martin's books (especially his latest effort) are largely an exercise in 'spot the editor', so effluent is the verbiage that clogs up the story progression. I honestly think, that judging by the last book written, he'd just ignored any editor's suggestions and simply self-published without any recourse to the audience, or good sense. So much so, that there is a danger that this story may never be finished in print.
Imagine that, if you will. I'd like to, because quite simply this serialisation is more direct and entertaining, where Martin simply has to listen to people who need to chop his whale-like Tolkienisms off at the head and get on with enthralling people.
Overall, buy this box set as an introduction and forget about the books. They show only what needs to be shown and are the editions that Martin could never accept for print.
I originally rented the dvd of Season one and viewed it on a mere 32' widescreen TV, not even flatscreen! At the time I found it interesting but not compelling. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling a bit blue, the world seemed dim. I decided to purchase the complete Rome on blu ray and I took a chance on this complete Game of Thrones.
I started to watch Season one on 100' projection screen and was completely taken in by the whole production. Suddenly scenes in woods were vivid depictions of other lands. Greens and browns and reds put me in the scene. Immaculate blu ray picture. If that was not enough the rear speakers often came alive, so completely immersing me in the narrative. Those dragons sound as fierce as they look.
And now I am analysing that narrative. Whereas before it may have been a good adventure yarn, now it resonates with power today and how it is harnessed and secured.
The only black spot is that I payed £50 for this box-set and see it for £42 (until 2nd Nov) less than a week later (without Amazon disc). Whilst the box-set appears to be three blu ray cases in a box, each case has two 'pages' allowing for each of the five discs to have its own page. I particularly like the foldout leaflet which identifies families and names of characters. And as for Rome: I know that will be the treat of all treats. On projection.
on 3 August 2014
Gritty, bloody, shocking, outrageous cruelty, merciless torture. The sheer wretchedly miserable lives of the folk of Westeros that forces you to concentrate on the plots in sympathy. An experience similar to, but that compares more favourably to filling in a tax return for HMRC., but equally unavoidable, unfortunately. A must-see for the telly watcher who loves fantasy over horror. This particular feature combines both genre that should satisfy even the most fastidious of viewers. Absolutely unmissable. I can watch these episodes over and over again. Few series command this much attention from me. Peter Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy is better, with his latest 'The Hobbit' trilogy coming up on the rails. The arrival of this particular boxed set of 'Game of Thrones' will sit next to them on my bookshelf collection of precious, fantasy Blu-rays. I've a feeling that television is overtaking the Cinema in quality drama these days.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2014
If you have not read the books, it will take you most of season 1 to understand what is going on. My recommendation would be to watch season 1, then some of the useful in-episode guides to the kingdoms and characters and then restart. The glorious colours, the pin-sharp blu-ray edition and the amazing soundtrack will make this a pleasure rather than a hardship and the second and third seasons become all the more immersing when you have a handle on "who is who" and "where is where". This edition really has some jaw-dropping moments that are brought out by the blu-ray technology. The wildfire explosion in "the Battle of Blackwater Bay" was visually amazing and shook my speakers to the core, while the moment when the White Walkers finally appear in the snow was dramatic in the extreme (those tendrils of frozen vapour…..). The scenery and colours, particularly of the scenes in King's Landing, are breathtaking and the costume details (apart from the somewhat wacky armour and overall lack of headgear (what, no helmets?) stunning. Three editions in a box saves shelf space, the only disadvantage being that I now have to wait for season 6 to buy a matching edition. Oh that life was always that easy….