Season seven of fantasy drama show Game Of Thrones. And if you don't know what the show is about by now, where have you been all these years?
This is not a jumping on point. New viewers should start with season one.
This season runs for just seven episodes. It's spread across four discs.
Episodes vary in running time. One two three and five go to roughly fifty five mins. Four is forty six mins. Six is sixty five mins. And the season finale goes to seventy five.
As ever, strong language violence and adult moments make it well worthy of the fifteen certificate.
Following on from where last season left off, the battle for power and control of Westeros is coming to a head. Cersei is Queen. And wants to keep the Iron Throne. Daenerys is finally back in Westeros. And wants the Iron Throne.
King in the North Jon Snow just wants what is best for his people, and to deal with the white walker threat.
Yara and Euron vie for control of the Iron Islands.
And beyond the wall, the army of the dead are getting ever further south. Their King wants to rule. By killing everyone....
This season has a lot to get through and fit in. And it does manage to do that very well indeed. Even at the length mentioned, the episodes really do fly by. There are new locations. A new character or two. And just when you think you've seen the most amazing spectacle the show can offer, it goes even further. Some of the battle scenes and set pieces in here are even more amazing and eye catching than anything you have seen before.
There's some great character development for a few of the supporting players. Some great scenes as people who have never been in a scene together before, or not for a long time, get to do just that.
And good moral food for thought as well. The season finale spends a long time on debating issues at the start, but it's absolutely riveting character drama nonetheless.
It all ends with a superb cliffhanger, and set up for what should be even greater spectacle to come.
You have to suspend your disbelief a little at points this year, as some characters do manage to travel around the continent far quicker than you might expect possible. But that's the only ever so tiny complaint about a brilliant season. Obviously if you'd rather watch this than die of old age waiting for the next of the books, you might get spoilers out of it. But who knows?
The dvds are in the same kind of packaging as season six.
They have the following language and subtitle options:
Eleven different commentaries, spread across the season, with various members of cast and crew.
On disc seven: Inside the art department. A two part feature, running twenty three and twenty one mins respectively, looking at the work of the art department and how they created the set pieces from across the season. Fascinating and interesting viewing.
Creating the invasion of Westeros: it implies it's about the early set pieces, but is actually a twenty eight min overview of the whole season. Watch this after episode seven, and it is an interesting and watchable feature.
Some editions of this dvd come with a bonus disc, in a box of it's own attached to the main one. It's called Conquest and Rebellion, An animated history of the seven kingdoms. This uses animation [rather basic with nothing much moving, but nicely stylistic anyhow] and narration from various cast members in character, to tell the back story of the setting of the show. From the arrival of House Targaryen in Westeros to the end of Robert's Rebellion. It's a very interesting watch that really works. Well worth a look.
These are the two main ingredients of Season Seven, and what makes it rather outstanding. You will see what a combination of fierce Dothraki cavalry and Dragons can do to well-organised and well-equipped Lannister army and how the same Dragons take on the White Walkers and their King who prove to be a much more difficult proposition.
The main characters are their usual selves. Power hungry, traitorous and murderous Cersei will stop at nothing, not even at turning against her beloved brother, in her fight to the bitter end in order to keep the throne. Handsome Jaime desperately seeks to do the “honourable thing” and is once again defeated. Jon Snow pleads with Daenerys to enlist her help against the Army of the Dead which continues its unstoppable march towards the south. Tyrion desperately plays the go-between and puts himself at risk in his attempts to unite all parties against the inexorable coming threat. Meanwhile, in Winterfell, the two Stark sisters are left to cope and deal with the insidious and perfidious Littlefinger.
Five stars, largely thanks to the Dragons and the White Walkers who bring some terrific (and terrifying) action into the Season.
The danger has never been more real. A vast army of Undead is poised to invade the South, only held back by that centuries old great wall. King of the North Jon Snow leaves Winterfell to warn warring Queens Daenerys and Cersei all are doomed unless they and other kingdoms unite to repel the common enemy. They will have none of it, declaring stories of Undead fabrications, tales told by nannies to scare naughty children. Jon Snow would seem on mission impossible, until events overtake....
This penultimate season contains just seven episodes, all thrilling (and with commentaries). As ever, special effects are spectacular - especially those dragons (of course) and the battle sequences. In less gifted hands they could swamp the show. Instead skilful writing and powerful performances ensure this a saga very much about people - family ties, loyalties, unexpected alliances, treachery, revenge.
Admittedly, even if full attention is paid, certain aspects may confuse. Also admittedly, credibility is occasionally stretched to the limit (as, at one point, Jaimes' escape from certain death).
Overall, Season 7 remains spellbinding - from that teasing "what the hell?" start to the sensational climax.
(That bonus about the Art Department is well worth a look, it including details of how Ireland in summer becomes a vast winter landscape.)
Much more can be said. Others have said it. Suffice it to confirm GAME OF THRONES remains awesome, totally involving and one of television's very best.