If you’ve somehow managed to stay spoiler-free on the third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones but aren’t caught up on the episodes, it’s time to stop pressing your luck. Season three is now available on Blu-ray and it’s definitely worth picking up, even if you’re just a casual fan. Season four premieres on April 6th at 9/8c, so now’s a great time to refresh your memory on all of the events leading up to that incendiary penultimate episode. It’s more than just a collection of episodes, however, as there are plenty of special features to be found, including episode commentaries that share some behind-the-scenes anecdotes, lots of in-depth information pulled from the world of Westeros and the mind of George R.R. Martin, and an extensive featurette dedicated to the season’s most provocative hour, “The Rains of Castamere.” Hit the jump for my review.
One great thing about owning these episodes on Blu-ray is the ability to take your time watching them, all the better to appreciate the amazing production quality that often gets overlooked the first time through. Some of the episode commentaries will call attention to the level of detail present on screen in each and every scene. This fact alone makes repeat viewing of the season three episodes all the more worthwhile.
While the episodes are spread across all five Blu-ray discs*, each one of them has plenty of extra content to ensure multiple hours of entertainment per disc. (*There’s also the added bonus of episodes on DVD and digital download.) The most entertaining might be the extended look at “The Rains of Castamere”, which not only features an extensive behind-the-scenes documentary of the episode’s production, but also multiple mini-featurettes within the video that explore more lore from the world of Westeros. There’s even an option to view three versions of the final sequence.
Again, the episodes alone are worth the price, but the included special features are a nice bonus bang for your buck. (I didn’t notice any of the expected “dragon eggs” in this round, but perhaps I simply didn’t dig far enough.)
Episode Commentaries – These audio tracks from various cast and crew members – including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin and Lena Headey – provide extra color to the already vibrant world of Game of Thrones. There are lots of entertaining anecdotes to be found and plenty of behind-the-scenes drama for fans who simply can’t get enough of the show.
*These special features should be watched before starting the season if it’s your first time through or you just want to refresh your memory.
A Gathering Storm (~14 minutes) – A recap of season two of Game of Thrones.
New Characters (~10 minutes) – A look at the new characters gracing the screen in season three.
Rains of Castamere (~100 minutes) – Go behind the scenes of the season’s most talked-about episode, featuring commentary from cast and crew; plenty of in-featurette spotlights highlighting certain effects, characters or information from the book provided by author George R.R. Martin; and three different versions of the wedding scene, and reactions from cast and crew to reading the moment in the books.
Roots of Westeros (~30 minutes) – A history of the realm’s kingdoms and families by way of animated sequences with character narrations. Jon Snow introduces the North, Tywin Lannister narrates over the Westerlands, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully guides us through the Riverlands, Brienne of Tarth tells of the Stormlands, plus the Vale, the Reach, the Wall and Beyond, and Across the Narrow Sea. Each category is further broken down into noble houses and famous locations.
Histories & Lore (~60 minutes) – Mythology and historical battles narrated by various characters. Fun for fans of the show and the books alike.
Inside the Wildlings (~10 minutes) – A look into the culture of the Wildlings. Half production documentary, half lore from the literature.
The Politics of Marriage (~10 minutes) – A deeper exploration of the political and emotional relationships across Westeros.
Deleted/Extended Scenes (5)