Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season Blu-Ray Review

Article first published as Blu-ray Review: ‘Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season’ on Blogcritics.

814wIG4fnyL._SL1500_ (257x320)The Game of Thrones HBO series doesn’t exactly follow the George R.R. Martin series of books in lock step. It’s actually the most recent season where timelines start to get a little murky.  So, with a new trailer released for the upcoming fourth season, there are plenty of questions to ask. Fans of the series can study up a bit better though, with the release of The Complete Third Season on blu-ray.  The third season, as with the third book contains the infamous “Red Wedding” scene in the season’s ninth and penultimate “Rains of Castamere” episode.

There are of course plenty of other interesting story arcs in the Game of Thrones’ third season.  The Stark family is nearly scattered to the wind at this point.  As a matter of fact there is no point in the whole season when there are more than two of them in the same place.  Jon Snow spends almost the entire ten episodes on the far side of the wall. Among all of Ned’s children, it is really his story that holds the most promise for the coming winter.  Of course the “Mother of Dragons” continues to prepare for her return to the Iron Throne, becoming more wise and formidable each day.

As with nearly all of HBO’s blu-ray offerings, the level of presentation in Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season Blu-Ray with HBO Select is impeccable. From the well-executed menus to the high quality transfer, there is little to complain about.  There are also plenty of extras for the more serious fan to dig into, which share the same high production values.  Besides picking at the directorial choices and the choice of extra content, it’s hard not to enjoy the entire blu-ray, DVD and digitally downloadable package.

While a large number of extras are spread across the five blu-ray discs, the final disc holds the more substantial features.  This is actually a minor complaint I personally had with the set.  While it certainly makes analyzing the extended and deleted scenes easier, by having them all on the final disc.  It would have been nice to have the option of being able to watch the episodes they came from, in full, as a director’s cut.  It’s really kind of small issue, and that is really the only thing I would change if I were able. Each episode does include the In-Episode Guide to provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories.

Also on the final disc of The Complete Third Season’s blu-ray set is “Inside the Wildlings.”  While plenty of goings on south of the wall are explored pretty thoroughly in the series, the people and history of those to the north are largely a mystery.  The White Walkers and even the Wildlings themselves are more often used as a device in the adaptation.  With “Inside the Wildings,” Martin along with the cast and crew help shed a bit of light on the savage people the Night’s Watch is protecting the rest of Westeros from.  “The Rains of Castamere Unveiled” offers a behind the scenes look at how the series finally portrayed “The Red Wedding.”

HBO has really gotten their in-house releases down to a science.  The video in Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season Blu-Ray with HBO Select is offered in a crisp 1080p resolution and 1.78:1 aspect ratio on the blu-ray discs and include DVD and downloadable options along with the package. Despite the content often consisting of darkly lit scenes, the contrast levels hold up very well.  The primary audio on blu-ray is English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, with DTS options for French, Spanish and Polish. The DVDs are also a high quality, but lower resolution format and the digital option can be redeemed on Amazon, UltraViolet, iTunes, or other instant streaming options through HBO Select.

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