HBO’s Game of Thrones doesn’t exactly follow the George R.R. Martin series of books in lock step. But, it’s actually in 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 prepare for the new season with the newly released Game of Thrones Season Three Blu-ray set. The third season shocked viewers with the infamous “Red Wedding” scene (as it does in Martin’s third novel) in the ninth and penultimate “Rains of Castamere” episode.
There are plenty of other interesting story arcs in the Game of Thrones’ third season. The Stark family is nearly scattered to the winds 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 season 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 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.
Although the extras are spread across all five discs, the final disc holds the more substantial features, including the deleted scenes. It’s a minor complaint, although having the deleted scenes packed with the episodes from which they came would have made it easier to appreciate them. Even more so had they been reinserted into the episodes as a sort of “director’s cut.” It’s really kind of small issue, and that is really the only thing I would change if I were able.
One very helpful extra is the “In-Episode Guide,” which provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories. “Inside the Wildlings” delves deeper into the people and history of those to the north, whose lives are largely a mystery to viewers. 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 from whom the Night’s Watch is protecting the rest of Westeros. “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 abundance of darkly lit scenes throughout the season, 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.