Blu-ray Review "Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season"

gameofthronesActors: Emilia Clark, Michelle Fairley, Maisie Williams, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Developed by: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss
Number of discs: 7
Rated: Unrated
Studio: HBO Studios
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Run Time: 561 minutes

Season: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

How are you going to top such a powerful season as the first of “Game of Thrones”. The show is so intense and gripping that you can literally watch the whole season in one sitting. The second season is spot on with the first and really delivers an equally impressive season. This season follows the path of George R.R. Martin’s “A Clash of Kings”, the second book of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. I personally haven’t read the book but from what I am told the book ranks better…but isn’t that the way it also is with literary purists. The second season of Game of Thrones was nominated for eleven 2012 Emmy awards (including Outstanding Drama Series) and ended up winning six. I feel that this season is a grand slam and guaranteed to entertain and satisfy. Besides the season itself there is also tons of great never-before-seen bonus materials included.

The epic drama set in the fantasy continent of Westeros picks up in the midst of a rapidly approaching winter season – that of the white raven. The episodes in the second season includes “The North Remembers”, “The Night Lands”, “What Is Dead May Never Die”, “Garden of Bones”, “The Ghost of Harrenhal”, “The Old Gods and the New”, “A Man Without Honor”, “The Prince of Winterfell”, “Blackwater”, “Valar Morghulis”. “The Ghost of Harrenhal” is easily the weakest of the season, though still gripping. “Blackwater” is easily the fan favorite of the season as well. This was the episode that really hooked my wife into this show. The second season’s cast is said to be the largest on television. Besides the returning cast from the first season, there are 29 new characters that are introduced with the episodes.

HBO has delivered a fantastic job with this Blu-ray, in fact this is already on the list for one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2013 to date. The 1080p transfer is flawless, as is the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. You literally have to duck for the sword and dodge the rolling heads. What I like most about the release is that it cares about the quality of the show over cost.  It gives each of the ten episodes a lot of room to breathe over the five 50GB Blu-rays .  Most companies would cram the mere ten episodes onto two discs.  This release also includes a DVD series of the show, those on the other hand are squished onto two double sided DVDs.  But this show really needs to be experiences on high def Blu-ray.  There is also a digital copy for iTunes and Ultraviolet available as an added option on the go.

The special features are just as great as the season and sure to satisfy all die-hard fans.  If you recall from “Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season” there were an amazing sevn commentary tracks…well second takes it up another level with twelve.  That’s right there are twelves audio commentaries tracks spread out over the five discs featuring cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington and more. Next up each episode has an “In-Episode Guide” which gives an interface that gives fans a chance to learn more about the characters, lands and histories of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. There are also seven character profiles with bios, complete with cast and crew interviews including Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon and Theron Greyjoy.  If you are fans of “easter eggs”, this release has “hidden dragon eggs” to uncover even more content spread throughout the five discs.

The rest of the extras of located on the fifth disc starting with “Histories & Lore”. They are short animated videos told from each individual character perspective. “War of the Five Kings” is only for the die-hard fans and is a very details interactive guide to track the claims, strategies and key players involved in the battle for the Iron Throne. “Creating the Battle of Blackwater Bay” is a behind-the-scenes looks with developing and executing the ninth episode’s major battle. “Game of Thrones Inner Circle” is a roundtable sit down with cast/crew Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Fairley and Liam Cunningham and executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. “The Religions of Westeros” is a chat with Martin, Benioff and Weiss on the religious values that underlie on the series.


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