The Game of Thrones Season 5 home boxset is out, in both DVD and Blu-ray format. We’ve got the info you need to decide if you want to take the plunge and buy it for yourself.
As per usual, HBO’s packaging is excellent. The casing is sturdy and elaborate, and comes with three parts: the fold-out disc set, each panel of which is emblazoned with the face of a different character, a fancy plastic sleeve, and a little golden box with one side missing to hold the whole thing.
The most interesting feature of the packaging is probably the color. It’s gold, like the sun. I’m not sure what, if anything, that’s supposed to denote. There wasn’t really a gold theme throughout Season 5, but it makes for a striking boxset.
Obviously, the Blu-rays are a little more expensive than the DVDs, but as we’ll see below, they also come with extra goodies. Per the HBO Shop:
- Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season DVD boxset: $47.99
- Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray boxset: $63.99
The extras: DVD
Here’s where it gets interesting. Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season has some quality extras, although the Blu-ray version has more than the DVD version. Let’s look at the special features the two boxsets have in common.
A Day in the Life. This is the latest installment of a long-running special feature that has appeared on many of the home boxsets. It takes you behind the scenes of the production, interviewing directors like Michael Slovis as he directs a scene with Daenerys in the Great Pyramid of Meereen, makeup artists who try and make sure the characters’ looks are consistent episode to episode, crew members who built the Hardhome set, and many, many more. It gives you a good look at the hundreds of people responsible for making Game of Thrones, a fact that can get overlooked while watching it.
The Real History Behind Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin and selected historians discuss the real-life inspirations behind the events on the show, from the way several bloody events in Scottish history combined to create the Red Wedding, to how Margaery’s plight towards the end of the year resembles Anne Boleyn’s, to the inspiration behind Cersei’s walk of shame, and more. It’s a thorough video that reminds viewers just how much of the show is modeled after real events, and suggests how the whole thing might end if that pattern continues. According to one historian, an expert on the War of the Roses, it may end with Daenerys, standing in for Henry Tudor, kicking the Lannisters out of office, marrying a Stark to secure her claim to the throne (but which one) and establishing a new dynasty.
Anatomy of an Episode: Mother’s Mercy. This traces the development of the Season 5 finale from the writing stages through to the editing. David Benioff and Dan Weiss are full of praise for their actors, particularly Stephen Dillane, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, and Lena Headey. We also get looks into, for example, the special effects behind all the face-changing in Arya’s final scene and Jon’s bleeding wound at the episode’s end. Overall, the focus on the emotional and logical underpinnings of the events in this episode make it a standout.
New Characters/New Locations. This is a brief feature that focuses on the new characters from Dorne, the High Sparrow, and the city of Braavos. Most of the attention is given to Dorne. The producers talk about a lot about getting it to feel right, and how beautiful the Alcázar of Seville is. Also, they reiterate that Oberyn has eight daughters, although who knows if we’ll ever get to see any of the others?