Editorial Game of Thrones Season 5

Review: Game of Thrones Season 5 DVD/Blu-ray boxset

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Game of Thrones Blu-Ray set

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.

The packaging

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.

The price

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?

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    • It comes from the book, The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones.

  • Nice, I’m sure it’s in the works, but I’d like a review or breakdown of all the commentaries. Especially for tidbits like your example “why the show killed Barristan Selmy”.

  • Why no special edition set (dragons, statues, letter openers, keychains)? Why? Why? Why?

  • Personally, I think the season improves on re-watch, in part because it’s so heavily serialized. I think time may be kinder to it than some of its critics were, and any reevaluation will start with the episodes themselves.

    Agree. Season 5 is much much better when it is watched in its entirety on a 2nd or 3rd re-watch. I still don’t think it will ever be considered one of the better Seasons of the entire series, but, I do think Season 5 has definitely been under-appreciated.

    But if you’re looking for deep insight into the show… Dave Hill discusses…what plot point George R.R. Martin stepped in and corrected.

    This is a very interesting takeaway because despite some of the complaints by book purists about the direction of the show, this is an indication that the show-runners still heed Martin’s advice in such a way that won’t allow GoT to completely run off the rails far away from Martin’s vision of the overall story.

  • The only daughter of Oberyn who interests me is Sarella/Alleras. The theme of a woman disguising herself as a man in order to gain access to a way of life normally closed to women in the Middle Ages is a classic, time-honored trope – not just of feminist revisionist modern-day fantasy lit. There are a gazillion traditional British ballads about a female sailor/soldier/drummer, proving that there have always been women who weren’t content with their restricted lot in life and did something about it!

    I just hope that, of all the otherwise-boring Sand Snakes, this intriguing character is not tossed out, along with the rest of the mysterious goings-on at the Citadel. The fact that they bother to mention Oberyn having eight daughters gives me some crumbs of hope.

  • There is a pattern to Game of Thrones, as in each season leads up to an event or two that defines it. It is puzzling why, as spectacular as Hardhome was, it didn’t elevate season 5 in most people’s minds to the level of previous seasons.
    Season 1: the execution of Ned and the birth of the dragons.
    Season 2: Blackwater.
    Season 3: the Red Wedding.
    Season 4: Tyrions trial, the Mountain vs. the Viper, and the Battle for the Wall.
    Season 5: Hardhome, the Nights Watch betrayal, and the Walk of Shame.

    The top 3 events for me are:
    1. The Red Wedding
    2. Hardhome
    3. Neds Execution

    I’m curious as to how other people would rank the seasonal events, and also what the predictions for season 6 are?

    The Battle of the Bastards?
    Deanerys Attacks Winterfell?
    The Others Destroy the Wall?
    Arya Assasinates Cersei? (Using Jaimes lost hand)?

    • Dany attack Winterfell? In season 6? Not likely my friend. At best she will be leaving Essos at end of season but more likely is she will begin to head to the free cities.

      I think I’d put Hardhome at the top because it was the one major event I didnt know was going to happen plus it is one of the only major events that occur in Westeros and doesnt suck for the Starks

    • Of these four choices, the only one likely to happen in S6 is the battle, and I highly doubt that Cersei’s death will be up to Arya, ever.

      Storywise, Jon’s rez is going to be tough to beat as this season’s high point. The battle will be the biggest spectacle, but that’s not my criterion for peak moments. My favorite sequence in the series so far is Tyrion’s trial.

      • Tyrions first Trial by combat (when he gains Bronn as a guardian of sorts) was one of my favorite sequences, and upon reevaluation could possibly be one of the main season 1 events, along with Neds execution and Deanerys dragon birth.