Featured Game of Thrones Merchandise Season 5

We listen and report on all 12 commentaries from the Season 5 boxset

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

GoT dvd cover seaosn 5

When it comes to home video releases of TV shows, audio commentaries are often the most valuable special features. Pre-edited video features can be interesting, but audio commentaries give actors, writers, directors, and more a chance to let their hair down and give their unscripted feelings on what went right, wrong, and everything in between with the show.

Sometimes, the unscripted nature of the commentaries can make them boring, but at other times speakers drop unexpected treasures. We listened to all 12 of the commentaries on the Season 5 boxset (all of which are available on both the DVD and Blu-ray versions). Some are definitely more interesting than others, and we’re here to bring you all the juicy bits. Let’s get started.

“The Wars to Come” commentary, featuring director Michael Slovis, DP David Franco, and actor Cirian Hinds (Mance Rayder)

This isn’t a scintillating commentary. Hinds is a man of few words, but everyone involved seems to enjoy the show, and there’s still some info to be mined.

  • This is the first time Hinds has watched this episode, despite the commentary being recorded over a month after it aired. He was filming a project in a remote location and couldn’t get to the appropriate technology.
  • Slovis seems to be under the impression that viewers didn’t know that the young girl in the opening flashback (Nell Williams) was playing a young Cersei. He should have given more credit to the casting department—that was obviously Cersei.

17 9 Young Cersei

  • Like many fans, Slovis expected an older, more craggy actress to play Maggy the Frog. Apparently creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss “fell in love” with actress Jodhi May’s performance, and there you go.

Maggy the Frog

  • Slovis loves the mutual respect that Jon and Mance have for other during their final discussion. He also names Mance’s line about wanting the freedom to make his own mistakes as one of his favorites.
  • They shot Mance’s burning with trick photography. The flames are actually a lot further away than they look.

“The House of Black and White” commentary, featuring actors Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne), and Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne)

This is another one where there’s not a whole lot going on. Actors’ commentaries tend to be like that. Christie, Portman, and Coster-Waldau all have a good time, and it’s fun to hear them joke around, but there’s not a lot of information here.

  • Early discussion topics include whether people look up when they sail under the Titan of Braavos’ kilt thing.
Titan of Braavos

How could you resist?

  • Christie points out that Brienne kneels in front of Sansa in a mimic of hot she knelt before Catelyn in Season 2.
  • The actors are full of praise for Elizabeth Cadwallader, who plays Llollys Stokeworth, as they should be, because she was great. Also, Christie has a huge laugh that really fills a room.

“High Sparrow” commentary, featuring production designer Deborah Riley, costume designer Michele Clapton, and DP Annette Haellmigk

This was a really good commentary. All three of the participants seem very invested in their work and keep up a constant stream of chatter throughout.

  • The interior of the House of Black and White was purposefully designed for viewers to not be sure if it was day or night inside. Mission accomplished.
  • As WiC writer Ani has pointed out, Margaery and Cersei’s costumes in this episode are very carefully designed. Margaery’s gowns are being cut a little more like Cersei’s, since she’s trying to announce that she’s the queen now. Clapton adds that her gowns show less skin, because as a married woman, she no longer has anyone she needs to impress.
  • Also notice how much Sansa’s costumes now look like Littlefinger’s. She’s convinced herself that she’s a Littlefinger in training, and is trying to look the part.

Sophie%20Turner%20as%20Sansa%20Stark%20and%20Aidan%20Gillen%20as%20Littlefinger%20_%20photo%20Helen%20Sloan_HBO

  • Clapton on Sansa’s relationship with Littlefinger: “You just want to yell at her, don’t you? ‘Don’t trust him!'”
  • All three participants point out how believable the extras looks in the Winterfell courtyard. Sometimes, extras just look like they’re wandering to and fro for no particular reason, but these ones actually looked like they had jobs to do.
  • Clapton on the scene where the High Sparrow is in the brothel with seven naked women: “Not much costuming involved here, really.”
  • This is probably Clapton’s final commentary, since she’s leaving the show. It’s a huge shame. Her work has been consistently excellent.

“Sons of the Harpy” commentary, featuring writer Dave Hill, director Mark Mylod, and actors Natalie Dormer (Margaery) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen)

This is the best commentary yet. Having the guy who wrote the episode helps. He can provide information on high-level decisions, and Hill drops some interesting nuggets.

  • As of Season 4, the show wasn’t going to go to Dorne, but Bryan Cogman came up with the idea to send Jaime there, figuring that we would be more interested if there was a main character involved. So we have Cogman to blame for that subplot, basically.
  • The writers were aware that, in the books, it’s the High Sparrow’s idea to arm the Faith Militant, not Cersei’s. However, they wanted to make Cersei more complicit in her own downfall, so they had her come up with it.
  • Natalie Dormer, who seems like a class act, talks about the age disparity between herself and Dean Charles-Chapman, pointing out that romantic pairings where the woman is much younger than the man are very common in movies (she holds up Blade Runner, where the 40-year-old Harrison Ford was paired with the 23-year-old Sean Young, as a random example). Also, she and Mylod talked sensitively about these issues on set—scenes between her and Tommen weren’t thrown in for titillation.
  • Dave Hill admits that the point of writing that sweet scene between Stannis and Shireen was so we would feel it more strongly when Stannis killed Shireen later in the season.
Stannis and Shireen hug

Damn you, Hill!

  • In the scene where Jaime and Bronn fight a group of Dornish soldiers, the writers originally wrote Jaime as a much better fighter. But then George R.R. Martin, who reads the outline each season, said that he should have more of a disability, having lost a hand and all.
  • Everything set in Meereen in this episode was originally scheduled for Episode 5 or 6. Bryan Cogman wrote all of it.
  • The writers discussed hewing closer to the books when it came to Barristan Selmy, but decided to kill him to raise the stakes for Dany.
  • Hill addressed the controversy regarding how the Unsullied could lose to the Sons of the Harpy. He says that if the Unsullied had room to form ranks, the rebels would have stood no chance, so the choice to set the fight in a narrow corridor was very deliberate.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

29 Comments

  • I always like the commentaries for past seasons but I still have no real interest in watching season 5 again.

  • Nothing about that earlier “confirmation” that Martin had always planned for Stannis to burn Shireen?

  • One of the most intriguing lines to me was…

    Cogman refers to Season 5 as “the middle” of the show, and says that Season 5 starts “Part 2” of the show, and says they have to reset the scene.

    Still a lot of story left, two books the size of book 3, how will they fit it all in just season 7 and 8… i’m probably one of the few wanting 10 seasons, especially if there is enough compelling story lines.

    Two of the most disappointing…

    Podeswa wanted to have a “big Brienne arc,” but it wasn’t to be.

    I would have liked to seen her have a bit more to do.
    and

    The writers discussed hewing closer to the books when it came to Barristan Selmy, but decided to kill him to raise the stakes for Dany.

    I don’t think this worked, more Westeros ppl with Dany the better, it was a mistake to kill him off until a more story centered arc.

    On the Dorne issue…

    As of Season 4, the show wasn’t going to go to Dorne, but Bryan Cogman came up with the idea to send Jaime there, figuring that we would be more interested if there was a main character involved. So we have Cogman to blame for that subplot, basically.

    What could have helped was just to suck up the costs and do some pickup shots to help the infamous fight scene. A well done scene that gets the fans excited, would have gone a long way to helping Dorne. For them not to consider Dorne until after season 4 was also a mistake, which is why it feels a little thrown in and rushed. The history that Dorne’s characters played in the past and the tension it brings in the future should have been planned by D&B from the beginning.

    That shot of Sansa looking up at the Broken Tower is meant to be a callback to when Catelyn did it in Season 1

    Pretty cool, did not notice that… can’t wait for more Winterfell stuff.

  • WE NEED MORE SPOILERS! I thought for sure there would be people with spoiler pics waiting until around this time to release them.

  • The idea that the Unsullied lacked room to form ranks in”Sons of the Harpy” is nonsense. There WAS room to form ranks in the alleyway which would have been decisive. The Sons beat the Unsullied by moving past the point of the Unsullied’s spears which was the only way the Sons could use their knives effectively. In ranks the Unsullied could cover each other: the back rank could use their spears against any Sons who got past the spearpoints of the front rank(s).
    In SotH, the Unsullied fought aas a mob, not as trained professional soldiers. In doing so they threw away their advantages of truing and teamwork and threw away their lives. The blame lies on their unit commander. In this case Grey Worm really messed up and it cost him all his men and Barristan. That should cause him more pain than his actual wounds.

  • Charlotte Hope, who played Myranda, was originally hired as “a day player,” but was so good that Benioff and Weiss wrote a character for her.

    Riiggghht….that and her willingness to show her beautiful body. I can almost see D&D looking at each other saying “i’m sure we could come with a few extra lines and create a character for her can’t we?!”

  • Natalie Dormer, who seems like a class act, talks about the age disparity between herself and Dean Charles-Chapman, pointing out that romantic pairings where the woman is much younger than the man are very common in movies (she holds up Blade Runner, where the 40-year-old Harrison Ford was paired with the 23-year-old Sean Young, as a random example).

    Natalie doesn’t seem to realize there’s a difference between two adults in a relationship and an adult sexually abusing an adolescent, which, by the way, was portrayed in a cheeky and light-hearted fashion.

      • You don’t think taking sexual advantage of a kid’s naivete and vulnerability is abuse? Natalie herself said it was child abuse.

        Why is it whenever a girl is seduced by an older man, it’s considered terrible, but when a boy is seduced by an older woman, he’s considered a lucky guy? /:|

        • I never said I considered him “lucky”. Hell, that lad is doomed.

          It’s just that she means no harm to him; on the contrary – the marriage finally sees her ambitions and aspirations to become DA QUEEN come true. The only manipulation she tries to pull is to get him to rid her (as well as the rest of the population of KL) of Cersei, who is arguably a threat to him, what with going about with her schemes and outragously fine cheekbones, so that move is also to his benefit, to an extent.

          And besides, terms like “child abuse” weren’t overly popular in medieval times. As far as Westeros is concerned, Tommen is an adult and no less. And to be frank, his naivete is mostly due to his persona, not to his age.

          So I really don’t get what the fuss is all about. I would have said the same if genders were reversed. So yes, put the SJW in you to rest for now. We can call it back on when we need it.

    • It’s not the same, it’s a consensual marriage. I don’t think they’ve given his age in the show, but in the books 16 is considered adulthood by Westeros standards. Even if Tommen is a year or two younger, he’s not a little child and he’s clearly excited to be sexually active. Margaery is supposed to be younger in the show then Natalie Dormer. I wouldn’t be surprised if her ShowAge is around 19 or 20. So calm the hell down.

        • That text is so biased and anti book-to-show-changes that it immediately dismisses any impact it might have had on me at all. It’s mostly wiggling about to wangle the situation so that the author can say: “D&D should stick to source material. How dare they not feed our sense of entitlement to get a literate adaptation, how dare they!”

          That aside, nothing the author says regarding the problem at hand hasn’t already crossed my mind. It’s just that my take on the scene, and the dynamics between Tommen, Margaery and Cersei as a whole, deviates greatly. I like a more nuanced sort of view, where issues aren’t merely black and white, and words like shades, degrees come into use. Child abuse is a term, but not all situations are equally subject to it, as it is just too broad. You just can’t cram it all in there at say: “There, that’s that, I’m done.” That’s lazy and inaccurate.

          Anyhow, I regret to say I don’t have the time to get into details and explain why I disagre with most of what the text you’ve linked to claims, but then again, at least I won’t throw someone else’s work voicing my opinion in your face instead of my own.

          • When did it become wrong to use sources to support your arguments? I only discovered this piece a few weeks ago, and since it happens to line up with much of what I feel, I’m going to use it.

          • No, I wasn’t critisizing. Sorry if it sounded that way. I just meant I don’t have the time to search for pages of words someone else took their time and care to put together and articulate better than I myself am capable, to support my thesis. I only said that because towards the end of what I wrote I just felt like I was making floating statements that didn’t really lean on anything. As I said, that argument is not something I care to get into. I was just outlining some thoughts. Thats all.

        • I really don’t like theculturalvacuum or gotgifsandmusings take on anything frankly. They usually assume the worst about the show and don’t seem to understand how making television actually works.

          • I see what you’re talking about, it can be condescending sometimes, but I think it at least raises some valid questions the showrunners should address.

  • Hill addressed the controversy regarding how the Unsullied could lose to the Sons of the Harpy. He says that if the Unsullied had room to form ranks, the rebels would have stood no chance, so the choice to set the fight in a narrow corridor was very deliberate.

    Cough, Cough*

  • And this:

    ”Although it has yet to feature in A Song Of Ice And Fire, George R.R. Martin has confirmed that it was always his intention for Stannis and Melisandre to sacrifice Shireen to the God of Light.” Only George.