I will be the first to admit that I was about as late to the dance as it was possible to be when it came to Game Of Thrones. Before I heard of the TV series I had never heard of the books, A Song of Ice and Fire, and I didn’t discover the TV show until late summer 2011, once its original run had concluded.
That said I soon made up for it, watching the TV and series reading the first book within a month (and I’m not the world’s fastest reader), so I got my hands on the Blu-Ray box set of the series as soon as I could and devoured that within the week as well.
As a series, even on the third watch, Game of Thrones is an astounding achievement. Looking as lush and lavish as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and featuring superior special effects even than that, these 10 episodes contain such depth that even on the third watch I was finding new things, and I’m sure there is even more in there that I’ve yet to find.
Along with the big budget movie-like quality of design and production the cast also stands up alongside this. The obvious major players like Sean Bean (perfectly cast as Lord Eddard Stark), Charles Dance and Lena Heady share the screen with a large and varied mix of performers.
Standouts for me are all of the young actors, but especially Maisie Williams as Arya Stark who mixes of rebellious youth with hints at what may be to come, alongside the appropriate vulnerability of a young girl.
The other highlight in the cast for me was Peter Dinklage as “The Imp”, Tyrion Lannister. When small actors appear on TV it is often as minor characters or comic foils, but here Dinklage proves he is much more than that and is one of the best actors I’ve seen in a long time – I understand he played Richard III recently and I can see exactly how that would have worked based on his performance here.
Away from the show its self the Blu-Ray box set contains a wealth of extras from the usual commentaries (which are all fascinating and entertaining in themselves) and featurettes on the production to a whole extra section exploring the history and mythology of Westeros and its grand houses.
These features are that rare thing, a balance between all out geekery (which I admit with this series I have enjoyed), and something for the more casual fan. I don’t think I would have felt ripped off had I not wanted any of the extras, and if I just wanted a quick look into the behind the scenes world of the show the half hour Making Of… is excellent.
However if I wanted to go deeper, as I did, the Complete Guide to Westeros, is a great way of discovering more of the back story hinted at in the series and the features on the opening sequence, Dothraki language and music all build up to create a comprehensive look at what has been for me, one of the two most enjoyable series on TV in recent years, alongside The Walking Dead.