Game Of Thrones Season 2 Blu-ray Review
I don’t generally consider myself a fan of fantasy themed novels, movies or TV shows. Aside from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I’ve never read a fantasy book and even then, I struggled getting into them. I have no problem with the genre, it’s just that I feel the genre has been represented so poorly over the years and there tends to be more bad fantasy novels/shows/movies than good ones. So when I proclaim that HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ is a revelation to television, know that I’m not a LARPer blindly defending a fantasy show and I’m not making that proclamation lightly. After being mesmerized by the first season and then equally enthralled with the second, I don’t think you can speak highly enough about the acclaimed show.
You’ll need a recap of season 1 (click Game of Thrones season 1 to read the Blu-ray review) in order to pick up with season 2. The second season basically picks up right where we left off with the first. Joffrey Lannister is still king and Robb Stark’s army is still moving towards the castle in hopes of avenging his murdered father and putting a rightful heir on the throne. Starks other sons, Jon and Bran, continue dealing with their plights while their half brother Alfie is torn between his actual lineage and his duty to the Starks. Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons have hatched and continue to gain strength (their very existence gives me goose bumps when I think of what they can do with fully grown dragons) as she plots her return to the throne.
And I haven’t even gotten to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who steals every scene and is hands down the best character on television. Tyrion is so great of a character that the audience finds themselves constantly wanting to go back and check on him. There is one huge problem with ‘Game of Thrones’; one hour doesn’t do the show justice and so the audience has a constant, un-fulfill-able hunger for more Thrones that could never be satisfied. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is one of my favorite characters, but she doesn’t get a lot of screen time. But that argument could be made about all of the characters because there are so many of them and all of them have complex backgrounds and intricate, intertwining plots. Nothing is simple in ‘Game of Thrones’ and perhaps that’s what makes the show so fascinating.
The second season of Thrones does have me concerned that HBO might be dragging it out a bit much. Maybe I’ve been too jaded with Hollywood where bad guys get killed within 90 minutes and the hero lives a wonderful life. In ‘Game of Thrones’, it’s sometimes hard to tell who’s the villain and who’s the hero (except for Joffrey, arguably the most hated villain on TV). And as for a quick resolution, forget about it. Writer and creator George R.R. Martin isn’t going to sell out and kill off Joffrey in a couple of episodes or crown Robb Stark right away (if ever, I don’t know because I haven’t read the books); there’s a whole story to tell and the journey is half the fun.
The fact that this show can intertwine a huge political fight for power with dragons, shapeshifters and magic is truly remarkable. I’ve lost arguments where I’ve tried to convince non-fantasy fans to give the show a chance and that’s frustrating because it’s so great. In fact, I wouldn’t even label it a fantasy. Call it whatever genre you want (romance, action, mystery, political, etc.) because it fits virtually every category.
Video: Nobody does Blu-ray like HBO and ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 is no exception. The show really is breathtaking on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio is equally impressive.
Commentary on twelve episodes: The first season only offered 7 commentaries, so getting another 5 was quite a treat. The commentaries are incredible, offering plenty of insight into the story and the filming of the episodes. As you go through, you may find that certain episodes had more impact than others (episode 4, for example) and turning on the commentary on the second viewing will clear up things you may have missed and will help satisfy that hunger for more Thrones.
In-episode guide: Like the first season, each episode has an in-episode guide that gives more information on the locations and the characters. But the treat here is the “history” selection, which plays out various stories in animated form, as told by certain characters. Kudos has to be given to HBO for adding something so incredible to the special features and going that extra step for the fans.
Character Profiles (15:57): 7 different actors show up to profile their different characters. It’s an interesting featurette, but like I said with the first season featurette, at just over 2 minutes a pop, might not be worth the effort.
War of the Five Kings Interactive Guide: There’s a whole other level of fantasy fandom and this featurette is for those of you that take it to that next level. This is an interactive guide to the war and covers everything from military strategy to historical significance.
Creating the Battle of Blackwater Bay (30:57): The battle in the ninth episode was one of the more climactic events in the second season and so it gets its own featurette. I can’t always get into featurettes that focus on one specific scene, but this one does a fine job.
Game of Thrones Inner Circle (24:03): Five actors sit down with the executive producers to have a roundtable discussion about the second season. Admittedly, I rolled my eyes when this started, but I quickly found myself engaged in the discussion.
The Religions of Westeros (7:47): George R.R. Martin and producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss sit down to talk about the different religions portrayed in the series and the role religion plays for all the characters.
There are also a number of Easter Eggs for those that like to search