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Hi everyone, Bryan Here…
I believe that George R.R. Martin was put on this Earth to entertain and piss off the millions and millions of fans of his work, specifically ‘A Song of Ice and Fire‘, or as we have come to know it ‘Game of Thrones‘. If you’ve read the books, you knew what was coming in this fourth season of ‘Game of Thrones‘ on HBO, but for most of you, I’d imagine you were quite shocked, which is of course, nothing new in the world of Westeros. With shows like ‘Game of Thrones‘ and AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead‘, these creators, writers, and showrunners have perfectly crafted a story full of death, betrayal, and blood.
In most shows, we’ll see over the course of a season some twists and turns with maybe a few deaths of minor characters, but never a major character. ‘The Walking Dead‘ and ‘Game of Thrones‘ have definitely changed that aspect in television amongst other things, where no character is safe to live. And if you thought season three was shocking with the Red Wedding, then prepare for the shocks and awes of season four, because they will hit at full force, starting with episode two.
In season four, the aftermath of the Red Wedding is affecting a lot of families and kingdoms with the Lannisters still in control and gaining power. Meanwhile, the Starks are spread thin and fighting for survival. Daenerys Targaryen along with her army and dragons are still making head way to reclaim the throne, but is having a difficult time making her followers happy. I could go into more story lines, but I don’t want to give too much away so it will be just as big as a surprise as it was for me.
I will say that there is an epic battle towards the end of the season at the great ice Wall that will leave you on the edge of your seat and have your jaw hanging in mid-air. But what ‘Game of Thrones‘ does so well, especially in this 4th season is amplify the suspense with each character, as we have no idea how much longer they will last in this harsh world of Westeros. The excellent pacing and twists and turns give each character enough room to reel us in each week and just when you think it’s safe to love a character or get used to someone, BAM, something bad happens.
That’s the way Westeros and ‘Game of Thrones‘ works. It’s what keeps us on the hook week after week, season after season. And with the amazing season finale and final scene of season four, this upcoming season five can’t come fast enough.
This 4th season of ‘Game of Thrones‘ is like the previous seasons in regards to their video presentation. FANTASTIC. HBO really knows how to frame and transfer these epic episodes of their flagship show onto Blu-ray. They are simply perfect. The detail is impeccable. Everything is vivid and razor sharp from start to finish here. Every ding in a sword, every wrinkle, wound, makeup blemish, individual hair, piece of sand is clearly visible. The fine textures in the excellent costumes show up perfectly as well. The wider shots also show clarity at 100%, giving these rich worlds and lands great depth and beauty. There is nothing else like it on TV right now. The colors are rich and simply pop off screen at every moment. From the warm sunny views of King’s landing to the cold, dark, and icy lands by the great Wall, and everything it between, every color is well balanced and saturated with rich full color. Skin tones are always natural and the black levels are very deep and inky. Since there is no artificial light in this time period, the natural light elements are perfectly blended in, which would normally affect the detail, but here it doesn’t. It all looks perfect. There are zero compression issues or any other problem with this video presentation, leaving it with perfect marks.
Like with the above mentioned video presentation, this audio presentation is just as flawless. This release comes with an amazing lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and will fully immerse you in the lands of Westeros. The sound effects of every sword clank, every arrow flung, kick, hit, and crunch pack a powerful punch. It’s well-balanced, loud, and has a lasting effect. Every piece of fire and kill sound very realistic. Even the gurgling makes you squeamish. Ambient noises of nature, horses, people talking sound exquisite as well. The surround speakers emit some excellent and robust sounds consistently as well. The directionality is precise and perfect. The score is amazing while never drowning out the dialogue nor the sound effects. And for the dialogue, it’s always crystal clear and easy to follow. There are zero pops, cracks, shrills, and hiss, leaving this audio presentation with perfect marks as well.
Audio Commentaries – There are 11 separate commentary track with various members of the cast and crew, including Peter Dinklage, David Benioff, Jack Gleeson, and Lena Headey to name a few. These are always excellent commentary tracks and this season is no different as they discuss some inside information to each episode, how they filmed certain scenes, and fun anecdotes from shooting. These are all worth listening to.
In-Episode Guide – In each episode, you have the option to click this tab to receive pop-up texts, trivia, and facts on each episodes. It covers the characters and locations as well. The best part is the ‘Histories’ button you can choose, which stops the show and takes you to an animated history lesson told be the characters of the show on each faction, house and character. These are available separately as well in the extras menu.
The Politics of Power: A Look Back at Season 3 (HD, 25 Mins.) – This is an in depth recap of season 3 that covers every key moment, death, character struggle and more. So if you need a reminder of season 3, this is what you should watch.
New Characters and Locations (HD, 8 Mins.) – Here is a helpful guide to the new characters and locations that show up in season 4 if you’re having trouble deciphering who’s who in the show.
Bastards of Westeros (HD, 7 Mins.) – George R.R. Martin, David Benioff, and D.B. Weiss discuss the “bastard” characters of the show such as Jon and Ramsay Snow, and why these are key characters.
Histories and Lore (HD, 35 Mins.) – There are 16 different animated segments here, all told by different characters in the show on the history of Westeros. These are available in the In-Episode Guide as I discussed above.
Behind the Battle for the Wall (HD, 37 Mins.) – That major battle at The Wall in episode 9 was epic. I think we can all agree with that. Well this awesome extra details how they executed each shot and filmed this epic battle. A must watch.
The Fallen: A Roundtable (HD, 30 Mins.) – This is my favorite extra on the set. One of the producers and writers of the show Bryan Cogman hosts a roundtable interview with the nine key characters that died in season 4. It’s hilarious, fun, and highly entertaining.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 3 Mins.) – There are only two deleted scenes here, one of which is a big scene. The other – not so much.
Blooper Reel (HD, 2 Mins.) – Some hilarious outtakes of laughter, missed cues, flubbed lines, and improv on set.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
I mean, if you aren’t a fan of ‘Game of Thrones‘ already, I don’t want to talk to you. If you are a newbie or a fan, then you already know that this is one of the best shows ever put on television. And season four just ups the game and television in general to the next step. There are some truly unforgettable and iconic moments in season four that you’ll want to relive over and over. The video and audio presentations are stellar and perfect here. There are tons of extras, all of them are worth watching and very informative and fun. To make it clear, this is a MUST OWN Blu-ray. So do what you have to do. Get a dragon, sell its eggs, enslave an army, or do whatever you can (within reason) to get this Blu-ray set, because you won’t be sorry.
– Bryan Kluger