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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Action > Epic > War > Cable TV > Game Of Thrones: The Complete Third Season (2013/HBO Blu-ray/DVD Set)

Game Of Thrones: The Complete Third Season (2013/HBO Blu-ray/DVD Set)

Picture: B & B- Sound: B & B- Extras: A+ Episodes: A

HBO's marvelous run on George R. R. Martin's epic Song of Ice and Fire fantasy continues with the Season Three boxed set of the huge hit series Game Of Thrones. While producer David Benioff and Co. continue to forge their own way, the events of The Complete Third Season do mostly follow those of Martin's third book in his now five book long series. And while the prolific author will need at least another two books to finish his series, it remains unclear what will happen if HBO's steady pace of covering one book per year outpaces the notoriously slow Martin's own writing schedule. What happens if HBO manages to reach five seasons and Mr. Martin has not yet released book six in his epic? No one really knows.

Those questions aside, Season Three offers a host of trials, tribulations, and nasty endings for a number of fan favorite characters. This includes fan favorite Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), the noble dwarf whose heart and sexual proclivities would outstrip a much larger man's. Robb Stark (Richard Madden), the King in the North, battles not only the Lannisters, but divisions within his own camp, and darker threats born of his own indiscretions. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) continues her wandering odyssey, trying to reunite with her family while avoiding the clutches of rival factions who see her as little more than a bargaining chip or an easy payday. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) runs with the Wildlings and learns hard lessons about love and loyalty. Jaimie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) begins a journey that will eventually transform him from a reviled villain into something else entirely, but not without great cost. Mother of Dragons Daenyeris Targaryan (Emilia Clarke) seeks her destiny and her rightful crown amidst the mysteries and brutalities of the lands across the narrow sea.

The strength of these episodes and the stories they're born from lies in the characters. Martin makes you love them, hate them, feel for them, and suffer with them. And this series continues to translate that to television with brilliant casting, amazing costumes, and expert use of sets and CGI.

Plentiful extras include in-episode guides, a featurette on the making of The Rains of Castamere, one of the most talked about television episodes in recent memory, Histories and Lore which brings viewers up to speed on the rich myths and past events of the lands of Westeros, Roots of Westeros which examines the histories and rivalries of the various noble houses, New Characters which gets viewers up to speed on the arrivals for the third season, A Gathering Storm which recaps Season Two, The Politics of Marriage which explains how marriages work to end conflicts and bind wounds in Westeros, and finally Inside The Wildlings which explains the culture and history of the savage tribes who dwell beyond the Wall. Audio commentaries abound as well, and will make re-watching episodes fun by providing a host of new information and insight. Offered in two formats, the picture and sound on these discs stands up to the HBO's current high quality standards. Ultimately, the quality of the viewing experience will be governed by the quality of the set fans view it on of course, but the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital high definition image and lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on the Blu-rays are the preferred ways to watch the show.

Game of Thrones: Season Three enthralls from the first episode to the last. Fans who have managed to avoid spoilers will be blown away by the momentous plot twists and departures in this season, and those in the know will marvel at Mr. Benioff and Co.'s expert handling of Martin's powerful material. With all of the extras available to ease the pain of entry into this complex narrative, even folks not normally interested in fantasy will want to give this series a try. Of course, Seasons One and Two (reviewed elsewhere on this site) are must viewing for newcomers, who should then check back in for season three. As any fan of Martin and this show will tell you, strap yourself in and don't grow too attached to anyone--no character is safe in Game of Thrones!

- Scott Pyle


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