Blu-Ray Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5

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With only a few short weeks until HBO’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones returns to the airwaves, series fans who find themselves jonesing for a fix can revisit the events of last year’s controversial 10-episode arc with Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season arriving on Blu-Ray in yet another top-notch home video presentation.

Longtime readers of the George R. R. Martin novels on which the series is based have always feared the television adaptation would catch up to – and eventually surpass – the source material, and there are numerous events that occur during the fifth season that have not yet taken place in the pages of Martin’s novels. Granted, that’s not to say that the series is necessary “spoiling” the books – both Martin and series producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are always quick to point out that certain key characters who have perished on the screen are alive on the page – and vice versa.

But while the fine details may differ between the two mediums, the broad strokes remain the same: a sudden death has caused Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) to flee King’s Landing, Cersei (Lena Headey) fears that she is losing control of the city, and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) must contend with the arrival of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) at Castle Black. Meanwhile, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) roams the countryside in search of the missing Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), while Dany (Emilia Clarke) struggles to bring order to the city of Meereen.

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It seems that every season of Game of Thrones plays host to controversy, and Season 5 was certainly no exception, with a violent sexual assault and the heartbreaking demise of a beloved character setting the internet aflame in their respective wakes. But amid the nudity and bloodshed remains one of the most enthralling dramatic offerings in the history of television, full of rich storytelling and multi-layered characters brought to life by an almost absurdly talented ensemble cast. It’s no surprise that HBO’s juggernaut is consistently one of the highest-rated and most-watched shows on cable – it’s just that damn good.

Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season marks another feather in the cap for HBO’s long history of stellar home video releases, with a 1080p transfer that never fails to impress. But the audio might be the true star of this release, as this collection also boasts a Dolby Atmos track – a first for a TV series – and is guaranteed to give surround systems an exhausting workout. And of course, a Game of Thrones Blu-Ray release wouldn’t be complete without a massive collection of extras, including 12 audio commentaries, multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a two-part documentary on the real-life historical events that inspired Martin’s novels.

Once again, HBO and their flagship property have delivered a Blu-Ray release whose hours of content number in the dozens, whose picture and sound quality are nearly unparalleled, and whose engrossing narrative and astounding performances are undeniable. Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season is available now.

game of thrones season 5 blu-ray

90%
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Excellent

Continues HBO's tradition of providing home video releases that beg to be purchased, with dozens of hours of supplemental material and pristine audio and visual quality.

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