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DVD Review

DVD cover

Game of Thrones
The Complete Second Season


Starring: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Kit Harington and Liam Cunningham
HBO Home Entertainment
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: 18
Available 04 March 2013

The joint deaths of Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell, and King Robert Baratheon has thrown the land of Westeros into war, leaving Joffrey, the incestuous offspring of Jamie and Cersei sitting on the Iron throne. The house of Winterfell has scattered, Bran remains at the castle while his brother Robb, along with his mother Catelyn Stark gathers the families’ armies to attack Kings Landing. Jon Snow, now a member of the Nights Watch, travels beyond the wall into the unknown and danger. The dead king’s brothers, Stannis and Renly raise their own armies, whilst across the sea Daenerys continues to increase her power and control over the newly hatched dragons. At Kings Landing Tyrion continues to conspire and remain one step ahead of Cersei, as new powers start to rise to play the game of thrones and win Westeros...

Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season is now available on a five DVD set. Created by HBO, the show stars Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Kit Harington and Liam Cunningham.

Game of Thrones has done something which no other fantasy show has been able to accomplish, that is, to become popular by treating the audience as adults, whilst achieving multi-award winning status on the strength of its story and characters. It is now accepted, not just as a fantasy, but as an exceptional slice of television drama.

Originally based on the series of books by George R. R. Martin, the first season stuck very closely to the original material, with the second season changes started to creep in. Some characters have been amalgamated and storylines slightly altered to fit the format of a television show. Obsessive fans, may at this point have started to spit blood if it were not for the fact that Martin is not only closely associated with the show, but also has written some of the episodes, thereby adding to the changes himself.

The story is so layered and multithreaded that it would be near impossible to cover all the story elements or even all the characters in a piece of this size. The main thrust of the plot revolves around the new contenders to the throne as well as the growing threat from beyond the wall. There is a little less sex as most of the characters are intent on killing each other in violent and graphic ways. One element which has crept in is the supernatural, an element which was spoken about in the first season, but for the most part the people of Westeros felt that such things had passed from their world.

In season two we get necromancers, more of the dragons, black creatures birthed from the nether portions of a witchy women and a battle for Kings Landing which comes as close to cinematic quality as can be achieved on a television budget.

Not only the tone, but also the scope of this season is wider, which is both a strength and weakness. Season one dealt almost exclusively with Ned Stark’s elevation to the Hand of the Kings and trying to uncover what had happened to the previous Hand. The whole season felt self-contained and if the show had stopped there, there would have been enough closure to bring the story to a satisfying end.

With season two the action take place in multiple locations and the multi-thread nature of the story means that some of the major players will never meet each other, so we really have numerous stories, all of which have their interesting elements. The only storyline which feels like it has some resolution is Stannis’ attempt to storm Kings Landing and although some of the storylines drag a little, it’s because their pay off happens in season three.

The first season's disc were no slouch when it came to extras and season two follows with a commentary on almost every episode, except for episode five. Disc one has character profiles (15 min, 41 sec) for seven of the main characters, introduced by the characters actor, but also includes additional material by the other actors, separated by shots from the show and behind the scene material. Disc four has Game of Thrones: Inner Circle (23 min, 04 sec) which has a selection of the cast and creators sitting around the table discussing the show and their characters.

As well as the usual commentaries, disc five contains Creating the Battle of Blackwater Bay (31 min, 16 sec) undoubtedly, the visual highlight of the season with production values akin to a film. Scripted by Martin, the battle captures the ambition of the book and the feature looks at how the battle was created. The Religions of Westeros (7 min, 35 sec) has Martin discussing the importance of religion in the show.

The quality of the show is impressive on almost every technical and writing level; we can only hope that the forthcoming season three continues to build on this as battle is joined in earnest.


Charles Packer

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