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Game of Thrones Season 6: Groundbreaking TV Accompanied by Groundbreaking Special Features [Blu-ray Review]

Game of Thrones is an adaptation of the epic dark fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire from writer George R.R. Martin and showrunners  David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The series airs exclusively on HBO and stars Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke. Season 7 debuts summer 2017.

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Set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos Game of Thrones weaves several plot lines with a broad ensemble cast. The first narrative arc follows a civil war among several noble houses for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms; the second covers the attempts of the exiled last scion of the realm’s deposed ruling dynasty to reclaim the throne; the third chronicles the rising threat of the impending winter and the legendary creatures and fierce peoples of the North.


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Review:

Game of Thrones has wrapped what has to be their finest season yet in a fiery curtain call of death for several major characters. This would be the moment of truth for several novel fans who have been waiting and wanting to know if Jon Snow truly did die at the hands of the Night’s Watch, as season five ended with his dead body, so too did George R.R. Martin’s fifth novel when it came out six years ago. Season six not only answered that lingering question, but many more that have yet to be revealed in the Song of Ice and Fire book series in which the show is adapted from. Martin took too long to write the books, so the TV series is marching full force ahead towards an inevitable end instead. I’d be more pissed off as a novel fan, but when the show is so damn good it’s hard to get angry at a work of genius.

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Game of Thrones went all out for season six. The Red Wedding has officially been topped – yes – they topped the Red Wedding and they did so in a MASSIVE way. I’m still reeling from the finale and The Battle of The Bastards… Hell I’m still feeling the hangover from episode five over here. Season six is the best yet and without a doubt some of the finest television ever produced. Ever. (Read my full review HERE)

Special Features :

Before I talk about how amazing, as always with their home releases, the special features are for season 6 on Blu-ray, let’s talk about that packaging. I like the idea of using the dead skin mask poster, but it was tough following up that shiny gold dragon/Tyrion image from the fifth season’s home release. The packaging is also thinner than usual, as HBO opted to utilise this cool new disc stacking function which is quite clever because the discs don’t rub against each other. That being said – it’s going to look tinier than your other stack of standard Blu-ray cases. So be prepared for that.

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Now the important stuff – the behind-the-scenes stuff is astounding. The always present Histories and lore segments are so good…. You’ll get tidbits on everything from the Kingsmoot, the children of the forest fighting the first men, the brotherhood without banners, Robert’s rebellion and more… All narrated by the season’s stars mind you with wonderful animation. I would rebuy another blu-ray release after this series is officially over which just compiled all of these into one disc. They’re amazing for all of us nerds who like that kind of geeky additional background info.

The behind-the-scenes feature on the Battle of The Bastards was stunning as expected. The fact that we learn 40 horses were charging towards Kit Harrington was bonkers to me. They utilised 80 real horses for that episode and they were actually charging towards the cast. Yes there is CGI – but the filming crew went above and beyond to make great use of practical effects.

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The 18 hours at Paint Hall was also quite intriguing because it was the first time Game of Thrones had EVER needed to use all three filming teams at the same place, during the same time. Several different storylines all being done in various sets and sound stages – in the same building. It was chaotic. Also – loved seeing the Mountain’s death make-up being applied in this feature… It was gross lookin.

HBO’s greatest show continues to produce the greatest TV home release year after year and season 6 is no different. Buy it – add it to your Xmas wish lists – do whatever you can to get a copy. This is groundbreaking television and it is accompanied by groundbreaking special features.

Rating:


Check out the breakdown of all the special feature segments below. There are a lot of them..

    • In-Episode Guide – Dig deeper into the show with this in-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories.
    • Histories and Lore – Learn about the mythology of Westeros and Essos as told from the varying perspectives of the charactersthemselves in 18 history pieces.
      • The Old Way: narrated by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk)
      • The Kingsmoot: narrated by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk)
      • The Sunset Sea: narrated by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk)
      • War of the Ninepenny Kings: narrated by Brother Ray (Ian McShane)
      • The Great Tourney at Harrenhal: narrated by Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick)
      • Robert’s Rebellion: narrated by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)
      • Vaes Dothrak: narrated by Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)
      • The Dothraki: narrated by Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)
      • Northern Allegiances to House Stark: narrated by Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)
      • Children of the Forest vs. the First Men: narrated by the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow)
      • Brotherhood Without Banners: narrated by Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye)
      • Oldtown: narrated by Grand Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover) and Qyburn (Anton Lesser)
      • House Dayne: narrated by Young Ned Stark (Robert Aramayo)
      • The Little Birds: narrated by Lord Varys (Conleth Hill)
      • Knights of the Vale: narrated by Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish (Aidan Gillen)
      • House Tarly: narrated by Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner)
      • Riverrun: narrated by Brynden ‘the Blackfish’ Tully (Clive Russell)
      • Great Sept of Baelor: narrated by the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce)
    • The Battle of the Bastards: An In-Depth Look – Behind-the-scenes piece examining the production challenges of creating this epic event, including explorations of VFX, stunts, and interviews with key cast and crew.
    • Recreating the Dothraki World – Behind-the-scenes piece looking at the creation of Vaes Dothrak and its importance to Dany’s evolution.
    • 18 Hours at the Paint Hall –Follow all three shooting units as they converge in this behind-the-scenes snapshot of a day in the life of the largest show on television
    • Audio Commentaries – The most commentaries ever recorded for Game of Thrones, featuring:
      • Episode 601: Director Jeremy Podeswa, Director of Photography Greg Middleton, and Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne)
      • Episode 602: Writer Dave Hill, Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), and Ben Crompton (Dolorous Edd)
      • Episode 603: Director Daniel Sackheim, Production Designer Deborah Riley, and Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon)
      • Episode 604: Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), and Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm)
      • Episode 605 (2 commentaries): Gemma Whelan (Yara Greyjoy), Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy), Ellie Kendrick (Meera Reed), and Kristian Nairn (Hodor); Prosthetics Supervisor Barrie Gower, Camera Operators Chris Plevin and Ben Wilson, and Executive Producer Bernadette Caulfield
      • Episode 606: Director Jack Bender, Director of Photography Jonathan Freeman, John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), and Hannah Murray (Gilly)
      • Episode 607: Producer/Writer Bryan Cogman, Ian McShane (Septon Ray), and Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell)
      • Episode 608: Director Mark Mylod, Essie Davis (Lady Crane), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)
      • Episode 609 (2 commentaries): Director Miguel Sapochnik, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), and Kit Harington (Jon Snow); Director of Photography Fabian Wagner, Visual Effects Producer Steve Kullback, and Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Bauer
      • Episode 610 (2 commentaries): Executive Producers/Writers David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister); Special Effects Supervisor Sam Conway, Camera Operator Sean Savage, and Producer Chris Newman
    • Deleted Scenes – Four deleted scenes.
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    Digital Special Features:

    • Bran’s Journey – A nine-minute feature delving into the shocking and revelatory journey Bran Stark took in Season 6.
    • The Dothraki World – Behind-the-Scenes featurette bringing viewers up to speed on the Dothraki culture, not seen since Season 1.
    • Inside Game of Thrones: Prosthetics – Behind-the-Scenes featurette detailing what goes into the show’s prosthetics creation.
    • The Game Revealed – Five-part series covering the creation of Season 6’s most epic set pieces and scenes.

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