Game Of Thrones - The Complete Third Season

by David Foucher

EDGE Publisher

Thursday February 27, 2014

Game Of Thrones - The Complete Third Season

Book Three of the "Song of Ice and Fire" series was, to many readers of George R.R. Martin's epic novels, a favorite. Within the sprawling pages of the book, fortunes are reversed, new individuals come to power, and the world of Westeros is blooded from east to west, north to south -- I have merely to write the words "red wedding" for most of you fans to shudder with recollection of the conclusion of a pivotal chapter that likely prompted you to say aloud, "I'm sorry, what did I just read?"

For many, therefore, reaching the third season of HBO's translation "A Game of Thrones" was in itself a victory of the beloved television show. Within the special features of this boxed set, its co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss make reference to the milestone directly.

The season doesn't disappoint, even on a second viewing -- and it's the perfect warmup for Season 4, soon to hit the HBO lineup and draw millions back to Westeros for their yearly dose of warring would-be kings, politics, sex and dragons. And the boxed set is packed with special features.

Everyone will remain focused on "The Rains of Castamere," within which the shocking drama of the red wedding unfolds -- but the groundwork set for Season 4 and beyond is equally divine. The big battles are yet to come (Winter is coming, after all), and the squabbles of the battling families within the Seven Kingdoms is merely a precursor. Nonetheless, the quest for the Iron Throne remains the focus of Season 3 -- and the lengths to which people will go to claim it remains the hallmark of this unblinking, viciously agnostic chronicle.

It makes for a terrific catch-up viewing, for those new to the series, and the In-Episode Guides are helpful even to the experienced. A few clicks of your remote will remind you of character histories and interrelationships -- a helpful clue when the cast of characters keeps growing year on year.

The featurette surrounding the critical episode is fascinating, incorporating a significant amount of interviews from cast members, producers and special effects artists. Others -- including a Season 2 recap, deleted scenes and in-depth discussions of the Wildlings and marriage within the land -- are less captivating, but still worth exploring.

The primary value is in the superior storytelling HBO continues to support in the "Game of Thrones" series; that alone is worth the ~$30 it takes to add this set to your collection.

David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, is a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his daughter in Dedham MA.