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on June 9, 2014
I've noticed that several of the reviews here are about the series and not the actual product. I am not going to review the series here. For that, you can always check out IMDB, which is where a review of the series belongs. Here I want to address the actual, physical DVDS—the things you purchased or are planning to purchase from Amazon. As others have noted, the DVDs are problematic. In my case, they did play, but took a long time to load, and often rebooted if I only played the first episode on the disc, then tried to play the second episode later. I suspect this has to do with some rather ill-advised attempts at copy protection, thus punishing the legitimate buyers while doing virtually nothing to stem piracy. Three stars because they did play, but no more considering the problems and lag time it took for them to do so.
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on February 19, 2014
So I was hesitant receiving this product due to all the negative reviews regarding the Dracarys Drogon case. Had it been made of a more stone like material I would have given it 5 stars but as is it's actually really nice. I am uploading photos and the top case and the bottom stand hold together nicely and the dragon came out beautifully and well as the engravings of Dracarys and Game of Thrones. I have yet to try the discs though so I may return if they do not work. I really like the case! But to each their own. Also, note I am a bit obsessed with
game of Thrones sooo it might have biased my perception - but bottom line I do think this should be priced around 20$ lower.
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on December 4, 2013
Seriously the best thing I have ever seen on television. The reason I have HBO. If you have not watched this show, please do. Start with the 1st season and watch it all. If you love to watch a tale unfold and get lost in a different world and time you will LOVE this masterpiece!
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VINE VOICEon December 21, 2013
When it comes to premium cable, my worlds shift as the year goes on. For thirteen weeks in the fall, I get Showtime to watch HOMELAND and one of the best new shows on cable, MASTERS OF SEX. But for the rest of the year, I go back to HBO, and while there are many other good and compelling shows on that channel, such as THE NEWSROOM, and less so, TRUE BLOOD, the main reason I keep coming back is for GAME OF THRONES. And Season Three was perhaps the ultimate lesson as to why this show keeps you coming back. I've reviewed all of the seasons here, and while I found the first season a little problematic but really good overall, the second season was even better, and it just keeps improving into this season.

It's hard to distill everything that happens in this season, and all the new characters and threats that are introduced, so I'll try to distill it in what I believe are the best moments. Daenerys Targaryen meeting The Unsullied, and her trek in defiance of a "man's world" is so vital, so strong and never gets stale. Bran meeting Jojen Reed to make sense of what he's becoming as a warg starts slow but builds extremely well. Jon Snow and Ygritte's relationship and Jon's "undercover" work with Mance Rayder's men is always compelling and suspenseful. The conflict that comes to a head between the Night's Watch and Craster. The initially antagonistic relationship between Jaime and Brienne comes into sharper focus as they warm up to each other. The plight of Davos and his friendship with Stannis conflicting with the intentions of Melisandre. The wedding of Tyrion and Sansa and the rift that creates with Shae. The interminable cruelty of Joffrey, and how he keeps getting figuratively spanked by Tywin. The Brotherhood Without Banners and the firey combat between The Hound and Beric. The women of the Tyrell family, particularly Olenna. The bear pit. The end of Astapor.

And then, of course, The Red Wedding.

I know that of everything that has happened in this season, the most talked-about event is the Red Wedding, and while there are many other important things happening, the episode "The Rains of Castamere" is a horrific, tragic and emotionally devastating event that, for people who are merely fans of the show and not of George R.R. Martin's epic novels like myself, seemed to come out of nowhere, but going back, you can see it coming with hindsight. It firmly establishes the brutally pragmatic machinations of Twyin and his exploitation of the personal slights felt by Roose Bolton and Walder Frey. Although, while the twists and turns of the Lannisters prove to have the most meat on them, the heart of the season stands firmly with Daenerys. She proves to be not only a brilliant strategist, but a leader that could rule with a merciful and generous heart. The soul of the show belongs to Jon Snow, a young man so clearly over his head in a situation that will force him to question his loyalties and his oath to the Night's Watch, making him the stand-in for the audience.

As usual, everyone in the show is pretty amazing, but most surprising of all is the turn from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister. It took a while for the audience to connect with him, particularly when his first significant deed of the show was to push Bran out of a window. But this season, more layers of the onion are peeled back to show that there is much more to him than what we've seen before, which makes me very happy since his was the character that I couldn't get with at all for quite some time. Emilia Clarke continues to amaze with her performance as the Mother of Dragons, and Charles Dance totally owns you (and everyone else around him) as Tywin Lannister. Wisely, the show decided to show much more of what was going on around the kingdoms, and not to devote too much focus to the conflict between the Starks and Lannisters.

So bring on the White Walkers. Winter is coming and I'm ready.

At least, I hope I'm ready.
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on February 19, 2014
First of all its a great show. I've read the books (book 3, on which this season was based, was absolutely superb, one of the best books I've ever read actually) but I think this would be very good indeed even if you had not read the books?

The dvd extras are very good - I particularly enjoyed the commentary of Richard Madden (Robb) & Michelle Fairly (Catelyn)'s on the Rains episode. Nice to have a few extended/deleted scenes, particularly one with Jon meeting Mance Rayder; another with Tywin meeting up with Pycelle isn't much cop, can see why they left that out; Tywin is best sparring with his son

The 15 minute video synopsis of the previous season is very VERY useful as there really is so much going on. A close watcher of the show might not remember that Bran & Rickon are presumed dead, that Littlefinger misled Catelyn into thinking BOTH her daughters were still held at Kings Landing

Actually, it might be a good idea, if you have NOT read the books to watch the previous seasons, to get you up to speed.

Nice touches: Ned being mentioned in the penultimate episode of the season. Its easy to forget how important his character was to the show, and how all the chaos unfolding is out of his unfair treatment by Joffrey back in season 1

Minor characters (like Roose Bolton, introduced in season 2) become crucial to the plot, and the attention to detail is crucial, especially if you've read the books. And that's another thing - the show is clearly done by fans of the book. There are no major changes to the book. Robb's wife gets a name change, and Arya meets with Tywin back in season 2 (as did NOT happen in the books) but theres nothing major. The author (Martin) writes for the show for an episode a season, and its clear that the show is following the book very closely. (Martin has a commentary on his Bear & the Maiden Fair also)

The casting: spot on. Mance is as you remember him from the book. Hey! I LIKE the guy

In my opinion, the book helps if you watch the show, filling everything out (as it were) so you might want to pick them up at some point

But the show is a can't miss, really. Season 3 is absolutely superb, winter is coming. Not near enough of the White Walkers as you could wish, but the threat is there. Can't wait to see season 4 and Tyrion getting a bit of his own back against his father!

(Season 4 will be based on book 3 also. Its a massive book but well worth the read. You might want to pick it up if you want to swim in it for a while!
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on March 1, 2014
Absolutely love the show, and there are plenty of great reviews to describe why. However, the UI for the discs is crappy. (UI = user interface)

+ When browsing a disc, it is impossible to tell what episodes are on the disc unless you try to actually play the episode. That is, every episode is listed, and you need to know which specific one you want to watch -- and that it is on the current disc.

+ Besides the top menu, fonts for navigation are small and thin. On a 32" 1080p TV at 12 feet, I can barely make out episode numbers and I can't read episode descriptions. There are no episode pictures to help.

+ It takes about 2-3 minutes to get through all the non-skippable content on a disc (WTF).

This may be seem nit-picky, but confusion caused by the first item has resulted in us watching episodes out of order (with a show that jumps around so much, it's not obvious when an episode has been missed).

+5 stars for a great show. -2 stars for a really bad disc UI that has harmed the experience. There is no excuse for this crappy of a disc interface in 2014.
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on April 26, 2014
Certainly this season was heartrenching. I did question season 2's departure from the book re Robb and his wife and now I know why. In the book, he broke his oath because of honor and in the show he broke his oath because of love - both leading to the same tragic consequence. I read an opinion piece bemoaning this change, as though the show ruined Robb's character by making his impulsivity emotional rather than about he and his father's shared tragic flaw of being too honorable for the world around them. Oh, but when it came time for the wedding sequence - one cannot deny the power of four-fold doom.

Oh, that scene, that scene! My heart broke seeing the anguish then devastation on Catelyn Stark's face - it has been seared in my mind.

As for other characters - hot dang, I can't believe I now feel sympathy for the person who pushed Bran off the tower. Can anyone evil be redeemed? What Jaime and Theon went through this season was deserved --- and yet it gives me hope that evil can be excised from a person and what is left will only be the good.
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on September 11, 2014
Just have to experience the Game of Thrones phenomenon yourself, even knowing the spoilers and what is to come does not dull the impact from this great show. The only "negative" I can think of are the sex scenes, as they sometimes get in the way of the story (to me) and make it kind of awkward to watch with friends/family, but I get why they are there, this show demonstrates the human element, so it brutally let's viewers see the heights of it's greatness and the depths of its wickedness. So, every aspect of what makes us human including our sexuality is explored and shown (graphically) but it does not feel exploitative to me. In other words, the disturbing violence and adult themes (incest, rape, murder, prostitution, etc) are not presented merely for shock value but to highlight how the characters respond to these injustices as the victims and as the perpetrators. Some might feel angered by certain characters dying ***SPOILERS***
i.e. Rob Stark, his wife, his mother, the Starks in general (not the luckiest bunch eh?)
but that is part of what makes this show brilliant, it plays with our expectations and serves as a deconstruction of the medieval fantasy genre. For example, I never thought I could ever, even for a moment root for a character like Jaime Lannister, that is, until what I say him face this season and last. Granted, I am not sure if the deconstruction aspects were intentional by the original author, he may have just wanted to write a great story but I can't tell you how many times I have been surprised with how expertly the show manages to show you that no one is truly good, they just have an agenda and rules they are comfortable with, some (the Lannisters) are more...ah hem...let's just say "comfortable"...doing whatever it takes to further their power, whereas others limit themselves and the show genuinely shows what happens when the honorable face evil doers with clout. This doesn't diminish the beauty of trying to be an honorable person but merely realistically shows the consequences.
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on April 13, 2014
if by now you aren't on board the GoT train, then you have a lot of catching up to do. But a thirty hour marathon of watching this show now is really a bit much.... I advise a season a day with a nice break in between. However, it's terribly addictive, and the onslaught continues in terms of sex, violence, power struggles and so on. Hell, even the costumes rock.

HBO never backs down from portraying borderline questionable themes and scenes with a gritty reality that will make you sit up and gasp at a few of the scenes. It's got its hooks in me like crystal meth.... can't stop this thing we've started....

Deviation from the books continues but is always done both with GRRM's awareness and involvement. He's got a close relationship with the writers and they are keeping true to the TONE and FLAVOUR of the books even where they make changes to the action or timeline. Ultimately the result still serves to bring you forward right where you're supposed to be.

At this point I've stopped reading the books looking for explanations of things and I am taking the series at face value. It's that good. When I go back to the books again later they will dovetail with the show much more logically I am sure.

There is a new packaging design for the third season, it still matches but it's got this translucent plastic slipcase instead of the cardboard one. My OCD wishes it matched identically, but hey.... as long as it's not a big difference I'll be ok.

Same 5 discs with 10 episodes as prior seasons. Still putting fun features on each disc instead of a features disc separately.

If you're reading my review, you want to be convinced to buy it. So go buy it already. You won't be sorry. The only reason not to get DVD is if you get Blu-Ray. Otherwise it's a gem. I just wish I could buy season four already.... the wait is gonna kill me.....
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on February 25, 2014
Game of Thrones is probably my favorite television series. When it first premiered, I was intrigued, but I had trouble following along because of all the characters. I gave it a second chance when HBO ran a Season 1 marathon before the start of Season 2, and that time, I was immediately hooked. I have now seen all three seasons of the HBO show, and I am very excited about Season 4, which premieres in April.

Season 3 of Game of Thrones covers the first half of Storm of Swords, which is the third book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. The biggest theme in Season 3 is that of change; alliances change constantly, nothing can be predicted, and no one is safe. The Battle of Blackwater, which ended Season 2, was certainly a turning point in the War of Five Kings, but the war is far from over. Stannis Baratheon has retreated to his castle at Dragonstone, and is planning his next move with Melisandre, the Red Priestess.

Back in King’s Landing, Joffrey Baratheon continues his career as king of the realm/psychotic teenager. He has broken his engagement to Sansa Stark, and agreed to marry Margaery Tyrell because of the Tyrells’ role in saving King’s Landing during the Battle of Blackwater. Sansa remains a hostage in the court, unsure of her future, but grateful for Margaery’s friendship.

Jamie Lannister, who was taken prisoner by the Starks, has been set free by Catelyn Stark. He is to be escorted to King’s Landing by the warrior maid Brienne of Tarth, where he is to be exchanged for Sansa and Arya Stark. Jamie and Brienne have some great chemistry, and I really enjoyed their scenes together.

Unbeknownst to them, Arya Stark is not in King’s Landing. She has been out on the road since the very end of Season 1. She has managed to escape from Harenhall with her friends Gendry and Hot Pie. But the roads are not a safe place for two teenage boys and a girl, even if that girl is as feisty as Arya. Eventually, Arya acquires a very unlikely partner in crime. To reveal the identity of her cohort would be a spoiler, but I will say that I would watch a spinoff of these two characters all day long.

Robb Stark finds himself in a precarious position. His mother’s actions cost him some key allies, and he must approach Walder Frey for assistance in regrouping and preparing his next step towards winning the war. There’s just one problem: Robb was supposed to have married one of Walder Frey’s daughters, but he married someone else instead. Is Walder a forgiving man?

Jon Snow has infiltrated the Wilding camp beyond the wall, and met their king, Mance Rayder. He finds himself captivated by a Wilding woman named Ygritte, but will falling in love distract him from his mission?

Across the narrow sea, Daenerys Targaryen strives to build the army that she needs to conquer Westeros. She does not have very much gold, but she does have her three dragons. Will that be enough?

One of my favorite things about this season is the music, especially the showrunners’ choice to make “The Rains of Castamere”, the Lannister family song be played or mentioned repeatedly this season. Cersei and Margaery even have a conversation about the song, and then it is played in the most pivotal scene in the entire season. It is just such a delightful bit of foreshadowing. Another aspect of the music that I liked was the music that played over the credits at the end of each episode. It was different every time, and the choices are just fraught with symbolism.

The acting is phenomenal. No one, in my opinion, was a weak link. I was particularly impressed by the teenage actors/actresses, who do such fine work with difficult material. King Joffrey, in particular, brought psychotic behavior to a new level. He swaggers about during the day bullying people and sneering, but his dark tastes come out at night. He considers himself to be very important, and it is very satisfying to see Tywin Lannister, his maternal grandfather, reduce him to a petulant child.

One of my favorite scenes involves Joffrey with Margaery Tyrell. Margaery has gotten intel from Sansa regarding Joffrey, and she feigns interest in his crossbow. He is just thrilled to pieces when she asks if she can touch it. Oh, the symbolism!

My favorite new character had to be Olenna Tully, Margaery’s grandmother, and the matriarch of the Tully family. Without a doubt, she is the Dowager Countess of Westeros because she always has a sharp word for those who deserve it, but she treats Sansa Stark with kindness and dignity.

Game of Thrones is not for everyone. The language, violence, and sexual situations are all explicit. This show is rated TV-MA, which is the equivalent of an “R” rating. It is intended for an adult audience. If I had one negative thing to say about the show it would be that the torture of one particular character went on for far too long and was beginning to resemble torture porn. Enough already!

The Season 3 box set includes all sorts of extras. I have been watching the digital copy, which imports directly to iTunes where I can watch via our AppleTV. I have not yet had a chance to listen to any of the audio commentaries, but I did watch several of the special features, which provide insight into the making of the show.

I would absolutely recommend Game of Thrones Season 3. The plot builds upon the storylines established in the previous seasons, and there are many surprises. The acting is phenomenal, the scenery is breathtaking, the costumes are gorgeous… everything about Game of Thrones is amazing. If you have not seen the previous seasons, they are available to HBO subscribers at no cost via the HBO Go app. Season 3 is also available via HBO Go, but I picked up my own copy so that I could have the audio commentaries and digital copy. Now that I have rewatched Season 3, I can’t wait for Season 4- it’s going to be a good one!
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