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on March 7, 2012
I wont waste time going into the story. You can see plenty of that in the other reviews.

The Blu-Ray is excellent and takes advantage of the format more than any disc I currently own. The picture is flawless with bright colors and a life-like image. You will notice details you didn't during the original broadcast airing. For example, the scenes in the crypt were sort of dark and hard to make out during the original airing have been lightened up a bit. You can see more details of the statues of the Stark ancestry.

The DTS audio track is amazing! Your side channels will get quite a workout. The sound is immersive, but not overbearing. I could crank the volume up fairly loud and it still would sound perfect. I have a 7.1 surround sound system, and there was one scene early in the first episode where a raven comes flying in from the rear to the front that startled my cat and I. I simply wasn't expecting that sort of detail in sound.

There are quite a few extras. The one that really stands out is the in-episode guide to the Seven Kingdoms. When you turn this feature on, a side menu with four icons appears over the picture. Don't worry, you can make it transparent so it's not blocking the scenes. The first icon brings up a list of characters that are currently in the scene and will give you a bit of information about them when you select them from the list. The second icon gives you the current location, also with a bit of information. The 4th icon takes you to the complete guide where you can access all of it's content from a single menu.

Then you have the third icon, the History icon, and this is the most interesting. Periodically, when a character mentions something from past history, it will flash. When you select that icon, you will see a list of history items, and the one that was just "unlocked" will be selected. Press this, and you're taken to a short animated video segment explaining the historic moment the character just mentioned, narrated by one of the characters in the story. Sometimes its the same historic moment from another viewpoint; so not only does it give you history, it gives you historical perspective from the different houses. After the history video, it brings you right back to the episode where it continues. Most of this history is in the narrative of the books, and so I think this was a very clever (and well produced) way to get that narrative back into the hands of the viewers. It makes this world even richer than it was when we first viewed the series.

I also feel that watching episodes back to back makes the series much enjoyable and easier to understand. This show is dense with characters, history and plot. So having to wait a week meant having all these details fade before the next episode. I feel like I appreciate this series even more now that I own it.

Finally, I actually received my set on Monday, one day before release the street date, when they had guaranteed release day delivery. I guess that's one of the perks of being a Prime member. Kudos to Amazon for their great service. :)

Great series. Outstanding reference-quality Blu-Ray. Definitely not to be passed up if you like the series and own a Blu-Ray disc player.
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on August 13, 2015
I Seriously don't understand why people love this show so much! Two of the characters are brother and sister and they have sex INCEST IS NOT OKAY STOP ENCOURAGING IT. NOT TO MENTION IT HAS RAPE AND CHILD ABUSE... sorry but i like my show to be a little more realistic than this trash.....

You want a great show with a great storyline watch Smallville, Charmed Buffy the vampire slayer and Angel... skip this one I promise you you're not missing anything
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on March 21, 2012
It goes without saying that the series is really incredible. The production values are on par with any big-budget movie and the acting is top-notch. This blu-ray set offers an excellent way to watch the series, but I could not give it 5 stars for a number of reasons that I'll get into in a bit.

The extra features are among the best of any TV series I've ever seen. There are excellent character profiles, commentaries, and more to keep you occupied for hours and help you understand the world George R.R. Martin has created. The picture and sound quality are absolutely perfect. You won't find a TV show with a better blu-ray transfer.

What I found to be disappointing about the blu-ray set doesn't make me think it was a bad purchase, but it's things that I've found common among HBO releases before and I wish they would hire better people to control their quality. For example, before each episode there was a "previously on Game of Thrones" montage while the show aired, which is missing on the blu-ray episodes. While I understand that it's understood that there won't be a week between episodes, people don't always watch the episodes back to back, and those clips served to point out key moments in previous episodes that will play a part in the episode about to be shown, and helps bring back memories and plot points that might have happened 3 or 4 episodes prior. It's a shame that they were left out.

Also, I am not a fan of the way they spaced out the content on each disc. There are 5 discs in the set, and 10 episodes in the series, but the content isn't laid out in any meaningful way. Disc 1 has 2 episodes, discs 2 and 4 have 3 episodes each, and discs 3 and 5 only contain a single episode. I am assuming they did this because they've spread the features across the 5 discs as well. I would much rather they had 3 discs with 3 episodes each, and the last two discs contain the last episode and the bonus features. As it is now, it's just a while hot mess. The same features are "available" on all discs, but selecting one that doesn't actually reside on the disc you have in brings up a prompt to insert the correct disc. There is also no indication about which features are on which disc, so you just have to put a disc in and hope it's on that one, otherwise you will be forced to switch after the fact. There IS a booklet included in the set, and in the booklet they list the features, but not what disc they are on. Also on the booklet are a list of episodes with synopses, a grid with the major houses in the series and the characters that belong to each, and a fold out map of the kingdom. While that is nice, I would much rather they took more real estate on the booklet to lay out what each disc contains and make the house information or map on-disc content. What would have been much cooler would be a digital map that lets you zoom into the different areas of the map, akin to the excellent title sequence of the show.

One more thing of note is that the discs take a VERY long time to load when put into a blu-ray player. At first I thought it was my player, but I also tried it in my Playstation 3 and found the wait to me equally long. From the time I loaded the disc, it took nearly 2 minutes for the Warning screen to come up, with the screen staying black the entire time. I actually at first thought there was something wrong with my blu-ray player and unplugged it to reset it. I have many other blu-ray discs that don't take nearly as long, and yes, both my blu-ray player and PS3 are completely up-to-date with their firmwares. I upgraded the player immediately prior to loading the disc.

All in all, this set is a must-have for anyone who is a fan of the series, and it is definitely worth a try for any fans of fantasy or drama who aren't familiar with Game of Thrones and don't mind a little nudity or gore that comes with an HBO production of this nature. This would have been the easiest 5 of 5 stars ever if they had fixed some of the quabbles I laid out above.
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Having never read any of the "Song of Ice and Fire" series of fantasy epic books by George R . R. Martin's (with the fifth about to be released) has not proven a significant problem in following HBOs epic serialisation. Granted approaching the television series did require some care since the pre fanfare on Sky cast it as sort of "Lord of the Rings Lite" not least with the presence of Sean Bean. Happily this is not the case. For one "Game of thrones" is largely free of huge set piece battles, it also requires real patience since it is a series that slowly unfurls it glories through multiple plots and all kinds of political skullduggery. This is high fantasy for Machiavelli fans since "Game of thrones" has a "Il Principe" quality to it as rulers struggle to maintain or gain power through a mixture of the methodical exercise of brute force, deceit and downright treachery. Indeed some have suggested that it not so much Gandalf the Grey as James J. Gandolfini from the Sopranos.

It is in addition it is beautifully filmed, has incredible sets and you almost shiver with the chill of Winterfell and the ancient Ice Wall. But at the heart of this series is tremendous characterization and intriguing plots which gradually weave together to great effect. And as with most HBO series this is a very liberal sprinkling of sex and violence, thus if you don't like this sort of thing please don't buy it.

No review could do justice to all the characters so lets pick out a few. Bean is of course very solid as Ned Stark and so to is Michelle Fairley as his wife Catelyn. The emerging star of the Stark family however is the wonderful young actress Maisie Williams as their daughter Ayra who somehow dominates the screen everytime she comes on and grows in importance as the plot line evolves. Their primary enemies are the Lannisters who are a mixed bunch. For the life of me every time Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) enters the series I can help but think of "Lieutenant Templeton "Face" Peck" (Dirk Benedict) from the A Team! That said this family contains the two real stars of the series the beautifully twisted and power hungry English actress Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and the utterly sublime Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister who brings new meaning to the term "poison dwarf". Cersai is the archetypical power behind the throne, cruel and bent of gaining power. She is beautiful but twisted and not in the least anxious about incestuous relationships , murder and deceit if they will seal power. Baddies always have the best lines and a classic is her lecture to Starks daughter which is a lovely piece of sarcastic realpolitik. As she questions "Do you have any notion what happens when a city is sacked, Sansa? No, you wouldn't, would you? All you know of life you learned from singers, and there is such a dearth of good sacking songs." As for Dinklage his part of Tyrion the dwarf is an acting masterclass. He plays the part of this "half man" as a lecturous, whoring, rude, cunning and often hilarious character with such aplomb that he steals every scene and you feel almost guilty for liking him quite so much. His scenes at the prison at Eyrie or with the Mountain Clans of the Vale are some of the best as his survival instinct kicks in and he outmanoeuvres his capturers. Fantastic stuff and other honourable mentions should go Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo the powerful and violent horse lord and his surprisingly resilient wife Daenerys Targaryen played by the lovely Emilla Clarke.

"Game of thrones" is made up of a predominantly British and Irish cast who demonstrate that our two little islands have talent to spare. It is series which more than lives up to advanced billing and HBO will thankfully be filming a second outing shortly particularly as the ominous threat of "winter coming" and all sorts of viciousness from the other side of the Ice Wall looms large. All in all it's a great series and should secure a prime position on the shelf near the Wire, the West Wing, the Sopranos and your other big box sets. Recommended without hesitation or deviation.
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on January 14, 2013
While I think the comparisons between Martin and Tolkien are pretty overblown, the first few print volumes of the series are better-than-standard fantasy fiction. After the third book, the airplane just circles the airport for hundreds of pages.

The HBO series is a decent adaptation of the first book, with a few events chronologically shifted to accommodate the different medium. There are some characters who don't make the cut, a few who are invented, and some details that would have been nice that are left out. It is well cast, with some nice surprises. I do find a lot of the scenes involve two characters nattering at each other and my attention wanders. It gets easier to follow the second time around.

Compared to the hash that Peter Jackson made of Lord of the Rings, this comes off fairly well. Oh, except for the weirdly unnecessary nudity and sex scenes. Those can be awkward. The violence is graphic and nasty, with the Foley artists going all out with sloshing-buckets-of-blood noises and whatnot. I tend to look away on repeat viewings. Bizarrely, my usually squeamish partner really likes the show and is on about the fourth full viewing. Go figure.

The play count will likely rise, as you get Blu-ray discs, standard DVDs, and digital copies that work through web portals or download into iTunes. This package is a great value and makes the preorder of season 2 a sure thing.

(This is an edit of my firs review, in which I complained about the lack of a digital download. My partner dope-slapped me and downloaded it already. So it performs as advertised. Doh!)
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Few shows have been more eagerly awaited than the arrival of HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's masterful and massive epic "Game of Thrones" (the first in a series). As the books have progressed, however, faithful followers have cried foul as promises have yet to be delivered. But no matter where you stand in that controversy, there is little debate to the majesty and quality of the novel "Thrones"--an almost instant classic in the adult fantasy genre. Multi-layered and ambitious, this sprawling tale charts a powerful story of intrigue, political machinations, and violence amidst the brutal landscape of a nation divided. It is not a production you could approach half-heartedly. To do justice to the novel's intricacies required a massive cast, extensive period sets and costumes, lavish effects and a focused and intelligent screenplay. Well, creators David Benioff (a top notch novelist himself--check out City of Thieves) and D.B. Weiss were up to the challenge and the astute HBO has once again backed a winner. Make no mistake, this is no cheesy kid's story--this is dark and relentless entertainment for people who enjoy quality programming.

At the heart of "Game of Thrones" is the Stark family. Living in relative isolation, patriarch Sean Bean is called to assist the King when a vacancy opens up due to suspect causes. Suspicions have fallen on the King's wife (Lena Headley) and her twin brother (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and there may be further nefarious acts in store for His Royal Highness. When the Stark's young son witnesses something he should not have, a violent act that will have long range repercussions occurs. This, however, is just the jumping off point for a tale with numerous dimensions. There are the exiled Targaryen siblings, a brother and sister who have a claim to the throne and hope to retake the power seat by aligning with a barbaric and powerful tribe of warriors. Bean's illegitimate son figures prominently as well, as a guardian on The Wall preparing for imminent danger. There are so many other peripheral characters and story lines, it would be impossible to delineate them all concisely. There are assassination plots, vigilante justice, court intrigue, various sexual escapades, vicious barbarism, unseen monstrosities, plenty of wolves, family drama, and a dragon egg or two.

Through it all, there is a recurrent theme that "Winter is Coming"--a threat that poses a menace and a danger that may be unavoidable. This show is not for the faint of heart, and should only be considered for age appropriate audiences. As an HBO production, the screenplay doesn't shy away from the gritty violence that this time period and life style would necessitate. I, for one, appreciate the authentic feel to the drama. This show is also not for the casual viewer. It unfolds at its own pace, much like a good novel. It requires both patience and attention to really appreciate just how sophisticated and complex this tale is. It is a grown-up and smart piece!

The show looks absolutely fantastic. Technical aspects of the production are as good, or better, than any comparable feature film. The cast is also uniformly excellent. It would be impossible, again, to highlight everyone in the cast that deserves a special mention--so I'll limit my accolades to Peter Dinklage. As Tyrion Lannister (the black sheep brother of Headley and Coster-Waldau), Dinklage steals just about every scene that he is in. Funny, sardonic, and wise--this Imp (as he's called) has a terrific knack of putting things into perspective. Dinklage has had many great roles in his life--but this is a performance of true star wattage and it netted him plenty of awards including an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor! He is one of the best things in this great presentation. I truly admire and recommend "Game of Thrones" because it never panders. It requires your active participation in the narrative to fully appreciate how well constructed it is--and any show that treats me as an intelligent human being deserves recognition in this age of formulaic TV. Watch it--and read the books (Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings especially are monumental)! KGHarris, 5/11.
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on March 17, 2012
i must admit, this show is full of ups and downs. At one point I almost gave up on it, but i the end it all comes together and you understand that good is rising and winter is coming! The quality of the production is amazing, Blockbuster special effects, and the actors are well cast and good (for a change). One of the most engaging series I have seen in a long time. Because they are following the plot of books, the show never wanders into ridiculous (as so many others have!) It feels like the plot is carefully crafted, intricately woven and going somewhere.

Seeing some of the good characters get beat is hard, but as the plot continues to unfold, you realize the wisdom in that. An old generation is ending so that new can rise up. And in the final episode it all makes sense! Can't wait to see more.

Too bad that HBO doesn't allow you to subscribe to their content online unless with a TV provider. My provider isn't listed so I can's subscribe to their content, which in this modern world just seems wrong. Wonder why HBO doesn't come into the 21st Century? I will have to wait a long time to see the second season. Not a reason to subtract a star from my review, but still !!! Seems like if you are willing to be a paying customer they wouldn't turn you away.
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on March 18, 2012
The series is phenomenal (and true to the book, as others have noted). Rivals Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, it's that good. Don't doubt it. There are plenty of other rave reviews to convince you on here.

The real reason for me to write this review is for the sake of those with a blu ray player that has trouble with the apparently overly complex menu system. A lot of folks are having trouble even getting the discs to load, especially on the later discs. It is not confined to any one brand machine, though some do better than others, and it seems inconsistent at that (you're not guaranteed to have trouble with these discs).

It appears the workaround is to load up disc 1 and then choose the episode you want from there; it asks for the appropriate disc and you eject disc 1 and insert the one you really wanted to watch. It's a bit of a pain, but it seems to work, and it beats the heck out of waiting on and on, staring at a black screen wondering if the disc you want will load up on the first, third, or fourth try or at all. Actually takes far less time, even after waiting through the HBO ads I can't seem to skip at the start of disc 1.

That stated, I still give this set a 5-star review, because even with this annoying flaw, it's still that good. And beautiful on blu. Do not hesitate to purchase this set--the extra features on the blu ray set are just as well done. Rarely do the extras turn out to be so integral to an experience, and rarely do they meet, let alone exceed, your expectations.

Can't say enough good things about this set; just use the menu from disc 1 to load all other episodes on the rest of the set, and you're all good. (Actually, once you have a disc running, you can choose any other episode on that disc from that disc's menu without going back to disc 1; it's getting the darn things to load up initially that is the issue.)

I hope this helps anyone who has been frustrated or was wary because of hearing the discs were buggy or something.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 13, 2012
"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." Frankly, I'd rather play the game of Jenga; the repercussions are less dire. When you hear the term "transcendent television" being bandied about, you must break out that grain of salt. Except that GAME OF THRONES does fit the phrase. It deserves all the plaudits. I've finally caught up with this show, and I am astounded with how good it is. Big ups to HBO for going all in with fantasy writer George R.R. Martin's sweeping saga of warring dynasties and dark magic beyond the border. It's a hell of an undertaking. I'll be emptying out my bin of adjectives.

George R.R. Martin has a knack for making his readers care for his characters, and this seamlessly translates onto the screen, by virtue of exceptional writing, superb production values, and a scintillating cast. The thought and labor that went into the exquisite show opening alone informs you that the showrunners are not effing about.

The canvas spans geographies and numbers a sprawling cast. In a world in which summers span decades and murderous winters can last a lifetime, powerful noble families play the game of thrones. In the chilly north, the undermanned Night's Watch diligently patrols the ancient Wall, safeguarding the realm from demonic elements that stalk the darkness beyond. Except that there's been nary a sighting of these fell creatures in many decades. The Night's Watch, long since fallen on hard times, nowadays tends to be composed of felons, knaves, and vagabonds.

While much of the story takes place in the Seven Kingdoms and focuses on the power struggle between the honorable Starks and the conniving Lannisters, things are developing in the East, in the grassy plains of Essos. There, the son of a deposed king hungers for what once was his inheritance, to the extent that he sells his petrified sister to the warlord of the fierce Dothraki, a clan of nomadic horsemen, in hopes of marshalling an army. From the first episode, ominous clouds of war hover over the Seven Kingdoms.

I can't recall a recent show that's gripped me so from jump. Showrunners/head writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss invest these ten episodes with humanity and amazing clarity. This is a remarkable feat, given the complex characters and dense mythology and the many interweaving plot threads and the huge chunks of exposition. This being a faithful adaptation of Martin's novel, you can't sit easy. Favorite characters may or may not break your heart, may or may not make it to Season Two.

Credit the writers but also credit the actors for bringing their roles to vivid, full-blooded life. I dunno, maybe it's the British accents. Love them, hate them, but each part is nuanced, each character not altogether noble, not altogether depraved. Excepting the vile Prince Joffrey; I really hate that kid, all praise to young Jack Gleeson for eliciting such emotion. I didn't think I could sympathize with Lena Headey's scheming Cersei Lannister but there are moments in which she demonstrates an aching vulnerability (which she then promptly masks). Sean Bean - or "poster boy," to quote one of the showrunners - lends marvelous gravitas to his lead role of Eddard Stark. But, to me, the ones who really stand out are the misfits and outcasts. I love, really love, the clever dwarf prince Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Eddard Stark's feisty tomboy daughter Arya Stark (star-in-the-making Maisie Wiliams) and Eddard's bastard son Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Dinklage so well-deserved his Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

Lastly, we are so lucky that GAME OF THRONES ended up on cable. It it had landed on one of them regular networks, it's probably canceled by now. As it is, Season Two can't have come soon enough. To echo one and all, GAME OF THRONES is a rousing triumph of style AND substance and a dazzling psychological drama. It is magnificently realized and stunningly visualized. And those direwolves are just too damn cute.

This impressive DVD set is boss! It collects all ten episodes of Season One and comes with five discs. The bonus features:

- "Complete Guide to Westeros" - a comprehensive and interactive break-down of the Lands and Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, including character profiles
- "Making GAME OF THRONES (00:30:00 minutes)
- "From the Book to the Screen" (00:05:14 minutes)
- "Creating the Show Open" (00:05:05)
- "Character Profiles" - the cast chats about their roles (00:30:41)
- "The Night's Watch" - an indepth look at the brotherhood of men who patrol and guard the 700-foot ice Wall (00:08:05)
- "Creating the Dothraki Language" (00:05:26)
- 7 Audio Commentaries from the cast & crew (including Lena Headey's awesome - and occasionally blue - commentary)
- Pamphlet w/an episode guide, a family tree of the Houses, and a map of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros
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on August 22, 2013
Game of Thrones is a great series. The Blu-Ray here is a great package. What I would like to add is the Digital Copy provided here is the best I have seen. Instead of providing some lousy Non-HD copy on a disc, you redeem it from iTunes and you got a 1080p HD version of it as well. I think this is a great value and a great convenience.
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