Game Of Thrones: Season 2

Game Of Thrones: Season 2 (2012)
HBO Home Video
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Richard Madden, Emilia Clark, Michelle Fairley, Kit Harington
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Featurettes, Episode Guides

After the first season of "Game of Thrones" wrapped with a finale that left viewers absolutely breathless, HBO Entertainment is now bringing the second season of the acclaimed fantasy TV series to Blu-Ray. Without hesitation we were ready to dive right in and see how the epic struggle for the Iron Throne of Westeros would unfold.

Season 2 of "Game of Thrones" picks up exactly where the first season ended, at a point in time when after the untimely death of King Robert, the Seven Kingdoms are once again splintering and each of the kingdoms attempts to put their own king on the Iron Throne to rule all of Westeros. In some way or another, each of these struggling kings has a legitimate claim to the throne – all, except for the man who actually sits on the throne – the usurper, boy-king Joffrey Lannister.

With independent armies being raised in all corners of the realm, soon the fighting begins, as opposing factions collide and try to eliminate their competition. But ultimately, everyone's eyes are set on King's Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne, and a siege of the city by one army or a number of them is inevitable. Who will prevail?

Meanwhile, rumors solidify, telling of an uprising high in the North, behind the Wall, where Westeros ends. But it is not the talk about another army being raised in the snowy highlands that unsettles the people of Westeros so much as is the talk of the re-emergence of the White Walkers, monstrous creatures from ancient legends. And then, of course, there is also talk of the return of dragons, fire-breathing beasts that had disappeared for hundreds of years.

George R.R. Martin's fantasy series of novels has been in good hands once again. Although the series feels a bit slow at times with dialogue that goes on just a little too long at times, the overall story is engaging throughout. The acting, the sets, the costumes and effects are mesmerizing and easily on the same level as any Hollywood movie out there. If there are points of contention, for me, it would be the excessive amount of violence in the show as well as the amount of pornography. The series needs neither, and yet, the visuals are gorier than any George Romero zombie movie, and the show seems to have an edict that every episode has to feature at least 5 minutes of full frontal nudity. I am sorry to say, but I am missing the point. The series would be every bit as powerful if it would not press its lens in every gory detail and the entrails falling from eviscerated bodies, or constantly linger on sex scenes just a few extra, gratuitous moments. It appears to me the "Game of Thrones" simply tries to be sensational for its own sake, trying to push the envelope for no other reason than to show that it can, because none of it helps the story, the characters or the viewers' attachment to the material.

HBO is dishing out "Game of Thrones" in the same beautiful packaging as the first season – only with gold lettering this time. Offering up the series on fiveBlu-Ray Discs, the transfer quality is superb throughout. With incredible detail and colors that truly pop, the presentation is absolutely marvelous, bringing the epic story to life like you would not believe. THere is a hint of noise evident in some of the truly dark scenes in candle-lit dungeons and interiors, but other than that, the image will knock your socks off, no doubt.

The same is true for the release's audio presentation. Arriving in DTS HD Master Audio format, the audio is dynamic and aggressive, making constant use of surround channels and putting the format's superior dynamic range to good use at all times.

The release coms with a number of bonus materials, including commentary track on select episodes and a wealth of background information on the characters, the history and the world of Westeros. Naturally, there are also featurettes covering the making of the show, including a look at the battle of Blackwater Bay, one of the key moments of the entire season.

I'm a fan of "Game of Thrones" and this second season delivers the goods better than I could have hoped for. With a magnificent presentation, a stellar cast and well-written scripts, the show is a complete winner, making me feverish to see the emerging third season. If you're a fan of historical fantasy, there is no doubt that "Game of Thrones" has to be a part of your Blu-Ray collection.