Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Game of Thrones
The Complete Fifth Season


Starring: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Aidan Gillen and Charles Dance
Distributor: HBO Home Entertainment
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 14 March 2016

The powerhouse that is the Game of Thrones continues to thrill audiences not only with its nudity and brutality, but also with the engrossing character storylines. While many may think of it as a fantasy story, it remains about the pursuit of power and what people will do to gain and hold on to it.

Game of Thrones's [GoT] fifth season 5 released on DVD and Blu-ray. Like the previous season the run consists of only ten episodes, which may not seem a lot, but this is television which often out performs more expensive cinema releases - effectively you getting ten mini films a season.

Season four had finished on a suitably tragic note: Tyrion, on trial for his life, escapes and murders not only his lover but also his father, before fleeing and Arya walks away from a dying hound. Jon Snow is slowly taking control of Castle Black in an effort to save Westeros from the inevitable invasion of the white walkers and across the narrow sea Daenerys Targaryen is discovering that it is one thing to have dragons, it is another to control them.

Season five opens with The Wars to Come and for the first time the show dips into its own history opening with a flashback to a young Cersei Lannister visiting a witch wanting to know her future. As any viewer of GoT, we all know that so far the throne has cost her one child, with an uncertain future for Tommen, as he is too young to be king.

Across the ten episodes we are introduced properly to Dorne and its people as well as follow the paths of the show's main characters, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Cersei (Lena Headey), Arya (Maisie Williams) Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). Of course there are many more good actors in the show, unfortunately far too many to list, but season five does add to the roster with such fine actors as Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell and Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow.

The fifth season is notable for more than just expanding the world, it also represents the point at which the series will start to, more meaningfully, diverge from the books, as the show surpasses all that has been written. Not only that, but it is the start of the show embracing its fantastical fantasy elements. The dragons are more on show; the battle with the white walkers at Hardholme was effective as anything seen in The Walking Dead as the walkers unleash an army of zombies. On the other hand Tyrion boat trip through the ruins of Valyria would not have looked out of place in a Tolkien novel.

With so much happening to the characters, it would be a hard sell to persuade anyone to start the story with season five and I suspect that I would be mostly preaching to the converted, fans of GoT will undoubtedly already own the first four seasons.

The season set comes on five discs, with full length commentaries for all the episodes. New Characters/New Locations (7 min, 22 sec) introduces the new location of Dorne, which to be fair was not that much used. The Real History Behind the Game of Thrones - Part 1 (17 min, 29 sec) and Part 2 (21 min, 06 sec) discusses with both historians and Martin the historical events and places which influenced the writing of the story.

A Day in a Life (24 min, 58 sec) takes a look at just one days filming of the show, which takes place in many locations, from Northern Ireland to Spain and just what that means logistically for the most expensive and ambitious show ever made. Anatomy of an Episode: ‘Mothers Mercy' (28 min, 21 sec) looks at how an episode is created from initial writing to post production. There are also four deleted scenes (7 min, 40 sec).

As the storylines split apart and re-join it is easy to feel that season five was a little bitty in places but as an on-going experience there is little out there that can touch it for both wow and shock value.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Amazon Video
iTunes GB
Digital Download