Addio Commentary: Getting Physical with ‘Game of Thrones’

When it comes to HBO’s award-winning juggernaut Game of Thrones, I’ve always been a stubborn bugger.  Despite its acclaim and significant imprint in pop culture, it was an elaborate Middle Ages fantasy that didn’t interest me.

I tried giving it an honest go.  My wife, a keen and loyal fan, was brushing up on previous episodes before the release of the show’s final season.  And after pitching me a convincing case as to why I should watch it, I decided that a belated trip to Westeros and Essos was due.  But, blimey, was it tough.  The unfolding story circling the politics of different kingdoms and dynasties was too thick to invest in, and I found myself failing to keep up with it.  After a few episodes, I threw in the towel.

With the show wrapping up this past May with a divisive and highly controversial season, the entire series is now available on DVD and Blu-ray (along with extensive special features) for your holiday shopping needs.  The set is a great resource, and the perfect opportunity to give the show another chance.  And after reading my wife’s recent review defending the final season of Game of Thrones upon its digital home release, I was intrigued.

So, here I am.  Sitting on my couch, binging countless episodes on Blu-ray, and I’m having a sincere turning point – I’m hooked!  The expanding plots, the ensemble cast, and the technical aesthetics all contribute to an epic story that I now find a lot more interesting than ever before.  So, what happened?  Why the change of heart?

I genuinely believe HBO’s crisp transfer on these Blu-rays is what ultimately won me over.  The delicate visual and audio presentation help highlight the specific details in the set and costume design, and makes each episode feel cinematic and important in its own right.  It no longer feels like a show that exists in the vast shadow of the Lord of the Rings trilogy – it stands out because of the production’s own commitment to the material and its own brand of entertainment.

This epiphany may be preaching to the choir for those who watched each season in HD on HBO, or those who have binged the show on streaming platforms.  But as we all know, especially during live streams on Crave this year, the perfect connection does not exist.  Physical media, while cumbersome in this day and age, still proves to be the better option when watching television and movies.  In the case of Game of Thrones, differentiating between character arcs and kingdoms is not only more comprehensible through this pristine transfer, but it also showcases the show’s creative merits.

And if this fantastic complete set can restore my faith, just think of how it’ll make the most dedicated followers feel.  It might even have the power for haters to rethink that final season.

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