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HBO Home Entertainment

“I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I’m guilty of being a dwarf.” Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)

Review by Mike Bax

While browsing for some merchandise in a store a few months ago, the clerk working noticed my House Targaryen touque, and commented that I was backing the wrong house. I asked her, ‘which house is the right house?’ and she only smiled. That’s the real genius behind Game Of Thrones – figuring out who to root for. If nothing else, this might be THE crux of Game Of Thrones – a wonderful HBO series based on a magical string of books by George R.R. Martin.

Loyalties and allegiances ebb and flow throughout Season Four. Every time you think the creators can’t pull off another shocking turn of events, something will happen that causes jaws to drop. When asked to describe Game of Thrones to friends who aren’t watching the series, I usually turn to descriptors like: “It’s a show like no other”, “Don’t get to used to ANYONE” and “It’s a show that always leaves you wanting more”.

Without giving away anything significant (a sacrilege I dare not commit), this season delivers on numerous plot lines that have been on the verge of boiling over. There are even more deviations from the books that work wonderfully in this season – high praise coming from a puritan looking for the most faithful Game Of Thrones televised adaptation possible.

Season Four of Game Of Thrones is arguably the show’s best season yet. Every episode is stuffed with interesting goings-on. Following the Season 3 Red Wedding, Season Four gets right into the repercussions spilling out of the nuptials. No one is safe in Game Of Thrones. Characters come and go throughout the show, and Season Four is no exception. Pound for pound, I think more people die this season than in any other. The Blu-ray featurette ‘The Fallen: A Roundtable’ showcases this over a 30 minute roundtable hosted by co-producer/writer Bryan Cogman, with the key cast members whose characters died in Season Four (not really a spoiler, as it’s RIGHT on the back of the Season Four packaging). This was one of my favourite things about the Blu-ray quite frankly. The dialogue between the actors provides insight into their acting process, their character development, and the rapport they all share with each other and the show itself

Like all three previous seasons, Season Four’s ninth episode is a show-stopper. A 37-minute featurette on Blu-ray entitled Behind the Battle for the Wall exemplifies this nicely, and is a wonderful accoutrement for fans of the show to enjoy.

The energy and pace of Season Four rivals Season One, which I believe is the most accurate and dedicated adaptation of a body of work ever committed to film. Everything seemed enhanced in Game of Thrones Season Four. The writing, acting, direction and overall energy throughout Season Four is amazing, setting a high precedent for the April 2015 premiere of Season Five.

Like its predecessors, the Blu-ray release of Game of Thrones Season Four is a thing of genuine beauty. Presented in 1080p/AVC-encoded video, the beautiful picture and sound made me question WHY I bother watching Game of Thrones as it airs. I usually find myself nit-picking about the broadcast quality of the first run series, catching myself saying, “Oh, that’s going to look stellar on Blu-ray.” There are no real flaws that I could find with this Blu-ray presentation at all. Some of the Season Four scenes lit only by candles looked phenomenal, showing no banding or artifacting at all. Each episode in Season Four had instances that let me down on initial broadcast, and the Blu-ray made each and every instance an utter joy to re-watch.

April and the debut of new Season Five Game of Thrones episodes simply cannot come soon enough.

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