This is the most watched ever series on HBO and one of the best received in the history of television. The twelve Emmys it won after this season was a new record. Game of Thrones over five short seasons has become the most talked about and influential series on television. They continue down this path in season five.
Reviews like this try to keep things short while enticing potential viewers. While at the same time revealing as few spoilers as possible. To that end, my job is made much easier by the writers in that there are so many stories going on within the ten episodes this season it is impossible to talk about them all without going on for pages and pages. Without going much into the details of the story of season five let me warn you that you that it once again proves that the viewer can never get too comfortable while watching it. The expected rarely happens in this series and that is what makes it great. Big characters are killed off and storylines are introduced without a second thought of upsetting or shocking those watching. It is unpredictable and that is what keeps you coming back. That, plus the excellent cast, realistic sets and costumes, strong dialogue, and sure handed direction.
The dysfunctional Lannister clan continues along its unsavoury and unconventional way. Cersei (played by Lena Hedley) settles into her role as the Queen Mother while brothers Jaime (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (played by Peter Dinklage) tread their paths a little more unsurely after the death of their father (played by Charles Dance). The Lannisters are not the only ones having problems. Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) is also undergoing an adjustment period as Queen. Jon Snow (played by Kit Harrington) finds himself caught between two kings. Arya (played by Maisie Williams) arrives in a new place and struggles to adapt. Sansa (played by Sophie Turner) finds herself in a position in which she is going to have to ask for help. In the end we are literally left hanging off a cliff.
The tale becomes more and more jam-packed with each passing season. In the end things become a little too strained in parts while others are a bit too forced but this is just nitpicking as for the most part it is thoroughly engrossing.
Episode 1 The Wars to Come with Director Michael Slovis, Director of Photography Dave Franco and Ciarán Hinds (Mance Rayder)
Episode 2 The House of Black and White with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) and Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne)
Episode 3 High Sparrow with Production designer Deborah Riley, Costume Designer Michele Clapton, and Director of Photography Anette Haellmigk
Episode 4 Sons of the Harpy with Director Mark Mylod, Writer Dave Hill, Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon)
Episode 5 Kill the Boy with Director Jeremy Podeswa, Director of Photography Greg Middleton, Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton) and Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton)
Episode 6 Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken with Writer Bryan Cogman, Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H’ghar)
Note: There is no commentary on the seventh episode.
Episode 8 Hardhome features three commentaries:
- Director Miguel Sapochnik, Stunt Coordinator Rowley Irlam, Kit Harington (Jon Snow), and Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane)
- Visual Effects Producer Steve Kullback, Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Bauer, and Producer Chris Newman
- Director of Photography Fabian Wagner and Camera Operators Sean Savage and David Morgan
Episode 9 The Dance of Dragons features two commentaries:
- Director David Nutter, Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont)
- Executive producer Bernadette Caulfield, Director of Photography Rob McLachlan, and Camera Operators Ben Wilson and David Worley
Episode 10 Mother’s Mercy with Executive Producers/Writers David Benioff and D.B Weiss, Director David Nutter, and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister)
– A Day in the Life (1080p; 26:01) featurette that aired on HBO and involves behind the scenes footage as well as interviews.
-New Characters/New Stories (1080p; 7:41) a focus on the new characters brought into the fold.
-Anatomy of an Episode: Mother’s Mercy (1080p; 29:33) is a a look at the season’s final episode.
-The Real History Behind Game of Thrones features some interviews with George R.R. Martin:
Part One (1080p; 18:13)
Part Two (1080p; 22:00)
-Histories and Lore discuss the following subjects:
The Seven Pointed Star (1080p; 3:26)
The Faith Militant (1080p; 5:05)
Volantis (1080p; 4:18)
Braavos (1080p; 5:35)
The Faceless Men (1080p; 2:17)
Winterfell (1080p; 2:36)
The Lord Commanders (1080p; 3:23)
-The Dance of Dragons (1080p; 20:27) a look at one of the important mythologies of the series.
-Deleted Scenes (1080p; 7:59)