As we brace ourselves for the season 6 finale of Game of Thrones tonight, a re-watch of previous seasons is definitely in order. If you’re even a casual watcher of Thrones, you’ll delight in watching the show on (the currently available) HBO Collector’s edition steelbooks. Crammed with special features and released with Dolby Atmos audio technology, even fans of author George R.R. Martin’s source novels will find goodies here (and foreshadowing clues as to what may occur in the show’s upcoming final two seasons is definitely an added bonus!).
As a quick refresher, season 4 covered the second half of Martin’s A Storm of Swords but also encapsulated parts of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. For non-book readers, perhaps the Purple Wedding, the Watchers on the Wall epic battle and Oberyn Martell’s Inigo Montoya-esque dual with the Mountain will jog your memories with some graphic visuals.
Without further ado, here are our top five reasons you should add the Collector’s edition steelbook to your home entertainment library.
- The episodes themselves! Let’s face it, until the recent Battle of the Bastards episode in season 6, no fight scene has been as riveting or thrilling as the episode-long Watchers on the Wall battle in episode 9 of season 4. (Spoiler alert) Ygritte (Rose Leslie) met her untimely end in the arms of her on-again/off-again love Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the giant rode a wooly mammoth into battle (!), and fan favorite couple Sam (John Bradley-West) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) reunited. And that’s just one episode!
- Bloopers! As the seasons of Game of Thrones have gone on, there have been less and less comedic moments as the death count has increased and the stakes have been raised for our beloved characters. Thankfully, the blooper reel (and commentary tracks, see below) are replete with moments of levity from actors whose characters’ circumstances are rather dire on the show (most notably Charles Dance’s Tywin Lannister). By now we’re all familiar of the gif of actors Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Tyrion and Jaime Lannister, respectively) dancing, but here we finally get to see the full fun outtake.
- Commentary Tracks! Almost every single episode of the season is accompanied with an insightful commentary track. As a longtime reviewer of blu-rays/DVDs, we can’t recall the last time we saw this on a home entertainment package. The aforementioned Watchers on the Wall episode even has two commentary tracks. Our personal favorite pairings were the (real-life couple) Rose Leslie/Kit Harington, (real-life best friends) Maisie Williams/Sophie Turner, and the rollicking Lannister siblings Peter Dinklage/Lena Headey/Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s commentary tracks (each of these groupings in different episodes, of course).
- Behind the battle for the Wall! In an illuminating 37 minute featurette, we’re taken behind the scenes of the epic battle. If you watched the episode and marveled at how the visual effects team put together a fight scene of such magnitude, now you can see the full scope of it all. Personally, the highlights were hearing the actors’ love-hate relationship with the enclosed Castle Black set, watching the director literally push actress Rose Leslie up the wall (she laughingly admits that she couldn’t climb at all), and hearing the crew members in awe of Harington’s fighting abilities (“he’s a modern day Errol Flynn”).
- Learn the histories of the characters and their houses! In the Histories and Lore special feature, there are 16 vignettes where you are given an in-depth illustrated guide of either a character or a different character’s house, as narrated by the highlighted character (for example, there’s House Baelish and The Kingsguard-Jaime Lannister as two different options). Even those well versed in the various histories will find out tidbits they weren’t previously aware of. Out of all the special features on the four discs, these vignettes were our favorite by far.
Game of Thrones Seasons 1-4 Collector’s Edition Steelbooks are currently available.