If you don’t already know about HBO’s Game of Thrones, shut off the computer and run to the couch–you have a lot of watching to do.
There, now that we’ve weeded those folks out we can get on with the discussion at hand. This behemoth “high-fantasy” series is about to air its third season, and with that they’ve released the second season as a box set. It’s not just the episodes, though–the set comes with some awesome new extras from the HBO vault.
First off, let’s have a little recap. This season corresponds approximately with George R.R. Martin’s “A Clash of Kings,” of the novel series that is the basis for the whole series. Here we still find Daenerys Targaryan (Emilia Clarke) vying for the throne from which she and her brother were exiled, this time with dragon hatchlings in tow. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and the Night’s Watch trudge on north of The Wall, finding shelter where they can, and meeting some individuals that have pretty influential roles on the story’s progression.
The Starks are scattered throughout several regions, and it’s hard to be certain of any of their futures. One gets the feeling that a terrible disaster is looming throughout the season. So many characters are introduced in this season that it would be impossible to recount much here without giving away crucial details, but suffice it to say that Season 2 will leave your nails bitten down to the bone.
Weaving, expansive plot lines aside, there are some other pretty cool features to get stoked about with this box set. A short featurette on the destinations used as filming locations for the series tells the viewer anything they’d like to know on the subject, including how they get these locales to resemble the fictional places from the books. Interviews with the cast and crew give enlightening firsthand testimony of what it’s like to be on set at these places, and they give credence to those who work hard putting such exquisite detail into each set piece and costume. The sets used are built using real timber and animal skins, so there’s nothing set-like about it. One particularly interesting difficulty the crew encountered was building a full castle and making it appear as though it had been in ruins for ages.
Another featurette included with the set discusses the obstacles faced by those coordinating the fights and stunts that appear in the show. Incorporating new and exciting moves and filming techniques are ever-present challenges for the stunt coordinators, but working on one of the highest-budgeted television productions ever must have its perks. Working with the estimated largest cast ever for a television series must be pretty difficult as well, but working in exotic locales and on such a powerful piece of culture is likely a substantial reward.