Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the seventh season of this engaging and compelling HBO Series based on the bestselling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

93

Details:

Studio and Year: HBO – 2017
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Feature running time: 437 minutes
Genre: Drama/Action/Adventure/Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Lain, Spanish, Castilian, Polish, Brazilian, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Nikolai Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Iain Glen, Alfrie Allen, John Bradley, Jerome Flynn, Liam Cunningham, Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Conleth Hill, Aiden Gillen, Conleth Hill, Sibel Kekilli, Maise Williams, Rose Leslie, Diana Rigg, Gwendoline Christie, Rory McCann, Jim Broadbent, Tom Hopper, Megan Parkinson
Directed by: Various
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Written by: D.B. Weiss & David Benioff based on the “Song of ice and fire by George R.R. Martin
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 12, 2017

“Winter is Here”



My Take:

In Season 7, Daenerys Targaryen has finally set sail for Westeros with her armies, dragons and new Hand of the Queen, Tyrion Lannister. Jon Snow has been named King in the North after defeating Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards and returning Winterfell to House Stark. In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister has seized the Iron Throne by incinerating the High Sparrow, his followers and her rivals in the Sept of Baelor. But as old alliances fracture and new ones emerge, an army of dead men marches on the Wall, threatening to end the game of thrones forever.

I was late the Game of Thrones phenomenon and didn’t begin watching it until season three. I haven’t read any of the books so my exposure to it going into viewing season three was limited and held only to what I had heard from friends that have been following from the outset. Needless to say, it was a challenge trying to put the various storylines, characters and their correlation or lack thereof together. Once I began putting the pieces and associations in place I was able to begin absorbing the show’s cache of characters and the multitude of subplots. I have since seen all of its episodes and am completely hooked.

Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, Games of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season is a compelling and at times shocking experience that proved to be one of the series best ever. The series continuing story rolls onward playing out over the course of the season. This season things are coming to a boil. There are various narrative threads that come together as reunions, alliances, payback, betrayal, the deaths of key players, and a pretty meaningful revelation, take place, putting the pieces in place for the chess game that will decide the outcome. All of this under the looming threat of the Army of Dead. I found each episode to be a little better than the next as the engaging character interaction, bold drama, and wonderfully infused action underscored the series excellent thematic elements. The ending was among the series best, leaving the door wide open for the series final season’s key storylines, which are poised to take shape.

This season features returning cast members Peter Dinklage(Tyrion Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Aidan Gillen (Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Diana Rigg (Lady Olenna Tyrell, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont). New cast members for the seventh season include: Jim Broadbent, Tom Hopper, and Megan Parkinson. Ed Sheeran guest stars in one episode.

Season seven’s seven episodes are spread over three BD-50 dual layered Blu-ray discs. The integrated bonus material contains featurettes, extended and deleted scenes, and audio commentaries. The set comes housed in an attractive fold out keep case and sturdy cardboard slipcover.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The show contains graphic violence, language, sexual content, graphic nudity and strong thematic material.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialogue Reproduction: 
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
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Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
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  • Entertainment factor: 

Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season comes to Blu-ray Disc from HBO featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.

This high definition video presentation offers clear, refined images that primarily boast a relatively subdued color palette that is rarely eye catching but conveys the earth tones and time period specific clothing, locals and sullen complexions with aplomb. There are instances where deeper more vivacious hues are utilized and their presence is not only welcomed but their application is purposefully vivid and boldly stated. The rendering of fine detail can range from exquisite to moderate. This leaves certain long range and mid-level shots with less dimensionality but not to the point of appearing soft. Black levels fluctuate however contrast is stable which when coupled along with the prevailing use of low level lighting mates well with the visual style of the presentation. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts/anomalies and felt that this high definition presentation closely mimicked and bested the series’ original broadcast quality.

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack isn’t bombastic or overly aggressive but that doesn’t prevent it from being remarkable. Its attributes come in the form of superlative high-level detail, defining clarity, and subtly distinctive surround sound that doesn’t disappoint. This is a sophisticated sound design that incorporates a vast number of sounds/effects that are intricately mixed to engage the listening position. Bass can be deep and room energizing but never rises inappropriately in prominence. The mix expertly handles the delicate blend of music, discrete/ambient sounds, crystal clear dialogue and low frequency effects as it weaves an aurally stimulating pattern across the soundstage.

Game of Thrones is the first TV series released on Blu-ray to incorporate Dolby Atmos. Having seen previous seasons, with Dolby Atmos, and being familiar with this season’s events, I looked forward to seeing what the mix had in store. I found this offering to more active than previous offerings, utilizing the entire soundstage quite nicely. Game of Thrones has elements of action/adventure as well as moments driven almost entirely by dialog. The show features a variety of interior and exterior locations/sequences containing a host of recorded sounds/effects designed to replicate its environs.

The Atmos mix uses the entire soundstage placing audio objects in the form of discrete on and off camera cues, or convincingly replicating the echoed expanse of a great hall, overhead pans, rollicking battleground exchanges, and the howling winds of winter. The music score is beautifully mixed over the platform so as to add natural dimension and prioritization to its orchestrated elements while complimenting the story’s thematic details. This is done to very good effect, correlating with the onscreen events quite nicely as the most minute audio cues are fully realized. The Atmos mix retains the soundtrack’s essence while adding a noticeable increase in scope.

Bonus Features:

  • Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms-From the Game of Thrones realm comes the never-before-seen story of the tumultuous events that shaped the world of Westeros for thousands of years before the series start. Cast members Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister),Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger), Conleth Hill (Varys), Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) team up to narrate the animated telling of Aegon Targaryen’s attempts to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, written by show writer Dave Hill.
  • From Imagination to Reality: Inside the Art Department-Extensive two-part featurette detailing the astonishing work of Production Designer Deborah Riley and her Art Department, dissecting the process behind the creation of this season’s incredible new sets, including Dragonstone, Casterly Rock, Highgarden, the Dragonpit, and more.
  • Fire & Steel: Creating the Invasion of Westeros-Revisit this season’s most pivotal moments with this behind-the-scenes featurette, including interviews with key cast and crew breaking down how fans’ favorite moments were created.
  • Audio Commentaries-Commentaries on every episode with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Jacob Anderson, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, and more.
  • Histories and Lore-7new animated pieces that give the history and background of notable season 7 locations and storylines including The Dragonpit, Highgarden, Prophecies of the Known World, the Rains of Castamere and more all narrated by cast members including Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen and more.
  • In-Episode Guides-In-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters and locations.
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

In season seven of the HBO original series Game of Thrones, which is based on the bestselling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin, familiar faces will forge new alliances to bolster their strategic chances at survival, while a growing threat makes for the impetus under which enemies will be forced to stand together or face annihilation. Season Seven from HBO looks and sounds terrific, with a complimentary Dolby Atmos mix that brings an added dimension to the show’s presentation, while fans can spend time perusing the assortment of worthwhile bonus features that enhance the experience on Blu-ray. Game of Thrones is an entertaining and compelling series that continually pushes the envelope. This complete season seven set comes recommended for fans looking to brush up on or revisit last season’s storylines before the premiere of season eight.

Ralph Potts
online-shashki Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems