8:00am PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones': Five Secrets Revealed on the Season Five Blu-Ray
There's more than a month left before Game of Thrones returns to HBO, but as with all things in Westeros, the past remains ripe for exploration.
That notion is on full display with this week's arrival of Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season on Blu-ray, containing countless behind-the-scenes features and additional story material to bolster the events of HBO's Emmy-winning fantasy series. Among the highlights: Robert's Rebellion in fuller detail, Stannis Baratheon's fate revealed, and further insight into the creation of every episode of the season, from the lips of the cast and crew to fans' ears.
Here are five of the greatest reveals on the new Blu-ray set:
1. The lore of the land
The season five Blu-ray continues the tradition of seasons past, including a series of "Histories and Lore," videos detailing important historical events and world-building terms, narrated by fan-favorite characters. The latest lineup includes new information on the Faceless Men and Greyscale, elements of the world that became important in season five, and are poised to become even more powerful in season six. The most alluring feature, however, focuses on Robert's Rebellion, told through the eyes of the late Barristan the Bold — a man whose loyalty to Rhaegar Targaryen should speak volumes about the prince's character, current reputation in history notwithstanding. Yet another hint that the popular fan theory R+L=J holds water.
2. The Dance of Dragons
Indeed, the long-ago horrors inflicted upon Westeros matter very much in the present day of the show, particularly where it concerns House Targaryen — the royal family once at the heart of the Seven Kingdoms, now whittled down to a lone Khaleesi in the east. But long before Robert's Rebellion, the Targaryens did their best to wipe each other out, as evidenced in the "Dance of Dragons" feature, which chronicles a civil war that nearly snuffed the dragon-riding family out forever.
3. The reality behind the fantasy
George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels on which Thrones is based, appears alongside historians in a feature called "The Real History Behind Game of Thrones," which is exactly as advertised — a deeper dive into actual events that inspired Martin's saga. It should prove enlightening for anyone still holding a grudge against the author for the ruthless Red Wedding, which owes its roots to true ceremonial slaughters of the past.
4. Scenes from a memory
The creators of Thrones aren't just ruthless with their characters, they're ruthless with their scenes as well. More often than not, scenes that don't make it to air never existed at all, but the ones that do exist often make it to the Blu-ray's deleted scenes section — which is exactly where you'll find a stone-cold stare-down between Alliser Thorne and Tormund Giantsbane, for one, or an awkward exchange between allies Daario Naharis and Grey Worm, for another.
5. The king is dead
One of the kings, at least: Stannis Baratheon, the square-jawed military commander from Dragonstone, seemingly died at the end of season five, moments after making decisions that led to the deaths of his daughter, his wife and most of his army. Now, there's no seemingly about it. In an exclusive THR clip from the "Anatomy of an Episode" feature, it's revealed that Stannis did indeed die at Brienne of Tarth's hands — or sword, rather — despite the somewhat ambiguous nature of the scene. Consider that one possible "resurrection" off the table headed into season six, as if it were ever truly in the mix.
Watch the scene in the video below:
Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season is available now. Season six premieres on April 24. Keep up with all the Game of Thrones overage at THR.com/GameOfThrones.