As if you needed reminding, HBO‘s Game of Thrones is a huge hit. So huge that its recently-concluded sixth season captured an average of 25 million viewers per episode accounting across all platforms (like HBOGo, HBO NOW, DVR etc.), up 5 million from the previous season’s average. It remains the most watched series in HBO history. And while season 7 will arrive shortened and later next year, HBO is releasing the home video of season 6 sooner than ever, with the network revealing details on the extras. It will be available as a digital download on August 1 and as a box-set Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season on November 15.
In all, 40 percent of Game of Thrones viewers watched the show on digital platforms, with HBOGo and HBO NOW constituting 91 percent of that, opposed to last season. It’s more proof of the hold Thrones has on the zeitgeist. With only two seasons and 13-15 episodes total left, it looks like the showrunners, barring some creative nosedive, will get their wish to leave on top.
There will be no shortage of Thrones goodness in the meanwhile. First up, its Comic-Con week, with the panel on Friday afternoon (covered by moi) so expect news there and there are the plethora of special features on the season 6 DVD/Blu-ray. On the Digital HD download release there are:
- Bran’s Journey – A nine-minute feature delving into the shocking and revelatory journey Bran Stark took in Season 6.
- The Dothraki World – Behind-the-Scenes featurette bringing viewers up to speed on the Dothraki culture, not seen since Season 1.
- Inside Game of Thrones: Prosthetics – Behind-the-Scenes featurette detailing what goes into the show’s prosthetics creation.
- The Game Revealed – Five-part series covering the creation of Season 6’s most epic set pieces and scenes.
On the DVD, there are:
- The Battle of the Bastards: An In-Depth Look – Behind-the-scenes piece examining the production challenges of creating this epic event, including explorations of VFX, stunts, and interviews with key cast and crew.
- Recreating the Dothraki World – Behind-the-scenes piece looking at the creation of Vaes Dothrak and its importance to Dany’s evolution.
- 18 Hours at the Paint Hall –Follow all three shooting units as they converge in this behind-the-scenes snapshot of a day in the life of the largest show on television
The Blu-ray will have everything from the DVD, plus these Histories & Lore videos (uniquely animated vignettes narrated by actors in-character describing and offering insights on the lush, rich backdrop of Westeros).
- n-Episode Guide – Dig deeper into the show with this in-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories.
- Histories and Lore – Learn about the mythology of Westeros and Essos as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves in 18 history pieces.
- The Old Way: narrated by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk)
- The Kingsmoot: narrated by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk)
- The Sunset Sea: narrated by Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk)
- War of the Ninepenny Kings: narrated by Brother Ray (Ian McShane)
- The Great Tourney at Harrenhal: narrated by Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick)
- Robert’s Rebellion: narrated by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)
- Vaes Dothrak: narrated by Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)
- The Dothraki: narrated by Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)
- Northern Allegiances to House Stark: narrated by Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)
- Children of the Forest vs. the First Men: narrated by the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow)
- Brotherhood Without Banners: narrated by Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye)
- Oldtown: narrated by Grand Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover) and Qyburn (Anton Lesser)
- House Dayne: narrated by Young Ned Stark (Robert Aramayo)
- The Little Birds: narrated by Lord Varys (Conleth Hill)
- Knights of the Vale: narrated by Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish (Aidan Gillen)
- House Tarly: narrated by Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner)
- Riverrun: narrated by Brynden ‘the Blackfish’ Tully (Clive Russell)
- Great Sept of Baelor: narrated by the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce)
In addition to four deleted scenes (only four? from the whole season? either they’re holding back or they literally used almost all their material), there’s 13 (13!) commentaries. It’s well-distributed choice, as the episodes that double up on commentaries are universally agreed-upon as the season’s best – (Hold) “The Door,” “Battle of the Bastards” and the finale “The Winds of Winter.”
- Episode 601, “The Red Woman”: Director Jeremy Podeswa, Director of Photography Greg Middleton, and Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne)
- Episode 602, “Home”: Writer Dave Hill, Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), and Ben Crompton (Dolorous Edd)
- Episode 603, “Oathbreaker”: Director Daniel Sackheim, Production Designer Deborah Riley, and Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon)
- Episode 604, “Book of the Stranger”: Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), and Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm)
- Episode 605, “The Door” (2 commentaries): Gemma Whelan (Yara Greyjoy), Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy), Ellie Kendrick (Meera Reed), and Kristian Nairn (Hodor); Prosthetics Supervisor Barrie Gower, Camera Operators Chris Plevin and Ben Wilson, and Executive Producer Bernadette Caulfield
- Episode 606, “Blood of My Blood”: Director Jack Bender, Director of Photography Jonathan Freeman, John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), and Hannah Murray (Gilly)
- Episode 607, “The Broken Man”: Producer/Writer Bryan Cogman, Ian McShane (Septon Ray), and Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell)
- Episode 608, “No One”: Director Mark Mylod, Essie Davis (Lady Crane), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)
- Episode 609, “Battle of the Bastards” (2 commentaries): Director Miguel Sapochnik, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), and Kit Harington (Jon Snow); Director of Photography Fabian Wagner, Visual Effects Producer Steve Kullback, and Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Bauer
- Episode 610, “The Winds of Winter” (2 commentaries): Executive Producers/Writers David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister); Special Effects Supervisor Sam Conway, Camera Operator Sean Savage, and Producer Chris Newman
Read our theories on what will happen in Game of Thrones season 7 and check back Friday for coverage of the Comic-Con panel.