Tag Archives: Michelle Fairley

Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray

Game of Thrones Season 3

Now available on DVD and Blu-ray, Season 3 of ‘Game of Thrones’ contains a shocking plot twist its executive producers call ‘a watershed moment.’

Fans of HBO’s fantasy blockbuster Game of Thrones learned a long time ago to expect the unexpected, but if you didn’t catch Season 3 of the series – which was released on DVD and Blu-ray earlier this week – brace yourself. Among these 10 episodes lies a plot twist that redefines the tem “game-changer.”
Even if by some miracle you managed to avoid spoilers as to the nature of this shocker, chances are good you know something major happened, because HBO Home Entertainment has been liberally using footage in its TV commercials that purports to show Game of Thrones fans jumping out of their skins when they saw the original broadcast in 2013.
Season 3 contains several very important story lines and plot developments. In Kings Landing, insane and inbred King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) finds his petulant power curtailed somewhat by the return of one of the few men who doesn’t fear the nasty little twerp: Joffrey’s grandpa, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), who also makes life even more difficult for his put-upon son, Tyrion (Emmy winner Peter Dinklage). What Joffrey also fails to realize, however, is that a secondary threat has entered his court in the person of Lady Margaery Tyrrell (Natalie Dormer), whose own grandmother (the great Diana Rigg) is a masterful politician in her own right.
Much farther to the north, Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and his widowed mother, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), make peace over their recent differences and set upon devising a scheme to shore up the family’s dwindling army of allies in the face of renewed threat from the Lannisters.
Meanwhile, across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) blossoms into a true queen as she assembles a formidable army of her own with a little help from her dragons.
The bombshell (don’t worry, no spoilers follow) arrives in the penultimate episode of the season, entitled “The Rains of Castamere,” named after a song associated with the Lannister clan. The new Blu-ray set includes an insightful 46-minute featurette called “The Rains of Castamere Unveiled,” in which executive producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, as well as principal cast members and various members of the crew, offer fascinating insights into how this crucial episode – and what Weiss calls “a watershed moment” – was structured and executed.
“Everything changes after this point,” Benioff says in his commentary. “Ned’s (Sean Bean) death was so pivotal at the end of Season 1. Even though there have been many big moments since then, there’s nothing that compares to (this).”
HBO’s 5-disc Blu-ray set, which contains copious other special features and background material, is, as usual, state of the art in technical terms. With Season 4 of Game of Thrones set to premiere on April 6, this release offers a welcome opportunity for fans to refresh their memories as to details in the labyrinthine plot even if they caught Season 3 during its original run last spring.
'The Rains of Castamere'

A scene from the Season 3 episode ‘The Rains of Castamere.’

Lady Catelyn Stark ‘Suits’ up tonight

Patrick J. Adams and Michelle Fairley
I’ve been a huge fan of Suits ever since the USA Network legal dramedy made its debut in 2011, but I’m especially thrilled that season three of the series, which begins tonight, includes two popular alumni from HBO’s megahit Game of Thrones.
Michelle Fairley – who played fan favorite Catelyn Stark until her character went to the worst wedding ever in the most recent Thrones season – joins Suits tonight for a story arc as Ava Hessington, a British petroleum executive facing bribery charges relating to an undisclosed oil spill, whose fate rests in the resourceful hands of Harvey Spector (Gabriel Macht), the shark-like star litigator at the newly christened Pearson Darby law firm. The case comes to Harvey via newly installed senior partner Edward Darby (Conleth Hill, who continues to play wily Lord Varys on Game of Thrones), the British entrepreneur who last season helped Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) fend off a hostile takeover by longtime nemesis Daniel Hardman.
Unfortunately, the collateral damage of that merger included the workplace bromance of Harvey and his protégé Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams, who, like Macht, now is a co-producer on the series), which foundered when Jessica blackmailed Mike into undercutting Harvey’s attempt to block the merger. As this season opens, Harvey is gritting his teeth and continuing to work at the firm, but he’s still hurt and angry that Mike stabbed him in the back.
Meanwhile, Mike has another big challenge on his hands with girlfriend/coworker Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), who is seething after Mike confessed to her in the season two finale that his Harvard law degree is completely bogus. Her hostility is fueled by the realization that he has been lying to her for as long as she has known him, as well as the fact that, in her eyes, his phony Ivy League degree grants him a professional pedigree she has sought long but unsuccessfully herself. And now Rachel has the means to destroy Mike’s career completely.
In other words, series creator Aaron Korsh, who wrote tonight’s teleplay, has aligned several story elements this season that look both promising and provocative. Add to that the supremely funny supporting work by comedy MVPs Sarah Rafferty as Harvey’s fiercely devoted secretary, Donna Paulsen, and Rick Hoffman as fussy firm partner Louis Litt and you have the makings of potentially the best Suits season yet.
For fans of the show who want to enhance their Suits experience even further, USA Network today launches Suits Recruits: Class Action, a multi-platform social game in which players assume the role of first-year associates at Pearson Darby, where they deal with office power struggles and intrigue while helping to solve a new case. You can get started in the game by visiting www.suitsrecruits.com. At the end of each day’s game, the interactive fun continues on Twitter, where fans can “chat” with the show’s characters in real time.
SUITS -- Episode 112 -- Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network
Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams, from left

New on Blu-ray: ‘Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season’

HBO’s epic mega-hit Game of Thrones returns for its third season on Sunday, March 31, and if you’re like me, you’ll want to refresh your memory as to the complicated events and conflicts that have led us to those new episodes, via HBO Home Entertainment’s release today of the show’s complete second season on five discs.
The beautifully engineered set is flush with special features, but first, a brief overview of the drama itself, which opens in the politically charged aftermath of the season-one murders of both King Robert Baratheon and his right-hand man, Eddard “Ned” Stark. Currently sitting on the Iron Throne as monarch of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros is vicious young Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), whose nightmarish reign is threatened by widening (and accurate) rumors that he is actually the incestuous spawn of Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and her twin brother, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
The late King Robert’s sane and gentle-natured younger brother, Renly (Gethin Anthony), has wide popular support in his quest to unseat Joffrey and claim the throne, but Renly’s ruthless older brother, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) sees himself as the rightful heir and has aligned himself with a powerful priestess who commands dark magical powers. To the north, Robb Stark (Richard Madden), Ned’s son, has united his own strong army hellbent on protecting the autonomy of Winterfell and its environs, while his half-brother, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), ventures north of The Wall to investigate unnerving rumors that a new leader has arisen among the unpredictable wildlings of that region. Far to the east, Daenerys “Dani” Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) reaches the oasis city of Qarth, where she guards her three dragon hatchlings and plots her own return to power.
Back in King’s Landing, it falls to little Tyrion Lannister (Emmy winner Peter Dinklage), the true moral voice of Game of Thrones, to find some way to protect Joffrey’s subjects from his sadistic whims and keep his unstable nephew from permanently tarnishing the reputation of the Lannisters.
Things come to a head in episode 9, wherein Tyrion leads Joffrey’s army in a desperate defense of their city against a massive army that is bolstered by sorcery, a taut hour scripted by Game-master George R.R. Martin himself.
You’ll spend more than nine hours just watching the events of the story as they originally aired on HBO last season, but you can easily invest even longer exploring the dragon’s hoard of special features included in this set. As the story unfolds, an in-episode guide lets you click and get background information on the characters, locations and background of the scene you’re watching, and each episode also includes audio commentaries by various members of the creative team, along with cast members including Dinklage, Clarke, Harington and Alfie Allen, whose rash, hotheaded Theon Greyjoy has a major storyline of his own.
There’s also a roundtable discussion in which Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) and Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth, a new character) join Clarke, Harington and Headey for a chat offering a behind-the-scenes perspective on the season, as well as a short documentary on the staggering logistics that went into creating the Battle of Blackwater Bay in episode 9. You’ll also find a fascinating feature on the religions of Westeros, which begin to assume greater prominence during this season, a comprehensive interactive guide called “War of the Five Kings” that will help you follow the complex political and military forces at work, and an engrossing section called simply “Histories and Lore,” 19 animated histories detailing the mythologies of this world as told from varying perspectives of the characters themselves. The only downside of these supplementary material is that you’ll find yourself falling down the proverbial rabbit hole and losing several hours before you know it, so be sure to set aside adequate free time before you start exploring.