by Haresh Patel
So there we were in the warm, velvety snuggle of Dolby’s flagship demo-room, getting all settled in for some bombastic mayhem of the Blackwater episode of Game of Thrones.
The trillion-Emmy winning GoT saga has remained undiminished over its series, gathering more audience numbers as it gallops along through the worlds of the edges of Eastern Europe and Western Europe. I mean Westeros and Essos. Its effect on European tourism stands next to the LoTR series’ effect on New Zealand. Except with more drinking.
All the bloody bits, slashy bits, naughty bits, sweary bits, rapey bits and torture bits have kept the punters and the critics thoroughly engaged in what the boundaries of broadcast drama should be. The current decade of TV has been a high watermark of episodic TV, taking into account the modern visual literacy and very-internet age. GoT has often been criticised of all the things listed, especially the rapey bits, but the audience numbers recount a different response, hitting a peak of 8 million viewings in the US alone, excluding the rest of the world, illegal copies, repeat bingers and all that.
Anyway, back to our super-comfy seats.
We settle in to the award-winning title sequence, enveloped by the new sound mix. It really does open the vista sonically, making Dolby’s best movie setup on earth that much more delicious and detailed. The Blackwater episode revolves around the epic assault on the Blackwater stronghold and the culmination of many subterfugerous plotlines. This episode is directed by Neil “The Descent” Marshall, a dab hand at slash and burn, and he keeps it all moving at a tense, efficient pace. He only had a week from the phonecall to get going, and a month to shoot the episode. Marshall’s can-do spirit did him well, and eventually gained him a nomination for the Watchers On The Wall episode.
Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, I won’t kill it trying to explain what happens in Blackwater. It won’t really make sense without some background catching up. But suffice to say the tension in the build-up to the grand battle, the uneasy sexually violent undertones from the women characters and the manly double crossing all looks great on the big screen. The Atmos mix envelops you in the flying mayhem beautifully, Private Ryan-style; explosions and voices are rendered in all their full-fat trouser-flapping glory.
Season 1 and 2 Steelbook Collectors sets will be released in Dolby Atmos on Blu-Ray on October 26, 2015 and seasons 3 and 4 to follow in the new audio format early next year.