What to expect in the awesome Game of Thrones season 3 Blu-ray set

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Feb 18, 2014, 3:17 PM EST

We're giving away three copies of Game of Thrones' third season on Blu-ray. Here's why you should want it.

Today's the day that season three of the biggest fantasy series on television hits Blu-ray and DVD, a month and a half ahead of its much-anticipated return for a fourth go-round. Game of Thrones fans are likely buying the season three box set in droves already, but for those of you who can't spend the money (or simply don't want to), or those of you who simply dig getting things for free (And hey, who doesn't?), there's a chance to win your own copy of the set right now, courtesy of Blastr. To learn how to win your very own Game of Thrones season three set, click HERE. If you've already entered our giveaway, or you just feel you need more incentive, stick around for a look at why this is a box set any fan of the show simply can't miss. 

Game of Thrones has never shied away from the rich mythology at the heart of its story, but while the detailed history of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond is certainly not hidden when the show airs on HBO, it's far from complete. To get a clearer picture of the extreme level of detail behind this epic fantasy saga, you can read George R.R. Martin's novels, you can visit fan sites and wikis, but you can also turn to the lavish appendices that have accompanied every home video release of this series so far. The creative team behind the series knows that they're not telling you everything in the episodes that air, but they're more than happy to unload all the backstory and mythology you could ever want on the box sets, and once again, season three is rich with these little details that major fans of the series will eat up. 

But you're not about to simply read a long strand of dry facts. Just like the backstory that's unloaded in the series proper, the backstories told on the Blu-ray set are rendered not through simple text and images, but through stories told by the characters themselves. From the "Roots of Westeros" feature, which traces the history of each major region in the Seven Kingdoms to, the "Histories & Lore" feature that breaks down major parts of the show's mythology, you're sure to get a thorough education in Thrones lore, and it's made more impressive by the participation of the cast. You don't just get to hear the history of Slaver's Bay. You get to hear Jorah Mormont himself (Iain Glen) tell you the history of Slaver's Bay from a very personal perspective. You don't just get the history of the Wargs. You get Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) telling you the history of the Wargs. You don't just learn about the past might of the North. You learn about the past might of the North from Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), and all of these tales are rendered in beautiful animation that very often looks like the pages of an illuminated manuscript come to life. With every passing season of this show, HBO is more intent on giving us supplemental material that feels less like DVD extras and more like a lush, overstuffed companion to the story itself, and that's always rewarding for fans who want to keep digging deeper.

But the sense of depth doesn't stop at the show's mythology. This show is also happy to give us a detailed look behind the filmmaking that goes into these epic episodes. There are only 10 episodes in season three, but this set comes packed with 12 commentaries from the show's cast and crew, including the always-entertaining commentary by the Stark Children -- Hempstead-Wright, Sophie Turner (Sansa) and Maisie Williams (Arya) -- as they giggle their way through episode six. These commentaries not only provide plenty of insight into the creative process on these episodes, but they also provide what's very often a much-needed sense of levity. Game of Thrones may be a grim show, but commentaries like this prove the people involved have a hell of a lot of fun making it.

But the behind-the-scenes insights don't stop there. The show's attempt to make special features that delve deep into the filmmaking process reaches new heights with "The Rains of Castamere Unveiled," an intensive dual-screen experience that features interviews with the cast and crew that play alongside the now-infamous "Red Wedding" episode. With each new story beat in the episode, you hear insight into how it was conceived, why it matters, and how it was shot, from the opening moments to the final, climactic brutality. If you really want to get inside the heads of the people who make this show, it doesn't get much better than this.

Even in an age when luxurious special edition Blu-ray sets are common, Game of Thrones keeps churning out uncommonly detailed sets with each passing season, and season three is the best yet. So, come on, you know you want. Enter our giveaway and sate your need for more Thrones awesomeness. 

(Advance review copy of Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season courtesy of HBO)