Game of Thrones Season 4 DVDs Are All About the Dying

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We are all Peter Dinklage now. In the just-released Game of Thrones The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray and DVD, Dinklage reveals that since the show began the producers have clued him into the ups and downs of his character Tyrion Lannister, the unfairly maligned imp of Westeros. (Ups? Almost single handedly saving King’s Landing from invasion. Downs? Choking the love of his life to death.) But in Dinklage’s audio commentary for last season’s finale, he admits that after murdering his father on the privy and catching the last boat out of town while stuffed into a crate, he has no idea where his character is heading. For a show that set a new standard for killing off beloved characters with little warning, the audience has always been in that same boat, feeling less than even-keeled.

The show’s fifth season starts April 12, and there are five books out now (at least two more are planned). But plots and characters have been mixed and matched from the books for the series, so you might know what happens if you’ve read the books, but never sure about the when. For characters who have moved onto one of the seven heavens this past season, the best bonus feature in this Blu-ray/DVD set provides a little catharsis.

“The Fallen: A Roundtable” gathers together the actors whose characters died in season four, among them Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon), Rose Leslie (Ygritte) and Sibel Kekilli (Shae). In a panel moderated by writer Bryan Cogman, the actors explain when they found out their characters were going to be killed, how they prepared for their scenes and the impact their demise had on the show. Dance found out how Tywin died from a fan on the street who had read all the books, but Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell) knew the arc of his character when he was hired. His death was easily one of the most gruesome as he attempted to defend Tyrion in trial by combat with The Mountain, and the second most shocking so far. (The devastating end of Lady Catelyn and Robb Stark in the Red Wedding from Season 3 still stings more than any others.)

Other bonus features include a detailed look at the Battle for the Wall, an epic episode-long fight between the Night’s Watch and Wildings (comparable only to the defense of King’s Landing in “Blackwater” from season 2). Only on the Blu-ray: a nifty in-episode guide featuring a “Histories” button that branches off to animated videos narrated by the show’s characters. (There’s also a blooper reel, but you can catch that on HBO’s Game of Thrones website, too.)

Even the actors can’t use the books as a surefire guide to their characters’ fates. Night Watch ranger Grenn (Mark Stanley) was slain in the penultimate episode of Season 4, even though the character is still alive in the books (he found out about his death while reading the script.) As director Alex Graves says in his commentary for finale “The Children,” as Arya is sailing off on her own ship away from Westeros, every ending is a new beginning. Or at least a cliffhanger to tempt you into the next season.