Commenting on the critics with Simon Columb…
Russ Fischer, for /Film, writes a post titled “First Pressing of Game of Thrones Just Became A Collectors Item”:
“Unless you’ve been offline for the past few days you’ve likely read about the fact that, in the final episode of the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, former President George W. Bush makes an appearance as a decapitated prop head on a stake. It’s a minor cameo — no one seemed to notice when the episode originally aired (on June 19, 2011) or when the season hit DVD (on March 6 of this year).”
Read the full article here.
To summarise, on a commentary track, producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss described that “it wasn’t a political statement”, but merely a simple case of using whatever “heads” they had around. At any rate, the future releases of the series will remove the offending article somehow.
I would assume things like this happen all the time, so this is not my main concern. I am more interested in the ‘Collectors Item’ that Fischer deems the ‘first pressing’ of Game of Thrones has become.
When DVDs were first released, I had very few videos. I saw DVD as my opportunity to ‘collect’ all the films I wanted to see, own and understand. I used to place a lot of value, and to some extent I still do, on ‘Collectors Editions’, ‘Special Editions’ and those-tin-boxes-that-look-brilliant. In fact, only recently I bought the Jurassic Park trilogy on Blu-Ray. Of course, I didn’t get the standard cardboard sleeve, I purchased the tin-box. Which included stickers. And postcards. And little drawings that cost nothing to make, but somehow make me feel like I have bought something special. Did I buy it on the first day of release? God no. I bought it from CEX for only £25 (Nb – it is not printed anymore and the few copies left in HMV cost £60 each).
I have come to realise that all these ‘editions’ mean nothing – they only mean something to me alone. All these products are mass-produced and whether they are on sale or in customers possession, the fact remains that hundreds – indeed, hundreds-of-thousands – of copies exist. And, with this in mind, they will never be seen as ‘rare’ unless people start throwing them away.
As a good example, pre-Blu Ray, when Disney produced the back-catalogue, I vividly recall the Special Editions available for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Beauty and the Beast. Not only do I recall the items on sale, but I remember when they disappeared off-sale and the craze of eBay dictating their worth – £50 and upwards. And that was through a bidding war. Amazon Marketplace would give you the opportunity to buy them for £75 each without any argument. And I personally recall considering the purchase (so naive…). For some reason, the value of these – and the hype created around their “unavailability” – gave the products an extreme value. Until Blu-Ray…
As previously mentioned, CEX (a UK-nationwide swap-shop) has become extremely successful in recent years as the temporary nature of DVDs and games has truly come to the fore. On a recent visit, as I scanned the items, I noticed on the children’s aisle the ‘rare’ Beauty and the Beast DVD. Double-disc, cardboard-sleeve and rare artwork. £15. Not even the regular retail price (As I recall, £24.99). Nobody will throw it away – instead, they will get a couple of pound from the swap-shop and leave it at that. It wasn’t even the only one on the shelf.
Fischer seems to highlight the change for future editions, as if it is similar to the ‘Inverted Jenny’ stamp. I really don’t think Game of Thrones’ very forgettable shot of George W. Bush will be a must-see facet to the series. Indeed, watching the clip on YouTube, it is difficult to tell it is even him. Blu-Rays and DVDs are produced world-wide and on a mass scale. With the industry of swap-shops thriving as more products are constantly created, and owners update their collections and sell-off previously owned copies, it seems everything will be continually recycled.
The first series of Game of Thrones won’t become ‘rare’ (it has been available since March) – it will merely be a ‘fact’ to discuss over a drink with friends. I doubt many DVDs and Blu-Rays have such a value – and I doubt many ever will. I have a feeling that most film collectors will use it as an excuse for owning a copy – when deep down, we all know, it’s just another DVD on the shelf.