HBO has announced it is going to extreme measures to ensure there will be no Game of Thrones leaks this year. Last spring, Christmas came early for Game of Thrones fans when the first four episodes of Season Five were leaked onto the internet early by a morally questionable media-person (Game of Thrones fans’ favorite kind of person). Most fans celebrated by calling in sick and binge-watching all four episodes with the glee of any Ironborn raider pillaging a village. Other, less piratically inclined fans chose not to watch any leaked episodes, either in order to support HBO or to appreciate the slow and sedate pace of an episode a week, which some viewers claim help them appreciate each episode more. Needless to say, these paragons of self-control suffered as Game of Thrones spoilers exploded across the Internet and pervaded everyday conversation. Of course, those who indulged in the leaked episodes had to wait five more weeks for new material after their first feeding frenzy, so there was turmoil on either side, not even considering the panic and upset that no doubt occurred in HBO meeting rooms. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. And it will probably never happen again.
Needless to say, the broadcasting company is taking no chances this year. Recently an Entertainment Weekly article revealed that HBO is not releasing any early screening material for Season Six of Game of Thrones to anyone. This is a dramatic step to take, as usually, it is common practice with TV shows and other media to supply critics with an advance copy of at least some material, so that they can release reviews before or as soon as the material is released to the public. It will be interesting to see how this affects Game of Thrones’ marketing and reception, but ultimately it seems unlikely that the show will suffer much because of this measure. While we all love instant gratification, and perhaps even the thrill of ill gotten gains, in the end this decision is a win-win for everyone. Fans will not be able to ruin each other’s experiences with unwanted spoilers, and most importantly everyone on the cast and crew of Game of Thrones will be able to get their hard-earned profits, which in turn ensures that the show will be able to continue.
So, no, you won’t be getting any visions of the future a la Bran, this year, but you’ll also get the satisfaction of uniting with an enormous group of people across the world to see the same material at the same time, with the guarantee of no spoilers to ruin the experience. Instead why not pick up Game of Thrones season 5 on Blu-Ray and watch the special features all day.
What do you think of HBO’s choice to crack down on leaks this year? Comment below!