This year Winter came early, as the terrible news hit the internet that the first four episodes of Game of Thrones leaked online.
How this happened, nobody can confirm just yet, although the leaked episodes seem be have come off screeners that HBO distributes to official media houses and publishing companies. HBO has launched a full investigation into the matter. My feeling is that because the show appeared to be getting an international release this time (and not delayed as usual), somewhere within that global distribution network, the episodes leaked.
But that is pure speculation, and not at all what this post is about. I’m actually here to help you deal with the emotional anguish of a pre-season leak of your favourite show. Your options are as follows:
Option 1: Watch the episodes
The Plan: I’ve been reading a lot of comments saying that people will respect the show runners, writers, producers and actors enough to pirate the show after each episode airs. Yes, because we all know that GoT is the most pirated HBO series ever. But those of us with less self control have likely already seen the first four episodes and are experiencing the problem I discuss below.
The Problem: Brace yourselves. Withdrawal symptoms are coming. You’re going to love that ~4 hours you spend watching those four glorious episodes in sub-standard definition, because you’ve missed these characters and this universe so much.
But no, once the credits roll, you’ll sit there with that feeling like you just had make-up sex with an ex you should never have gone back to. It’s going to suck, and you’re going to have to deal with it for 4 weeks.
And all you’ll be able to do during that time is sit and re-watch the episodes, or re-cap older seasons. Good luck enjoying that as much as a fresh new episode each week!
Option 2: Don’t watch the episodes
The plan: Let’s face it, as a true Game of Thrones fan, you’d feel shit about watching those 4 episodes, even though you can barely contain yourself.
You know how much effort goes into this magnificent production, so you’ll respect the people working on it enough to wait until the official release.
The Problem: Just make sure you also don’t use social media at all. Actually, just disconnect your internet entirely and go and live in a hole for 4 weeks, because there will be spoilers everywhere.
Actually, your entire social life is literally over, because somewhere, someone will have a spoiler from the first 4 episodes of season 5 of Game of Thrones, waiting just for you!
Option 3: Speed-read the books
The Plan: In case you love the internet too much to give it up for a couple weeks, your other option is to simply speed-read all of the books in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire‘ series.
Yes, that’s the book series on which Game of Thrones is based. Five books have been released so far, and there are a total of seven planned in the series.
The Problem: There are about 1770000 words in the 5705 pages of A Song of Ice and Fire that have been published so far. It has however been rumoured that this season will divert from the books further than any other season before it, as Martin takes a step back from his involvement in the TV show to continue writing his 6th book.
There’s also a ton of cross-over with the 3rd, 4th and perhaps the 5th books as they translate from page to screen, so you may just spoil yourself unwittingly.Out of your 3 options, this one is least recommended of all, unless you just want to evolve into a book reader in general.
The Conclusion: When you play the Game of Leaks, you win or you die. In essence, leaks suck. They suck for the network and the sustainability of the show, they suck for media and publications generating buzz on a weekly basis around episodes, and most of all, they suck for viewers who just want to enjoy one of their favourite shows in the way it was supposed to be viewed!
Check out more of my ramblings about Game of Thrones:
About the Author: Stephen doesn’t feel comfortable talking about how he handled the Game of Thrones leak, because the whole experience has caused him way too much anguish.