This post will specifically be mentioning plot points for the third and fourth episodes of the fifth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The reasons for talking plot points will be obvious. If you’re not caught up on the series, I recommend that you do so, since the show is great, and there’s no need to read my tale of woe.
(In fact, I won’t be dropping any future spoilers from the books, not of any book events that haven’t happened yet on the show, but I’ll be mentioning some differences which the spoilery-very-sensitive might not want to know… you know who you are, it’s your call to keep reading.)
A few weeks ago, I posted an article talking about the screener leaks of the first four episodes of this season’s Game of Thrones. That post was only vaguely related to the show, I was focusing on how people viewing the illegal material were describing their activities in show-related terms.
As I mentioned in that post, while I was developing that article one of the Game of Thrones reporters I follow on Twitter announced that someone was spamming out details from the leaked episodes. And shortly after, I was the lucky recipient of one of those tweets.
Since the episodes hadn’t been aired yet, I included heavily redacted images of the warning I received and of the actual spoiler tweet itself. But now that the final early-release “Sons of the Harpy” episode has aired, I wanted to talk about the leaks in more detail. Just because I find the entire situation fascinating.
If you have no interest in reading about this I totally understand. Also, if you’re not up to date on the current season, what are you doing reading this? Stop and enjoy the series. This is a precious moment where even book readers familiar with A Song of Ice and Fire can be shocked or surprised by twists and turns on the television show.
I’ll provide an image of my dog Chi Chi, to stand as spoiler space warning, to give you a chance to exit this page safely. Spoilery details for the show will follow after her adorable face. (You’re welcome.)
Spoilers and Expiration Dates
Let’s work up the timeline. Before the season started up, HBO made standard-definition screeners available for reviewers to get a preview of the first four episodes. The Thursday before the premiere weekend, those four episodes were leaked on torrents sites and made available in the wild.
There are worse things in life than having a television show spoiled, I know. And there was a short duration that spoilers would be in play. Once the first episode aired, someone who didn’t wish to be spoiled just had to be nervous for three weeks. Theoretically, one could just check out of the Internet for three weeks and be safe. I’m kidding. Obviously that would be torture. Right?
I’ve read the books, and in general the slight deviations that the show has taken have not been that big a deal. In general, it hasn’t been hard to guess how the show would cleave back to the book series’ narrative. But this season was advertised as having significant changes from the books. We book readers had a chance to be in the dark somewhat, and to be honest, I’ve been a bit envious of my show watching friends who were experiencing the story firsthand on Sunday night HBO.
So, I was hoping to be surprised.
Well, that’s a bummer, I thought. There were a handful of replies to her tweets, including someone really concerned about being spoiled, fellow reviewers who were now planning on finishing the screeners so they wouldn’t be spoiled, and general commenters expressing regrets about spoilers floating about. I left my own reply:
And then I received this tweet, immediately:
Now, maybe it serves me right. In my reply, I did compare this person “Arta” to someone worse than the Freys. I’d like to humblebrag and pretend I was targeted because I have a Game of Thrones blog, but not even my dad would believe that. I’m convinced that because I commented on Joanna’s thread, I got to enjoy my own slice of spoiler pie.
I wasn’t the only one. As I mentioned, one of the repliers was very concerned about being spoiled:
They also got a tweet from Arta with the spoilers. How do I know that they did? I’ll get to that in a moment, but I wanted to comment on some things I’m doing in this post, in regards to Twitter handles.
In general, I’m pixelating out the Twitter handles and images of the people involved because, I don’t know, I guess I’m trying to be respectful of them, to not just expose it to anyone not willing to dig deeper. Twitter is wide open, so if anyone cares, they can just go to Joanna’s Twitter page and get the first-hand story.
I’m not redacting Ms. Robinson’s details, because she’s as unbreakable as Kimmy Schmidt and can handle herself in Twitterspace, dammit, but I felt that without some kind of verifiable reference point this article would just be me talking a lot of smack.
So, why aren’t I redacting out all of Arta’s information? I was on the fence about this. I don’t really owe them anything, I am a bit annoyed at them, etc. and I wanted to have something to call them, so I opted to pixel-out their official Twitter handle, but include their screen-name for me to have something to refer to.
And I didn’t see a need to reward their Twitter account with attention. I mean, why give them exposure and advertising?
(Before I stand too tall in the saddle of the high horse I’ve climbed on, I totally reveal Arta’s account information in a different but related post, where I talk about reporting them to Twitter, and how I feel about that. It’s up to you if you want to read about those details.)
If half an onion is black with rot, it is a rotten onion.
Melisandre might disagree with me since she’s all about the extremes, but I felt Arta wasn’t doing a great job spoiling, only half-way spoiling. Okay, if I want to be mathematical, this was only 75% spoilery.
I’m a book reader. I don’t care if someone is going to give me book details.
- Sansa marrying Ramsay (not Ramsey) Bolton – that’s a spoiler. Although since we’d seen Sansa in the crypts of Winterfell in trailers, and since it was unlikely we were going to get Jeyne Poole suddenly introduced pretending to be Arya Stark, there had been speculation along these lines already.
- Grey Worm dying – that’s new. And that’s IF he’s dead. Since Arta gave me the unwelcome heads up, I was expecting how the fight would play out, but I’m not ruling the Unsullied out, yet.
- Barristan Selmy dying – that’s new too. It seems more likely that Ser Barristan won’t survive. I wasn’t expecting either of them to die, and probably would have been shocked by the fight’s outcome had Arta not clued me in. Harrumph. But in general, these two had been on “who’s going to die this season?” lists, since GRRM had implied that the show runners were going to be reaping a lot of still-living characters from the books.
- Jon Snow beheading Janos Slynt – that’s not a spoiler. Something like “Janos Slynt beheading Jon Snow” would have been a spoiler, man. But Jon takes off Lord Slynt’s head in the books.
It was just weird that it wasn’t all new show-material details. My assumption is that Arta isn’t a book reader. I could certainly be wrong, but in most things, book readers have been pretty good about keeping shocking details quiet. And I’m not saying that because I think book readers are noble or whatever. I think there might be an evil joy obtained from observing the shock of the innocent show watcher.
Is Arta engaging in some kind of Revenge of the
Sith Show Watcher wish-fulfillment? I have no idea. But Arta was certainly on a roll in their quest to spoil.
The Thrilling Twitter Investigation (thrilling is perhaps the wrong word…)
As I mentioned before, Twitter is wide open. The first thing I did, after sending Arta a reply –
-was to go to their Twitter page, and check out their tweets/replies. This is how I found out that they’d sent spoilers to the account of the person who had been angry and scared of getting spoilers, and had said as much in reply to Joanna’s original alert.
Along with many other accounts. It was quite interesting. Particularly because Arta opted to seed in a fake spoiler at one point. “Danearey” (we’ll cut Arta slack on spelling, since they can’t handle Ramsay) experienced nothing like a sexual assault in the episode.
I could go on and on.
Over the course of April 18 and 19, I think I counted sixty or so people who received more or less the same spoiler info. Reviewers, celebrities, companies, NFL athletes. It was quite a diverse group.
And then it stopped. I can only assume that Arta wasn’t getting the attention they wanted? Or they’d spammed just the people that they wanted? I don’t know. I’m just glad they stopped.
In general, I don’t even know if Arta and their spoiler-spam was worth the afternoon it took to compose this post, or to obtain and redact the tweets appropriately, etc. It just seemed like a thing to do. And now that’s done.
The television show has now caught up with the screeners, so the Spoiler Defcon level has returned back to normal. And by that I mean that show watchers can continue to live in fear that book-readers will send them tweets full of spoiler details.
So, when A Dance with Dragons comes out… I’m reading that bad boy immediately. And will be avoiding Twitter until I’m done. So don’t waste your time, Arta. (Whom I’m blocking anyway, obviously.)
But in general, Arta. Ease up. Was it really worth it? Hey, I’m so serious about wanting to know, here’s a poll. A spoiler-spamming troll poll:
(Comments are always welcome. Super welcome! But if you want to talk spoilery Game of Thrones talk with me (also welcome) I’d invite you to visit my Safe Spoilers page on my backup blog. That way my non-book-reading friends won’t be shocked with foreknowledge.)
Most Images from HBO’s Game of Thrones (obviously.) The image of Luke and Darth Vader is from Return of the Jedi, one of the apocryphal Star Wars movies that were made after Empire Strikes Back. The picture of Chi Chi belongs to me! (Although my wife or daughter might have taken that photo. To be safe, I recommend that if you use it, you use it for non-commercial purposes.)
I make no claims to the artwork, but some claims to the text. So there. Well, obviously not the tweets that I was featuring that didn’t originate from me.
If you liked this article, thank you! I have all of my Game of Thrones related articles on my handy-dandy Game of Thrones page should you want to read more but don’t want to navigate around my site. Most of my articles are about the show, and not about some troll spamming stuff about Game of Thrones. This post was somewhat atypical of my usual style.
© Patrick Sponaugle 2015 Some Rights Reserved