That Time I Got Spoiled About Game of Thrones

Posted: May 5, 2015 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones, Opinion, TV
Tags: , , , ,

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.)

RedactedSpoilerAlertAndSpoiler

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.)

sadpug

Don’t Get Spoiled! And Call the Police! The Humans are Giving Me a Bath! The Fiends!

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?

RamsayReek

Oh, I seem to have unplugged the Wi-Fi again, Reek. How thoughtless of me…

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.

On April 18th, Joanna Robinson (who writes about Game of Thrones for Vanity Fair, and co-hosts two podcasts about the show (a non-spoilery and book-spoilery one)) tweeted out this alarming news.

SpoilerAlert

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:

MyReply

And then I received this tweet, immediately:

TheSpoilerToMe

Boom. Spoiled.

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:

AlertResponsesMia

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.)

Mostly-Spoiled

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-Winterfell-Crypts

Sansa: I hope Ramsay’s not down here. Or Arta with spoilers…

  • 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.
Ser-Barristan-Selmy-en-Grey-Worm-543x361

Grey Hair and Grey Worm. Together They Fight Crime!

  •  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.
Janos-Slynt-beheading-Offical-HBO-630x419

Wait! I’m a book-spoiler, not a leaked screener spoiler! I SHOULDN’T EVEN BE HERE!

  • 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.

darth-vader-luke

Tell me again, how Obi-Wan assured you that the Viper could not lose to the Mountain.

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 –

SpoilerRetort

-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.

Spoiler16

Spoiler14

Spoiler10

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.

The Aftermath

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

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Comments
  1. Snoskred says:

    I’m trying to think of a time I was spoiled and it annoyed me.. but I don’t think it ever has annoyed me. In fact sometimes I spoil myself deliberately. 🙂 This might be a living in Australia weirdness, though.

    I don’t Game of Thrones. I know, I probably should, I’ve seen bits and pieces of the show and it doesn’t grab me or interest me. I will likely deeply regret this at a later time, but for now I’m ok with it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My wife still tells the tale of when she was in line to see The Empire Strikes Back, on its first release. While she and her friends were in line, someone drove by the line of movie-goers yelling [SPOILER ALERT IF YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT STAR WARS….

      …]

      “Darth Vader is Luke’s Father!!!!!!!!!!!”

      I can of use that as a benchmark for spoiler feelings. It seemed like a really dramatic big deal, and for her not to experience it as a moment of shock in the movie was, okay, not the worst thing in the world, but it was a let down. (So much so, she talks about it every so often… 35 years afterwards…)

      Hey, thanks for the feedback, I’m happy to hear everyone’s opinion on spoilers and their relationship with wanting to know details ahead of time. My daughter notoriously looks up stuff on TV shows we’re going to watch (like LOST, and so on. I don’t understand her…)

      Like

  2. lrocke says:

    My twitter account is on private for personal reasons and I don’t have tumblr, so I managed to stay show unspoiled. So I can say that the last fight scene was incredibly tense because I had no idea what was going to happen. People who spoil things on purpose are the worst, and my brother (who hasn’t read the books) asked me if it’s true that a certain character dies. That incident hasn’t even happened in the show yet, so while it’s reprehensible that people were spoiling things from the first four episodes, they were also using that cover as a way to spoil things that happen later in the series, if they happen at all.

    One thing that annoys me is that the writer or one of the producers did an interview with EW and then one of the writers at Vox.com put it up on their site, so I now know Barristan’s fate. I feel like if it wasn’t definite in the episode, it would have been answered the week after, so there was no need to do that interview.

    Alan Sepinwall over at HitFix has been spoiled on the show so many times by either book readers or people who just look everything up on AWOIAF. I think there was someone tweeting at him whose handle was @joffreydiesathiswedding or something like that, and a genuinely innocent person emailed him to ask why Stannis didn’t show up at the end of “Watchers on the Wall”.

    On a personal note, I am guilty of spoiling myself on things, and it’s really difficult to watch LOST unspoiled. I mean I knew there was a hatch, and there were numbers and that Michael Emerson’s character WASN’T called Henry Gale, but I’ve tried my hardest to stay away from specifics.

    Like

    • You’re completely right about the end appearing to be a cliffhanger, and then at least one of those men’s fates being confirmed… kind of mixed signals there…

      Thanks for the feedback!

      Like

  3. Avi123 says:

    People who spoil are assholes, pure and simple. Sorry that this happened to you Patrick.

    It would be cool to hear your thoughts on what they did with Barristan and the Unsullied. Personally I was shocked like I’ve been so many times watching this show, but for the first time it wasn’t in a good way. I can grudgingly accept that Barristan would fall to so many knife-wielding thugs due to sheer numbers, but I will not accept that the scene was purely there for shock value and made no sense in terms of writing. Why would you hype up this guy for 4 entire seasons, only to have him cut down ~10 hoolligans and then fall? It felt like he had a greater part to play in the wars to come.

    Barristan’s actor appeared on Thronecast (this discussion show on Sky Atlantic in the UK) and said when he saw his schedule was 5 weeks instead of the usual 8 this season, he knew there was something wrong and even tried convincing D&D not to kill him off. That there was so much more he could’ve done. It’s disappointing Walking Dead-esque shock value writing.

    All this though I can accept. But to watch a good chunk of Unsullied being defeated in frontal combat by a group of fanatical knife-toting crazies, without the Unsullied retreating down the corridor from which they came (so at least they could fight more in the open courtyard and the spears would be more effective I’m guessing), OR USING THEIR SHORTSWORDS or– I can’t even fathom it. sigh. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Avi123 says:

    People who spoil are assholes, pure and simple. Sorry that this happened to you Patrick.

    It would be cool to hear your thoughts on what they did with Barristan and the Unsullied. Personally I was shocked like I’ve been so many times watching this show, but for the first time it wasn’t in a good way. I can grudgingly accept that Barristan would fall to so many knife-wielding thugs due to sheer numbers, but I will not accept that the scene was purely there for shock value and made no sense in terms of writing. Why would you hype up this guy for 4 entire seasons, only to have him cut down ~10 hoolligans and then fall? It felt like he had a greater part to play in the wars to come.

    Barristan’s actor appeared on Thronecast (this discussion show on Sky Atlantic in the UK) and said when he saw his schedule was 5 weeks instead of the usual 8 this season, he knew there was something wrong and even tried convincing D&D not to kill him off. That there was so much more he could’ve done. It’s disappointing Walking Dead-esque shock value writing.

    All this though I can accept. But to watch a good chunk of Unsullied being defeated in frontal combat by a group of fanatical knife-toting crazies, without the Unsullied retreating down the corridor from which they came (so at least they could fight more in the open courtyard and the spears would be more effective I’m guessing), OR USING THEIR SHORTSWORDS or– I can’t even fathom it. sigh. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 Thanks.

      Ah, my thoughts on Barristan and the Unsullied, fighting the Sons of the Harpy. I have some complicated thoughts, and I’ll probably write something up after the season when I start in on blogging.

      My initial reaction would be that the Sons are chosen from those that have fighting experience, either bodyguard of the Masters, or criminal enforces, or sellswords, or ex-slaves who were gladiators, and the opening of the fighting pits could offer them opportunities.

      I’ll have to think a bit about this.

      Like

      • Avi123 says:

        Ah ok. I think it’s better actually if you get to collate your thoughts and start writing at the end of the season. I’ll be keeping an eye on this place 🙂

        And the fact that maybe the Sons are ex-gladiators or something along those lines makes a lot more sense too. Not enough, but still some :P.

        Cheers! Looking forward to more content.

        Like

  5. Reminds me of the line in “The Dark Knight”, about the thief who didn’t actually want to keep the rubies he stole and how some people “just want to watch the world burn”. Then of course, besides obvious losers with too much time on their hands like this Arta, accidents on the internet do happen. I Just realized that the first few lines in each of my blog post I link to on facebook about the show also show beneath the generic S5E1 (or whatever) title and so have to be kept clean.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very cute dog.

    I don’t understand the mentality of someone who spoils stuff like that for other viewers. Like, is there any rationale, or justification, for what they’re doing? Do they just revel in being jerks? Eh, I don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lea Ault says:

    I’m not involved enough in social media to receive spoilers, alth

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lea Ault says:

    Sorry doing this on my phone. Was going to say, I don’t actually mind having plot developments spoiled for me. I’m just happy to watch it all go down. I’ve read the books so I figure I’ve spoiled myself, kind of! Although I was shocked by that last fight scene too. I don’t remember that from the books. If my husband was watching GOT with me I’d probably be spoiling away because he hates that and it’s fun to annoy him.

    Chi Chi is so cute!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The first 4 episodes weren’t spoiled for me thank goodness, that must have sucked! But it really sucked to see Ser Barristan fall. I’m still dealing with it. He has such a interesting story! I was so excited at the end of Dance with Dragons :’-(

    Liked by 1 person

  10. nerdlovewords says:

    Shit happens 😦 Any hey… Chi Chi looks like he is the one true king 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. JackG88 says:

    The worst GoT spoiler I received was from a friend way back in season 1. I have since read all of the books, but at this point I had no knowledge of what was to come. My friend had just finished watching the first season of the show and I was playing catch-up.

    [SPOILERS for Game of Thrones Season 1 below, although surely everyone reading these comments has seen at least that far!]

    Me: “I’m really enjoying Game of Thrones. It’s by far my favourite show at the moment.”

    Him: “Have you finished the first season yet?”

    Me: “No, I’m about halfway through.”

    Him: “Which episode?”

    Me: “Episode 6 – Ned Stark has just discovered that Joffrey is not Robert Baratheon’s son.”

    Him: “Do you have any favourite characters yet?”

    Me: “Ned Stark.”

    Him: “Shame he doesn’t last the season.”

    Me: “What?”

    Him: “He gets beheaded in episode 9. I thought you knew that?”

    Me: *Uses a fully operational death star to blow up Alderaan.*

    That is by far the worst GoT spoiler I received. I’ve never forgiven him for it. The worst part is that he has a track record for spoilers dating back as long as I’ve known him. It’s like a disease. He told another friend of mine about several deaths later on in the show that he knew about from the books.

    Liked by 1 person

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