Belfast Telegraph

Game of Thrones: Stop moaning about Season 4 spoilers, the books were published years ago

Are we forbidden from ever revealing the details of a programme for fear of upsetting those who have just started watching the box set?


It's Game of Thrones time again and this year we've been promised even bigger plot twists and more surprises than you can shake a sword at.

With the growing popularity and increased media coverage of HBO’s flagship medieval fantasy, there’s a good chance you could fall victim to a spoiler. But you know what? Deal with it.

I’m sick of people whining about a show being ‘spoiled’ for them. I watch them as they rush to cover their ears with their hands in case a precious detail is leaked.

Following the shocking revelations at the Red Wedding towards the end of season three of Game of Thrones, one newspaper published the details in full, along with some suitably gory images. Although the spoilers were published two days after the episode had aired in the UK, those who had not yet seen it were left seething with rage.

But the truth is that the 'spoiler' was published in A Storm of Swords back in 2000. That’s right, this so-called ‘spoiler’ was revealed over a decade ago. What may have been a ‘spoiler’ to some was already out there in the public domain.

If anyone’s to blame, it’s author George R.R. Martin. How dare he publish the events of the Red Wedding 13 years before it was broadcast on Sky Atlantic! Some people have no spoiler etiquette. I’m wringing my fist at him right now and growling with the ferocity of a direwolf. How dare he. How. Dare. He.

I've just started watching Breaking Bad (I know, I know, clearly behind the times) but I accidentally spoilt the ending for myself whilst reading a recent interview with Bryan Cranston.

Was I left fuming at my computer? Did I want to throttle the godforsaken journalist who would dare to even to put down in words what befell Walter White? No, and no again.

Far from me leaving me bemoaning the evils of the internet or my own stupidity for daring to read anything remotely related to Breaking Bad, it spurred me on to watch more. If anything, I wanted to know how Walt gets to that point.

At the risk of sounding sickeningly clichéd: it’s about the journey. Even though one or two things have been ‘spoiled’, it doesn’t mean the other twists and turns along the way have been revealed. And any good drama will have a fair few curveballs thrown in by the writers.

The high quality of television shows today means that there is no longer just one big twist, there are lots of them that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. There is more texture and richness to television than ever before. We’re spoilt for choice with the sheer quantity and quality available out there.

Saying this, I do sympathise with Jennifer Lawrence, who was left in a state of gracefully suppressed anger when two witless E! “presenters” revealed the end of Homeland to her, cackling gleefully as they did so.

In the now-famous clip, which also features Homeland star Damien Lewis, Lawrence is left close to tears when she discovers what happens at the end of Season 3. Lewis is so annoyed at them that he reverts back to his native British accent as he bellows “Don’t tell her! It’s a spoiler!”

It had clearly been a while since the episode had aired and most people knew what happened. But the J-Law clip throws up a spoiler-related quandary though: just when is it okay to reveal a spoiler? One week after the programme has aired? One year? One decade? Or are we forbidden from ever revealing the details of programme for fear of upsetting those who have just started watching the box set?

To add to the spoiler-related confusion further, Netflix uploaded the entire second season of House of Cards to its roster of shows, allowing people to binge watch it in one go or ration it out over a couple of weeks. While some raced ahead, others were left behind.

Even though Netflix created a Spoiler Foiler which filtered out all references to the show on Twitter, it was still tricky to avoid House of Cards reveals because of the pace at which people were watching the programme.

So, will it ever be okay to talk about House of Cards or indeed any television show without inadvertently giving the plot details away by mistake? According to some angry, shouty internet people: probably never.

Those people could lock themselves in a dark room and turn off the internet, cutting off all contact with the outside world until they get a chance to watch the latest episode of season four.

Or some might even illegally download each instalment as soon as it has aired in the US and immediately watch it - Game of Thrones is, after all, one of the most pirated shows on the planet.

There’s also George Orwell’s concept of Doublethink from 1984, where you simultaneously know and don’t know a fact. Two contradictory things exist in your mind. Yes, several major characters were axed in Game of Thrones but at the same time they are alive and well. It happened but it didn’t. Simple.


Further reading:

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 1 review: Bare breasts and blood spilt - worth staying up for?

As Game of Thrones fans turn to illegal download websites for Season 4, police launch crackdown 

Game of Thrones sites play a starring role in Northern Ireland adverts 

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