The first four episodes of Game of Thrones season 5 have leaked all over the Internet, making the next month a spoiler minefield for loyal fans.
The day before the US premiere of the show, four episodes appeared on a number of torrent sites including The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents.
File sharing news site TorrentFreak reports that the episodes were downloaded over 100,000 times on April 12, when the first episode was broadcast on HBO in the States. It’s due to kick off on British screens tonight on Sky Atlantic and Now TV – part of Sky’s deal with HBO is that we get to see its flagship fantasy epic a day after our American cousins.
The episodes are thought to be ripped from review DVDs sent out to the press. According to Mashable, they’re only available in super low definition 480p (what is this, 2005?). There’s also a watermark, which could possibly identify the source of the leak, blurred out.
HBO spokespeople say that the network is assessing how the leak happened, which could mean it’ll withhold future press kits to avoid leaks.
So, how can you avoid spoilers between now and the next four weeks? Well, there’s one easy (and illegal) answer to that.
Ignoring that for obvious reasons, we’d recommend staying the hell away from social media for the foreseeable. If you’ve got Sky TV, then you’ll already have the recording set in your planner and if you don’t, there’s always Now TV. This costs £6.99/month, which will cover you for those next four episodes.
The only other option is to wait it out – typically Blinkbox has picked up full seasons in the past once they’ve finished their run on Sky and Wuaki.tv also has a deal with HBO in place. It’s likely we’ll see season 5 in high definition glory across a number of platforms.
We’d also recommend, if you’ve got time, ploughing through the books. Though this season sees the TV show deviating from George R R Martin’s source material in a bigger way than ever, we don’t expect that the show will be entirely different to the action chronicled there.
It’s a shame that Game of Thrones isn’t on Netflix, as we’re sure that the streaming service would have revived its Spoiler Foiler tool just for such an occasion. Google has recently received a patent for a similar spoiler-blocking tool for social networks. Could the guarantee of spoiler-free chatter drive more people to Google+? There’s no telling when it’ll be ready though – probably not until Game of Thrones season 6 is out.