Vincent Ralph discusses the desire of many to seek out spoilers for Game of Thrones.
A recent report from Business Insider brought us the fascinating story of the Spanish Spoiler – a YouTuber who is revealing details of the next episode of Game of Thrones long before it airs.
With no clips or stills, the person is merely explaining what fans can expect from upcoming episodes in a way that clearly proves he has insider knowledge.
The news has, understandably, not gone down well with HBO…or with the legions of Game of Thrones fans that do not want the show’s twists and turns spoiled ahead of time.
But we live in an age when television viewers are divided into two very different groups: those who are desperate to avoid spoilers at all costs and those who – somewhat bafflingly – want to find out what happens at the first available opportunity, regardless of what that means for their viewing experience.
The best entertainment in practically any form is about being surprised, about finding out what happens next rather than heading into something already knowing every single plot point.
The Red Wedding, Ned Stark’s fate, the thrilling battle between the Red Viper and the Mountain; all those moments and more caused gasps across the globe because those not au fait with the books were caught on the hop.
Similarly, those same unspoiled incidents thrilled readers of George R.R. Martin’s source material years earlier.
The best shows are about the journey, about drawing us in and ensuring we return week after week to discover the next big event for our favourite, or not so favourite, characters. They are about catching us unaware, about pulling the rug from under our feet in ways that excite or, at times, frustrate.
But whatever the feeling it is one born from shock, from an excitement you lose the moment you know what is coming.
Hearing someone describe what you can watch for yourself in a matter of days – where is the fun in that?
For a brief time you may know more than your cautious fellow fans, but it is they who have the last laugh when they experience Game of Thrones as it is meant to be enjoyed.
Television is not an essay to be mapped out or a monologue to be read aloud by someone who has had the key moments recounted to them by a person who cannot keep their mouth shut.
Watch it clueless of what is to come, with only your own predictions as guidance, and when the hour is up you will have enjoyed something, rather than seen what you already knew played out while you smiled smugly, knowing that you were pointlessly ahead of the game.
Game of Thrones is among the best shows on television, in no small part because you do not know what will happen next, so do not let impatience get the better of you.
Wait and be thrilled as a consequence; it is a lot better than the alternative.