HBO’s obscenely popular medieval fantasy series Game of Thrones is back on the air, and with it comes all the fans of the show who are vehemently opposed to their favourite show being spoiled for them before the next episode airs. However, can Game of Thrones spoilers really be considered spoilers when the show is a very faithful adaptation of a series of novels that have been out for years? What makes it okay to talk openly about the plot of Fight Club, Forrest Gump, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or other fan favourite movie or TV series with a plot over ten, in some cases 20 years old, but discussing the plot of A Song of Ice and Fire taboo?
Face it, Game of Thrones, the novel, came out nearly 20 years ago, and shortly after its release in 1996, two subsequent novels in the saga were also released. The plot of these books, and by association the television show, is not something that is brand new. Season four of the television series recounts the events of the second half of A Storm of Swords, the third book in the series, which came out in 2000. In fact, even the most recent book in the series is already three years old! So, the question is: how long must people wait before spoilers are no longer considered spoilers?
For one thing, it should be common courtesy for people to respect each other’s media consumption experience, regardless of how old the media being consumed actually is. If someone is just picking up Huckleberry Finn for the first time and are thrilled to be reading it after hearing so many good things about it, it would be incredibly rude and, to an extent, even cruel to spoil the plot of the book for them. The same idea must be applied to people who were only introduced to A Song of Ice and Fire through HBO’s adaptation of Game of Thrones.
Simply because someone was not exposed to a particular piece of media when it was brand new does not mean they have lost their right to experience it for the first time on their own terms. Sure, the plot of Game of Thrones has been old news for fans of the book series from its inception from anywhere from three to 18 years, but for fans of the television series, who might not have the time or patience to read upwards of 4,000 pages or find that number daunting, this is all brand new.
For people who do consider Game of Thrones spoilers not to be important, as it is all old news, it would be advisable to remember how it felt to read the books for the first time and uncover all the plot twists and experience this new world page by page. That experience is what is being taken from viewers of the television series when someone lets a major plot point slip on Twitter or in the comments of a YouTube video. And, the hilarious experience of watching people who are watching the show for the first time is taken away from those people who have read the books and know what is coming, which could even be more tragic!
Opinion by Robin Syrenne