Game of Thrones main viewers more Davos than Stark (A Piracy News Round-Up)

The next two weeks of viewing reports for HBO’s Game of Thrones will be rather interesting in light of the piracy scandal that hit the web just hours before the Season 5 premiere.

In case you’ve been living under Casterly Rock these past few weeks, the first four episodes were leaked in screener format to various torrent platforms across the internet. The leaks came from a still unidentified source who was sent the episodes in consideration and with an immense amount of trust from HBO.

HBO issued a statement in regards on April 12th  “Sadly, it seems the leaked four episodes of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones originated from within a group approved by HBO to receive them,” HBO said. “We’re actively assessing how this breach occurred.”

Despite the leaks, “The Wars To Come” still broke record numbers in viewership with a whopping 8.7 million views live/same day viewing (jumping one million views from the season four finale).

Sadly, the second episode dropped in viewership almost double that increase. “The House of Black and White” yielded 6.8 million viewers. While the numbers of viewership are still impressive for premium cable, they are exceedingly inaccurate of the actual number of viewers this sensational program holds.

The real record shattering numbers lie on the black seas where pirates swap HD video files like gold doubloons. The first episode of the premiere was downloaded more than 13 million times and counting with the next three episodes right behind. Add that to the 8.7 million that watched on HBO and that’s an extremely impressive almost 22 million viewers. While numbers for recordings and playback are still being tallied, it’s pretty clear where most of the viewing is taking place.

Game of Thrones has sat the Iron Throne for some time now as the #1 most pirated show. This is largely due to viewer’s in-access of the premium HBO channel itself but most of the pirating actually occurs outside the U.S. where it premiered first. The pirates claim to this is to avoid spoilers as gifs, tweets, and posts of the sort could ruin the episode for viewers outside The States.

To combat this, HBO will simulcast the entirety of season 5 worldwide to avoid such spoilers. In combat of piracy, HBO paired with AppleTV to premiere the trailer for season 5 and launch HBO Now, an outlet where users can access not only Game of Thrones but all of HBO’s content for a monthly fee.

Despite these efforts, Game of Thrones piracy rates still continue to rise and damage viewership for HBO. With HBO Now only available on Apple products, it’s still far easier for viewers to torrent the episodes (especially if they’re released before they premiere) regardless of moral.

I understand the temptation of binging the first almost half of the new season but I cannot condone it. In my opinion, it’s black and white and it is technically theft. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (and crew) work exceedingly hard and sacrifice a lot to bring Martin’s world to life. To rip it off in such a way, I find insulting to their efforts. HBO agrees and is taking action. Forums have already sprouted on Reddit stating IP address are being tracked and emails are going out to those who have stolen the episodes.

Pirates may or may not understand how important viewership is (not only to television in general but to premium cable options like HBO especially) because if they did, they would think twice. It is known (it is known) that Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive shows on air. What may not be known is that some of that money comes from HBO subscriptions and with viewers not actually buying subscriptions, Game of Thrones could face consequences.

Watching the leaked episodes ahead of their original premiere dates also damages the hype of the fandom who refrain from watching the leaks. Now, they’re the ones that have to lookout for spoilers which simply isn’t fair. It turns the tables and serves the wrong more than the right.

While we’ll probably see the viewership rise again when episode 5 (“Kill The Boy”) airs on May 10th, we hate to see a decline for the spectacular episodes in between.

We’d like to think that most of the fans of the show will uphold their honor as Starks and not pirate (or even smuggle) the episodes like Davos.

Unless they’re willing to pay, of course.

 

300 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Ethan Craik,

      That’s blaming the victim. They probably won’t send out many episodes anymore because of this (or not to many critics), but sending out chunks of a season is normal, especially chunks ending with an episode that is a dramatic climax.

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    2. It’s not because you’ve seen the 4 leaks, that you haven’t bought a subscription too. You cannot just count 8,7 million + 13 million = +/- 22 million. A lot are doubles who just couldn’t wait.

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    3. My own take one it: HBO seriously clamped down only now that episodes leaked and are being shared ahead of time. So, this suggests that destroying the conversation dynamic and hype peaks centred around airing times is a much bigger problem than piracy as such. And I agree. We have to deal with a superbly sh*tty situation this year.

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    4. I’m just glad to hear that you consider Episodes 3 and 4 to be “spectacular.” Looking forward to them both greatly.

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    5. Episode 5 will see no huge shift in LIVE viewership. Piracy is not the problem for HBO people make it out to seem. Those people aren’t downloading it in lieu of paying to see it. They’re downloading because they WON’T pay to see it.

      Also, there is absolutely no evidence that some or many of those downloads aren’t by people who already paid to watch the show on HBO but, for whatever reason, also downloaded the episode.

      The numbers are skewed. The intent is skewed. The article is a misrepresentation of reality.

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    6. Turncloak

      I pay for HBO, but I also watched the leaked episodes. Of course I did. If I didn’t watch them I would have had to basically refrain from going anywhere online and talking about the show.

      I’m pretty annoyed that HBO has winkingly accepted piracy for years but now that I, a paying viewer, watched stuff earlier I’m supposed to feel bad and feel like I stole something? I don’t. Not at all.

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    7. Thank you for the article. You have articulated everything that I have been thinking since the leak. There appears to be a lot of rationalization going on in order to justify not only immoral, but illegal behavior. Let’s just hope this doesn’t have major consequences for seasons 6 & 7 because it could.

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    8. I agree that the article is making the assumption that you should treat viewership in the aggregate – that people pirating and downloading the first four aren’t then also watching live. I don’t think that’s true. A lot of people who legally watch the show just downloaded them early and then continued to watch on TV, so I don’t think the total viewership number posited is accurate.

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    9. I saw my roommate watching the leaked episode three. The screen was covered in pixels, the lighting was too dark and there was a blurry line on the bottom.

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    10. HBO don’t care that much about the pirating, it’s the fact that episodes got leaked before they aired they’re not happy about. Also, nice try with the fear mongering there. Lol.

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    11. I pay for HBO year round. I buy the Blu-Rays. I buy merchandise off of their website. I still downloaded and watched the leaks. I didn’t like having to do it, but I also couldn’t avoid them without getting spoiled. I can’t believe something like this happened. HBO should have been able to identify the leaker by now. Surely the watermark at the bottom of the screen wasn’t the only thing being used to identify each copy?

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    12. I do hope HBO won’t send out so many episodes in the future. Leaks aside, I read three separate reviews of episode 2 yesterday wherein the reviewers saw a different version of the small council scene.
      It’s like they aren’t making sure the meat’s done before sending it out to the table. I want to eat the dish I paid for without everyone tasting it first!

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    13. Cersei’s Brain,

      Major consequences? Like what? The show at this point had reached a popularity level of unseen heights, making it almost impossible for HBO to cancel the show. It’s making loads of profits, and this leak won’t affect that. The only consequences it might have is HBO not distributing (that many) episodes to (that amount of) critics in advance, and you can hardly call that major.

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    14. I find it a bit ironic that Game of Thrones has basically bragged about the piracy numbers for 5 seasons and now everyone is irate about it. The leaked episodes are a different situation than we’ve had in the past. They should find out who did it and prevent them from getting any more screeners. Obviously its not something that happens often because this is the first season it happened.

      Yes its wrong to watch them but I feel sure that the majority of the people watching them are still watching the episode when it airs as well. Do the people who get the screeners legitimately still watch the show when it airs? I think they do. I don’t get the screeners personally but I do for another show and I continue to watch it when it airs. The dip in viewership could have been anything and everyone is blaming it on the leaked episodes. Unless all 3 episodes (5×02, 5×03, and 5×04) show a significantly lower viewership that changes when 5×05 airs, I won’t think the leaked episodes were 100% to blame.

      And yes, its awesome that you can now get HBO Now but only if you have Apple products so its still limiting. Also, the UK aired their episodes a day later. Bad decision on the part of Sky Atlantic IMO because most people had to avoid spoilers for a day due to that.

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    15. Well, then, make HBO Now available in Canada and then we’ll talk. I’m willing to pay for that. My family and myself aren’t big TV viewers, so paying a monthly subscription to a service we don’t use very much in the first place is a waste of money and we aren’t exactly rich, in fact, we are barely middle class. I don’t feel bad for watching the four episodes and I will keep viewing the show illegally as long as I don’t have fair access to it.

      In light of this, I don’t understand the negative tone implied here, Nate, but you should know that I was never raised (like most Americans) to think that watching TV is part of life. In fact, I was raised to be averse to it and TV culture in general because it’s not good for your health. Look at the obesity rates in countries where TV watching is popular and part of the culture vs countries where it isn’t as much. I don’t watch TV usually, I don’t consume more than 2 shows at once (I still haven’t gotten around to Breaking Bad and I probably won’t for the next couple of years).

      I understand and appreciate everything D&D have done for this show and I know they have to make personal sacrifices to bring us the greatest story-telling phenomenon I have ever encountered. I am willing to give back to them, but I can’t in a way that won’t damage my own situation, after all I’m a student FFS. I’m already being taken advantage of by the same damn telecom companies (Bell, Rogers, Telus) who are going after people using vpn the get HBO Now and who are giving the shittiest and most expensive communication service in the “developed” world for no reason.

      As I said, HBO Now is the solution that would work for me, but it’s fucking blocked up here and I can’t even vpn my way into it. The next best thing they can do is a crowd-funding campaign to raise money that will go directly in to the Game of Thrones production. If they do that, trust me, I’ll put down $200 in a heartbeat. So don’t victim-blame me.

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    16. I hope HBO only sends the premiere to critics for season 6, so quite everyone will be in the same ship… and it wont be a pirate one.

      My biggest sadness over the leaks is that HBO didnt deserve it for one simple reason : no commercial breaks.

      I completely confess pirating most shows I watch because of the commercial breaks that fuck the rythm. I prefer watching the episode as a whole once it’s avaialble. But HBO doesnt have commercial breaks so if I could (I dont have access to it but if I could) I’d definitly watch it as it airs.

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    17. you also have to consider that most cable companies ran the free HBO preview opening weekend. I’ve watched the leaked episodes and honestly it makes me want HBO now even more. so I can watch the episodes live I know there are giving away a free month so I personally will try to come up with money to get at least a month to finish the season out.

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    18. MoF:
      Turncloak

      I pay for HBO, but I also watched the leaked episodes. Of course I did. If I didn’t watch them I would have had to basically refrain from going anywhere online and talking about the show.

      I’m pretty annoyed that HBO has winkingly accepted piracy for years but now that I, a paying viewer, watched stuff earlier I’m supposed to feel bad and feel like I stole something? I don’t. Not at all.

      Amen.

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    19. To get HBO in Canada I have to buy a package of channels I don’t want and pay $254 per year on top of my cable bill. This is why piracy happens. When I can add just HBO at a fair price, I will gladly get it.

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    20. MoF,

      Yes, HBO should be focusing all of their efforts on finding the leaker, not going after those that downloaded the leaks. They basically have admitted in the past that they didn’t have much of a problem with pirating the episodes, even going as far as to say it has helped the show gain popularity.

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    21. alikat,

      There’s a big difference between pirating the episodes as they air (due to not having legal access to the show and not wanting to be spoiled) and downloading leaked episodes long before they air. Even though they’ve sorta bragged about the piracy, HBO has every right to be angry about the leaks and bring the hammer down.

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    22. They’re downloading because they WON’T pay to see it.

      I don’t necessarily agree with this. Some are, some just don’t have apple or want to switch to apple…if you dont’ watch things right away people spoil you. Otherwise I wouldn’t mind waiting until the season is over and buying it. If HBO would do the deal where you can buy a season pass on amazon I would totally do that.

      I have decided personally that if I buy a season later, it’s not stealing. YMMV.

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    23. The good thing about piracy is that now I have the simulcast in the UK 😀

      I don’t really see how piracy is a problem (when things don’t leak), people who don’t pirate and don’t have Sky/HBO just watch it at someone else’s house….

      Plus I always torrent the episode after I’ve watched it on Sky because 1) 1080p 2) better sound on a close laptop than a far away TV 3) no breaks

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    24. Tyrion Pimpslap: I didn’t like having to do it, but I also couldn’t avoid them without getting spoiled.

      Did you really HAVE to watch them? Who would have spoilt it for you, your friends?

      I have had no problems avoiding spoilers for the leaked episodes at all thank goodness, and I have zero desire to watch them. As well as the moral / legal issues, I like watching it on a large HD television and the weekly anticipation is part of the enjoyment for me.

      I really hope they find who leaked it – it was a really shitty thing to do.

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    25. As mentioned above; one individual didn’t honor the trust HBO placed in him/her (I hope there’s a legally binding contract signed for those who get screener episodes) which has resulted in less people making an appointment of watching GoT on Sunday evenings, and probably less talk around the specific episodes. I think HBO cares more about the legal part (for that individual) and the social media aspect rather than the financial in this instance, because I don’t think there are that many of the pirates who would by now have an HBO subscription if the episodes hadn’t leaked.

      HBO has done a great job by simulcasting the episodes all over, but internationally it mainly makes life better for those who already had some kind of legal access to the show. It isn’t gonna make people abstain from Sky in the UK or Foxtel in Australia any less. I count myself very lucky to live in the Nordic where we get HBO Nordic for ~$9 a month via internet so that I can watch the episodes subtitled on a full HD TV at 03:01 AM on Monday mornings.

      Personally I’ve managed fine by not watching episodes 1-4 when they appeared, even though I read this site and have a very GoT-centric twitter feed. All I know is that episode 4 is supposed to be very good. I’ve stayed away from the IMDb boards though since I know some of the types of people who frequent them.

      Btw, it’s not accurate to compare the 8.7 million figure with the 13 million one. The first is only for the US while the second one is worldwide.

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    26. Plus I imagine most of the people in my generation got into the series by bingewatching pirated episodes. No one’s gonna pay for 4 boxsets for a show they haven’t seen and it’s not exactly a show you can start watching in the middle

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    27. Ya it’s probably wrong in the end. But I pay for HBO an I buy every season on blu ray. I watched the leaked episodes and I won’t loose a wink of sleep over it.

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    28. With HBO Now going with AppleTV exclusively for a month or so at the beginning in my opinion was a huge mistake. I happen to own an IPhone but refuse to buy AppleTV just to watch the first four or five episodes of GoT. I’ll guarantee I’m not in the minority on this either. I will gladly pay the $15 a month for HBO Now once it is available for me to run it on what ever device I see fit. I will however not keep it past the end of GoT season because of the $15 price tag. If they would of held it at the $10 range ($9.99) they would of had folks like me keeping it far past the end of GoT and probably through to the next season. I know that $5 doesn’t sound like a lot but money is money and there is a threshold that some just refuse to or can’t cross. My prediction is that HBO Now will get more subscribers once the show hits episode 5 and a few more once it is available on all devices and a sharp drop off once the season ends.
      Just my 2 cents

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    29. Tyrion Pimpslap:
      I still downloaded and watched the leaks. I didn’t like having to do it, but I also couldn’t avoid them without getting spoiled.

      Really? C’mon, I don’t believe that for a second. I visit all the major GOT fan sites and forums, and I have avoided major spoilers. If you went looking for them – sure – but that’s not something you would have known before. I call B.S. on that.

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    30. Ross,

      Having friends who have watched the episodes was one of the reasons I gave in and watched the leaks, but it wasn’t the only reason. Discussion of the leaked episodes was rampant on many of the sites I frequently visit. I was spoiled on some of the scenes from the episodes, so I just decided that I would watch them to avoid having anything else spoiled. And yes, the temptation of wanting to watch them was there too. I’m not sure I could have resisted watching even if I hadn’t been spoiled or if I could have avoided discussions about them.

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    31. My situation;

      We are subscribed to Sky in the UK, and several of our household view it on Sky. So were contributing our share.

      I am however a heavy nit picker, and for years I watch US imports of DVDs to avoid the PAL speed up differences that cause a higher pitch in audio.. Mousifying voices I’m familiar with. (Thankfully with blu Ray this is non issue anymore for home video. But still a problem for broadcast).

      My plan this year was to subscribe to HBO Now. I was disappointed it was for the U.S. Only but not surprised. So I got a smart DNS subscription and was able to subscribe to HBO Now. Then things were bliss, GOT in HD, live, and hearing it the way it’s meant to be.

      Then after the piracy leak scandal, HBO seems to have taken an aggressive stance in piracy unlike before (suggesting it was a compliment) and have now taken it out on the fans who are willing to pay for content and support them through legitimate means by going out of their way to cut off non US users. Including me.

      Since this, I have acquired the leaked episodes.

      To HBO; you did a little better by ensuring simulcast, but you need to do more to take care of your fans – either get your team mates on board to give as an equally decent streaming option, or give Netflix the rights to stream your content outside the U.S.

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    32. Lars,

      I admit, I am guilty of being too curious and having no self control. Still, I support HBO as much, if not more than most(Year long subscription/Blu-Rays/merchandise).

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    33. Cersei’s Brain,

      Yes, they could, but if they would actually do that then that would be screwy. HBO needs GoT in the quality it has now. It is their golden goose and the only really pupular show they have right now.
      I’m not advocating piracy, but if HBO starts spending less money on the show because of it, then that’s a major mistake.

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    34. HBOsWail:
      My situation;
      Then after the piracy leak scandal, HBO seems to have taken an aggressive stance in piracy unlike before (suggesting it was a compliment) and have now taken it out on the fans who are willing to pay for content and support them through legitimate means by going out of their way to cut off non US users. Including me.

      Since this, I have acquired the leaked episodes.

      Huh what? You’re upset that you couldn’t watch it at the same time as some, so now you went ahead and downloaded leaks of FUTURE episode?

      Where is the logic?

      And why is it that you need such instant gratification? Is the show cr*p if you can’t watch it instantly at 3 AM?

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    35. I find an addition like the 22 million total viewers that Nate mentions, is something misleading and not very useful when gauging what proportion of X population follows the show, and what proportion of viewers follows it illegally: 8,7 million legal viewers in the USA, plus 13 millions torrent downloads worldwide. That’s apples and oranges.

      If torrent downloads can not be counted by country, a more useful stat would be adding legal viewers for as many countries as possible, depending on available data, and THEN adding or comparing with piracy numbers.

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    36. …and yet, people can watch these same 4 episode for free when they download the HBO Now app. Methinks they’re more upset about things being spoiled than they are about people watching it for “free”.

      Also, it doesn’t necessarily follow that just because you’ve watched the episodes, you’re not watching them on tv (or paying for HBO). Several friends and I have all seen the episodes and we all still pay for HBO (seperately) and watch the episode again every Sunday (seperately), thus giving HBO both money and ratings from 4 different households.

      I mean, sucks that your episodes got leaked HBO, but perhaps you should put more effort into finding the original leaker, than on persecuting the watchers.

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    37. Lars,

      I agree 100%. Legit GOT news sites have deliberately kept spoilers off their posts or hidden under censors.

      As for feeling no guilt after downloading the episodes, that way of thinking is entitled and selfish. No amount of rationalizing or “I had to’s” will make me think any different.

      I understand that the numbers represent live U.S. viewings but as I said most of the views occur outside the U.S. as do the pirates. I was contrasting legit views VS downloads and trying to show just how large this fanbase actually is.

      I also agree with the comments towards HBO Now and simulcasting. It is a step in the right direction but perhaps not large enough a step to combat the explosive issue piracy has become. When I first heard of HBO Now, I believed it was to be a universal streaming site like Netflix which would help add to legitimate viewers for Game of Thrones. Keeping it exclusive to Apple only helps cater to those who can more afford their expensive products.

      Thanks for those who support!

      Cersei’s Brain, especially, for your kind words.

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    38. Mormont,

      As explained it was because of the PAL speedup in framerate compared to the native framerate (about 25 fps compared to 24, which results in a 2 minutes shorter episode if it’s ~50 minutes).

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    39. Sue the Fury:
      Nodor,

      I thought it would take at least five posts for someone to quibble over that. Kudos!

      Personally I don’t think the difference between a smuggler and a pirate is trivial. So it’s hardly a quibble. Calling Davos a pirate is just flat out incorrect.

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    40. I found that this season of GOT was hyped much more than in previous years. Some big shot at HBO decided he could get more (unnecessary) hype by sending out four screeners to the news media. As soon as I heard that I knew it would be leaked. Whoever at HBO who made that decision is the guy they should be going after.

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    41. I paid the iron price just once(okay, 3 times), and I get a bunch of Starks trying to take my head. I now sympathize with the Greyjoys.

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    42. hexonx,

      Not to me. Handing illegal goods and transporting them for money is piracy.

      And it was a facetious comparison. The fact that Davos quibbles over it within the show itself should point over how the silly the wording debate is.

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    43. PaulusAr,

      Number of screeners sent out by season:

      Season 1 – 6 episodes
      Season 2 – 4 episodes
      Season 3 – 4 episodes
      Season 4 – 3 episodes
      Season 5 – 4 episodes

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    44. MaesterofMasonry: The next best thing they can do is a crowd-funding campaign to raise money that will go directly in to the Game of Thrones production. If they do that, trust me, I’ll put down $200 in a heartbeat.

      There is really no reason for that. Just buy the DVDs/BRs and/or GoT merchandise. That’s what I do. In the end I think HBO has gotten more money from me than if I was a subscriber. Plus HBO gets most of it instead of my cable company.

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    45. Tyrion Pimpslap:
      I paid the iron price just once(okay, 3 times), and I get a bunch of Starks trying to take my head. I now sympathize with the Greyjoys.

      We know what happens to those honorable Starks for all their honor :p

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    46. Ok, now that my above emotional rant is over, I have some serious clarification questions to ask Nate:

      1. Who, exactly, are you targeting your article to? The entire worldwide, pirating fanbase? Or the ones who have reasonable access to legal means of watching the show? How do you determine the latter?

      2. Have you considered the shitty situation non-US viewers find themselves in terms of access to cable and other telecommunication issues?

      3. Why are you attacking(?) the fanbase instead of HBO, who, if they were smart capitalists, would be wise to convert the immense social capital into market capital instead of fuelling piracy by making the affordable option available only to those who can afford the expensive option? How is it right that you put this much of the blame toward the fans vs HBO?

      4. Do you know how much of the pirating fanbase is willing to pay some kind of compensation to the show they/we love and how much is not? If not, then on what grounds do you base your justification for calling our actions immoral?

      Also, Sue, I’m open to hearing your point of view as well.

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    47. Sue the Fury: Handing illegal goods and transporting them for money is piracy.

      That’s actually the exact definition of smuggler. I have yet to see a definition of piracy state that. Would you call someone that straps drugs to their body to cross a border a drug pirate or a drug smuggler?

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    48. hexonx,

      I don’t collect items like that, as I said, I’m not a huge consumer. Merchandise like this will just sit on the shelf and collect dust. Most GoT merchandise I’ve seen are useless (people don’t know what to get me for Christmas or my birthday, so they just give me money, because it’s useful). My family isn’t into watching TV or films more than a couple of times.

      But I’ll get a mug, I guess.

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    49. hexonx,

      Yes, now I know what to get my ASOIAF/GOT obsessive friends for their upcoming birthdays. Sweet. I just have to make sure they don’t already have those things…

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    50. I am going to be severely honest. I do not feel I have given shame to my love of Game of Thrones by pirating episodes. I only pirate them as they are released. My reason? I live in Northern Ireland, I will not pay exclusively for Sky just for 10 weeks a year. I will also not wait a year to watch the seasons when they are released on DVD.

      That being said, my Season 4 pirated copies have been deleted off my laptop as I bought the boxset. As I do with every season, the same will be with Season 5. Currently in my Box Set drawer sits “Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 and 2”, “Game of Thrones: Season 3”, “Game of Thrones: Season 4”. I pay each and every year for the box sets to pay for what I did a year ago.

      You should also see my wall. I have 21 posters of Game of Thrones, all bought from the HBO Store online. I also have a Robb Stark hoodie from the same online HBO Store. I even have George R. R. Martin’s five books in my room.

      I do not feel that my piracy harms the series. My internet speed is under 1mb/s so I cannot use HBO Now. Although, if push comes to shove, I would genuinely pay a monthly fee for it all year until the series ends, all while still pirating the show because my internet would not allow me to use the application.

      I’m a loyal fan, and I support them to the best that I can but I will not go off piracy when I support HBO in many other ways.

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    51. MaesterofMasonry:
      hexonx,

      Yes, now I know what to get my ASOIAF/GOT obsessive friends for their upcoming birthdays. Sweet. I just have to make sure they don’t already have those things…

      Alrighty then. Just forget I said anything and keep on keeping on as you were.

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    52. So will I be thrown in jail for downloading episodes of game of thrones now! .. well, catch me if you can .. just kidding..
      seriously though. I live in Saudi Arabia at the moment.. and there’s no way to watch HBO here .. I really would love to pay for the blurays but I can’t seem to find them here as well (don’t tell me to buy it online) life sucks .. I will buy them once I travel outside (hope soon) .. I love game of fucking thrones .. I’ve read the books (not all of them, still halfway through a feast for Crows) .. it’s my most favourite tv show of all time .. nothing can top that .. game of thrones will be a story to tell for my grand grandchildren once I’m old and frail ..

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    53. Uncovered spoilers will be deleted.

      MaesterofMasonry,

      1. I’m looking to target the fanbase as a whole for this article to raise awareness of what’s been going on.

      2. I’m U.S. based so I wasn’t entirely aware of the situation until comments have further brought it to my attention. I understand the situation they’re in but there’s still means of buying the series rather than torrenting it. I understand the wait and potential of spoilers but in respect of HBO, it is their property. I also feel/hope HBO will broaden HBO Now to compete with Netflix and hopefully by season 6 there will be a live streaming site we can watch GOT simultaneously with the U.S. worldwide.

      3. I’m not trying to attack the fans as much as let them know their actions could have consequences. I don’t feel I should direct this entirely at HBO because contrary to the torrent-er’s opinions, they are the victims here.

      4. I’m not denying that the pirates won’t pay. Simply that they’re choosing not to. Agreeing they feel they might not have a choice because HBO has limited them but they still do have a choice and it still is theft of property.

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    54. A point that is worth mentioning, is the problem which HBO has created with the exclusive International streaming rights to this show.

      HBO Now or Sling TV is all well and good for those living in the United States – but those services are not available in Europe or Canada.

      In Canada, the only option a cord-cutter has is either belly up and pay for a cable package which includes HBO Canada, or pirate it and perhaps buy the Blu-Ray later to make yourself feel a little better for it. There is no direct means of purchasing HBO for a Canadian to just stream it weekly. None is forthcoming, either as Bell Canada bought those streaming rights. HBO willingly sold those exclusive rights and now they have to live with the consequences.

      In Canada’s largest city, the cheapest possible package for minimal cable, and a cable box with HBO , incl. tax is $80.72 per month. THAT is the lowest possible cost per month to watch Game of Thrones legally in Canada.

      And yet those Canadians well know the price for HBO Now at $15 or Sling TV which includes HBO is VASTLY cheaper 50 miles south in the USA. Not surprisingly,. they aren’t happy about that.

      That is why the piracy rates for Game of Thrones are more than twice in Canada what they are in the USA. And those who have tried to use a VPN and a purchased subscription using an American mailing address are starting to get pushback from HBO this past week, too.

      When corporations try to extract a monopolist’s price without actually BEING a monopoly because of the piracy option, piracy is going to be RAMPANT because piracy is now the competition.

      If HBO Now was available directly for sale to Canadians, the piracy rates in Canada would only be half what they currently are.

      THAT is the reality.

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    55. Cathair:
      I am going to be severely honest. I do not feel I have given shame to my love of Game of Thrones by pirating episodes. I only pirate them as they are released. My reason? I live in Northern Ireland, I will not pay exclusively for Sky just for 10 weeks a year. I will also not wait a year to watch the seasons when they are released on DVD.

      Are you saying that you can only subscribe to Sky for a whole year? Not on a month to month (or even day to day) basis? Really???

      You should try to do what many do (myself included) – Sign up for HBO (or whatever channel carries GOT) when the season starts, and unsubscribe when the season is over. It really doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

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    56. Mormont:
      HBOsWail,

      Why do you need HBO Now? Sky GO is free since you have it in your household

      Sky Go is poor quality, shit performance and.. you can’t watch it on TV (i have a 60inch TV here.) You could have possibly AirPlayed it to an Apple TV (which i have) but sky don’t let you Air Play it to the Apple TV!. i’m not sure that it even rids the PAL speedup difference.

      Lars: Huh what? You’re upset that you couldn’t watch it at the same time as some, so now you went ahead and downloaded leaks of FUTURE episode?

      Where is the logic?

      And why is it that you need such instant gratification? Is the show cr*p if you can’t watch it instantly at 3 AM?

      I don’t agree with pirating, i don’t think there is a right reason to ever do it, i do believe there are reasons to not feel guilty sometimes though. my post was about a big game of thrones fan who wants to watch the show legitimately and have his preferences met and how it is difficult and frustrating. Upset? did it really seem like i was crying with tears to you?

      I want to watch the show at the same time as others who are fans of the show as much. with the best experience possible. waiting longer than necessary feels crap when you’re as excited and hungry as others to get to the next part of the story. so i really Don’t want to wait. Good for you if you don’t mind waiting. this feeling shouldn’t be that unfamiliar to you given the amount of book readers begging george to get the books out before the show. The most passionate fans want to experience the next part of the story ASAP. thats what good shows do.

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    57. Lars: It really doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

      It actually is with some cable companies. Some make you go to a higher tier before you can subscribe to HBO.

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    58. While I agree it seems like HBO should be concentrating their efforts on finding the source of the leaks, I am really stunned by some of the comments here. Maybe it will sound to some like I’m on a high horse, but reading people justifying downloading the leaked episodes by saying, well, I don’t want to pay the price they’re asking for it, or can’t afford it, so I’m just going to steal it, and that’s the fault of the people who make it too expensive??? To me, that’s almost like walking into a store, seeing something you want, realizing it’s too expensive, but you still want it, so you steal it. Even those who actually do pay to watch the shows, although in some ways it isn’t quite as bad in my view, it is still a tacit endorsement of leaking the shows, in the first place. Do I want to be spoiled for upcoming episodes? Hell no. Have I been on a couple of things, no matter how careful I try to be? Yep, and it pisses me off. However, I refuse to download the leaked episodes, again, because for me that would be tantamount to saying, hey, it’s ok you leaked the episodes. I understand many may not share my views, but that won’t change them.

      Thank you for the article, Nate. It may lead to some contentiousness, but I believe it is something which should be discussed.

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    59. hexonx: It actually is with some cable companies.Some make you go to a higher tier before you can subscribe to HBO.

      OK, I stand corrected then. It may not be easy for all.

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    60. The thing is, as a subscriber, I’m paying for exclusive and (nearly) first access to content. Sure, there are some things like premieres and campus showings, etc. and that’s fine. But with the leaks I’ve lost that and HBO frankly, had the power to make me whole. They could have easily streamed the first four episodes on HBO GO and HBO Now immediately. That would have allowed paying subscribers to not suffer harm from the leaks. That’s really the only way they could still give us what we’re paying for. But they didn’t.

      I hate the leaks and the leakers. They’ve ruined the first half of the season for me. But I also do blame HBO for not taking any steps to try to make this better for their subscribers.

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    61. Lars: Are you saying that you can only subscribe to Sky for a whole year? Not on a month to month (or even day to day) basis? Really???

      You should try to do what many do (myself included) – Sign up for HBO (or whatever channel carries GOT) when the season starts, and unsubscribe when the season is over. It really doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

      Sky TV is contract based and you are issued a fine for ending the contract early. I would rather give HBO the money than Sky anyway so Sky is not an option. And as I said, I would not mind buying HBO Now even if I didn’t use it. I cannot stream through internet with my internet speed

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    62. Nate –

      To your fourth point: what about the fairly significant portion of fans who have watched the screeners but do pay for HBO and watch the episodes live. What harm is befalling HBO from that action?

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    63. Piracy is the reality of the 21st century. It is what it is. And I don’t view it as big of a deal as others do either. Is it wrong? In my opinion, that’s a debatable thing to be honest about it. I’ve see the arguments from both sides, and the side whose opinion is that there is nothing wrong with it, has some (not all) arguments and points I find myself in agreement with. I don’t find myself in agreement with the argument piracy is wrong because they work hard and deserve to be rewarded. They are rewarded. Piracy or not. The top tier actors/actresses of this series are making $300,000 an episode. Stretched out over a season it’s 7 figures. Same with D&D. Same with the entirety of the crew who work on this show. No one is missing a paycheck because piracy occurs.

      It’s a tough question. I have to be honest I don’t automatically find myself on the side of, oh yes 100% wrong, nothing good about it, it’s bad. Do I think it is preferable it doesn’t occur? Of course. But I don’t think it’s the end all be all worst thing in the world either.

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    64. MoF:
      The thing is, as a subscriber, I’m paying for exclusive and (nearly) first access to content. Sure, there are some things like premieres and campus showings, etc. and that’s fine. But with the leaks I’ve lost that and HBO frankly, had the power to make me whole. They could have easily streamed the first four episodes on HBO GO and HBO Now immediately. That would have allowed paying subscribers to not suffer harm from the leaks. That’s really the only way they could still give us what we’re paying for. But they didn’t.

      I hate the leaks and the leakers. They’ve ruined the first half of the season for me. But I also do blame HBO for not taking any steps to try to make this better for their subscribers.

      Wow. How in the world have you suffered a harm because of the leak? And how have you been harmed by HBO not dumping all the episodes because of it?

      “First half of the season ruined” – Are you for real? Show some self restraint and avoid spoilers.

      Mind-boggling….

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    65. Sue the Fury:
      hexonx,

      Not to me. Handing illegal goods and transporting them for money is piracy.

      No it’s not. That’s smuggling.

      Piracy is to steal, rob, plunder someone’s material without permission. Which is exactly what this is which is why it’s called piracy.

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    66. Lars: OK, I stand corrected then. It may not be easy for all.

      Not sure about Northern Ireland, but in England HBO isn’t available and Sky Atlantic is the only channel that shows GoT at the same time it’s broadcast elsewhere. (I think Netflix gets the boxset when the series is finished but this is sometime behind the initial showing.) You have to sign up for 12 months minimum and if it’s the only programme you want Sky for it effectively works out at more than £20 per episode (around $30 US) :O( Not trying to be rude here btw, just expanding on the point that it can be a very expensive to watch in places where HBO isn’t available.

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    67. It’s a bit of a grey area.

      On the one hand, theft is theft. Dress it up with semantics all you like, if you pirate a show, you are stealing.

      On the other hand, the entertainment industry has brought this on themselves a little. Possibly because the people at the top are older and out of touch, the industry has been very slow to realize the impact the internet has had on entertainment. If they had been less stubborn, they could have broadened options for consumers to affordably access product online sooner and made that instead of piracy the norm. The cable TV industry should also stop trying to screw over its customers in order to squeeze out every last dollar from us if they don’t want to become obsolete.

      I am sympathetic to how difficult it can be for fans outside of the US to legally access the show too. Although it’s probably not as easy for HBO to offer content internationally as people think. They have to both negotiate with telecom companies and navigate telecommunications laws in each country.

      Personally, I was all ready to get HBO now had it been available on Chrome or Internet Explorer. Instead I’m using my friend’s Go account and I don’t feel bad. I had to drop cable for financial reasons but I’ll have HBO again in June. I don’t know why they didn’t get it together to offer their streaming service to a wide range of platforms sooner.

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    68. Lars,

      Agreed – I have had absolutely no problem avoiding spoilers. I just exit when it looks like the discussion is heading in that direction. I waited way too many months to binge a bunch of crappy edits in advance of showing.

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    69. To be honest, too many assumptions are made, and the overall picture is skewed.

      assumptions include:

      Pirates are people who have poor choices in access to content

      Subscribers are Do gooders who would never do anything naughty

      etc etc.

      the truth is way more diverse.

      Some subscribers to legit tv/HBO do so because they are not computer/torrent literate, and wouldn’t know how the hell to download anything for free. They do what they know, or can be bothered to do. If subscribers knew a way to watch game of thrones for free that was as simple as using a remote, damn right a number of viewers would do it. This description fits older generations who didn’t grow up with the internet as it is today especially.

      A number of TV subscribers don’t subscribe for Game of Thrones. and if you believe that then you are a Fool. TV subscribers, a number of them want access to many channels, many contents/shows that probably don’t show up piracy wise anyway. Take the average kids mom who wants to watch MTV Base, or living with the kardashians, but also wants to watch GoT. So even if they knew how to pirate, they would still subscribe / makes no difference.

      Pirates;

      Some pirates do it for lack of accessibility

      Some Pirates do it for affordability differences (i’m talking about you aussies)

      Some pirates probably do it because they actually want to watch GoT again, on Demand, and have an actual copy of some sort in their possession until home video release. A number of these probably support HBO through legitimate means in other ways (home video/subscribe anyway)

      some pirates will always pirate because its FREE and because they CAN.

      thats some examples of the truth.

      all this nonsense of pirates are Black, and Do Gooders are white is exactly that; nonsense, assumptions. the picture is big not small.

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    70. JaimenotJamie,

      The way I see it, it’s still harmful. A) The material is still stolen and B) Since it’s ahead of it’s premiere date there’s still the chance that it could be spoiled for someone choosing not to download the leaks.

      As I was. Even on this article I had episode 4 spoiled for me by a comment which only further displays the damage the leaks cause.

      I do agree with
      WeirwoodTreeHugger, which is why HBO Now wasn’t nearly as successful as it could’ve been.

      And thank you,
      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

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    71. “While we’ll probably see the viewership rise again when episode 5 (“Kill The Boy”) airs on May 10th, we hate to see a decline for the spectacular episodes in between.

      Hahahahahahahaha.

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    72. A lot of HBO hate. Is anyone going to acknowledge that HBO is a business that has to make enough money to both fund further production and give (as profit) to it’s shareholders*? It’s either ignorance (willful or otherwise) to suggest HBO should charge less/not make exclusive deals/just be cool bro/whatever. Piracy is theft, period. Stop making excuses and just be responsible for your actions. I, like many here, downloaded and watched the leaked episodes. I don’t make excuses for it; I was just impatient and wanted to watch them.

      *Completely unnecessary disclaimer: I own a minisclue number of shares in Time Warner, HBO’s parent company

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    73. As long as HBO and others continue to have their business models rooted in the previous century, piracy will continue whether they like it or not.

      As someone else has explained in less detail, for me to legally view GoT in the UK I would have to pay around £21.50 a month for 12 months plus £25 set up, a grand total of £283 for ONE season. For thosw of you over the pond thats $426!!!! Insane! I literally don’t care about any of the other shows on Sky. PLUS, the show is interrupted by adverts if you are watching live.

      Its fucking stupid. People can call it theft and get in a huff all they like, but nothing’s going to change until HBO give the option of paying a reasonable amount to view the episodes live over the internet or whatever.

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    74. AJC:
      As long as HBO and others continue to have their business models rooted in the previous century, piracy will continue whether they like it or not.

      As someone else has explained in less detail, for me to legally view GoT in the UK I would have to pay around £21.50 a month for 12 months plus £25, a grand total of £283 for ONE season. I literally don’t care about any of the other shows on Sky. PLUS, the show is interrupted by adverts if you are watching live.

      Its fucking stupid. People can call it theft and get in a huff all they like, but nothing’s going to change until HBO give the option of paying a reasonable amount to view the episodes live over the internet or whatever.

      another example.. a large reason for piracy is the lack of meeting peoples preferences.

      HBO Now genuinely is the right direction for solving some piracy. HBO should’ve only sold its streaming rights to groups like sky / foxtel if they agreed to put up an equally decent service. but thats not how this works. HBO cares about money. Sky and Foxtel care about money. Every Company has to care about Money. but the best companies are the ones who put the emphasis of their efforts equally on what meets the needs and preferences of consumer demand which generates money in return.

      Aussies for example.. Mad at HBO. but some more informed ones realise its not really all HBO’s fault. Its because Foxtel bought the rights. But Foxtel charge silly prices – who’s fault is that? HBO may have demanded a crazy sum of money for the rights. Any CEO under pressure to “perform” and take responsibility for success.. and failure of a company.. would probably hike prices up to show the deal was worth it/ is paying off. But is it HBOs fault why they may have charged a lot? did they charge little and Foxtel are just being greedy? or did HBO Charge a lot because of Taxes or some such that the australian government i hear imposes on everything (hence hiked prices in general in that country).

      i was a living example of this with HBO Now. (i’m still subscribed.. i got the email telling my my account will be terminated but as of yet, it has not been).

      the ball is in your court, HBO.

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    75. The problem isn’t piracy, it’s spoilers. The episodes got leaked way way early by what should have been a trusted source.

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    76. I don’t normally like being “that guy” but this wasn’t really the most well-written nor persuasive piece. And I say this as someone who has not watched the leaked episodes and does not plan to.

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    77. AJC,

      Aaaah but without Sky you miss the awesomely awful films on the Sci-Fi channel, many of which are truly something to behold and could teach GoT a thing or two about acting and special effects! If ghosts of sharks chomping through attractive teens in a ski resort* is your heart’s desire it this the only place to be ;O)

      * they swim in the snow obviously, not in the sea or anything remotely realistic like that. If you want facts and that sort of nonsense you need the documentary channels.

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    78. It is not technically theft to view a pirated episode. And it’s absurd to make that argument for a variety of reasons, both legally and morally.

      The leak is different, though. This, of course, will hurt the viewership and is unfair. But don’t fling typical piracy in with that. It’s just silly, and very reductive.

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    79. Hello, I’m a student trying to survive with a few quids in my pocket in a foreign country. I don’t feel guilty at all. Piracy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They should find a way to legalise torrents like they did those vevo things in youtube so you can still listen to music for free and everybody wins!

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    80. Dave: No it’s not. That’s smuggling.

      Piracy is to steal, rob, plunder someone’s material without permission. Which is exactly what this is which is why it’s called piracy.

      I’d say it’s more analogous to smuggling — the movement of goods in a way which bypasses restrictions, taxes, fees, etc. — than piracy in its original sense, which deprives the victim of the actual goods taken, rather than a payment owed.

      But as Davos would say, many people lack an appreciation of the finer points of bad behavior.

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    81. Nate –

      I appreciate what you’re saying but your second point isn’t directly comparable to the first. You can a) have HBO and b) watch the leaks without c) spoiling it for others.

      I believe a lot of people actually fall in that category, at which point you’re not harming others who don’t want to be spoiled, and you’re not harming HBO because you’re still a subscriber. So at the end of the day you’re harming no one and no one is injured by your conduct, monetarily or from an entertainment standpoint.

      While someone can chide an individual in that scenario for being impatient, it is a victimless “crime.”

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    82. Yung Wolf:
      “While we’ll probably see the viewership rise again when episode 5 (“Kill The Boy”) airs on May 10th, we hate to see a decline for the spectacular episodes in between.

      Hahahahahahahaha.

      Yeah episodes 3 and 4 of this season were one of the worst episodes of the whole show. Spectacular my foot.

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    83. I would not download the leaked episodes even if they were in HD.

      I do it every monday, like it should be done.

      I buy the blurays but only to lend them to my friends and support the show.

      I only do this with GoT. The rest of tv shows I just pirate.

      Pirating is not only not bad but many times a good thing. Read the wise words of Neil Gaiman about it. Somewhere.

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    84. dragonreborn,
      You have absolutely no justification for your position. The reality is, money needs to flow to mobilise resources to get the end product. You have to offer an alternative, that’s the basic concept of fair exchange. If you just say “make everything free,” then everything breaks apart. If you want to criticize the current means by which you are allowed to contribute legally, then go ahead because there are valid points to be made.

      Unless you’re just trolling and putting a bad image on all piraters as if we are all the same. Thank you for that.

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    85. dragonreborn,

      Perhaps if you’re in that rough shape, then trying to download premium cable shows illegally shouldn’t be your priority.

      Should you also be allowed to attend all the sporting events you’d like to see for free because you’re a struggling student? Or perhaps movie theatres should not require you to have a ticket to come in because of your struggles?

      Entertainment is consumed at a price. No one is entitled to it as a right. There’s a lot of things I’d love to do but can’t because I can’t afford it. That’s life y’know?

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    86. OrtMeyer: Yeah episodes 3 and 4 of this season were one of the worst episodes of the whole show.Spectacular my foot.

      Bookpurist tears… 🙂 Episode 3 is a masterpiece

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    87. There should be some sort of way of knowing if viewership is also decreasing due to the massive changes from the source material

        Quote  Reply

    88. Ren Snow,

      The show gains viewership consistently each season as it veers further away from the source material so that’s probably as good an answer for you as any.

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    89. HBOsWail,

      HBO Now genuinely is the right direction for solving some piracy.

      It absolutely is. HBO shouldn’t have been so shortsighted to sell the rights to Sky/Foxtel/whoever, they should have instead globalised HBO Now.

      I am not a default pirate, I completely recognise that if I enjoy a show I should be paying my fair share towards producing it and rewarding the creators of such a wonderful show. And I will, several months down the line when the box set comes out.

      BUT, being forced to pay hundreds of pounds for GoT along with a whole package of programming that I don’t care about is simply not acceptable. And I am far from alone. As an ex-student, I’m willing to bet the house that GoT’s biggest audience by far are students, students who uniformly do not have hundreds of pounds to pay for Sky. However, they would have the disposable income to pay a few pounds per episode or £30/40 a season to stream.

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    90. King Tommen,

      Purists represent a small percentage of the demographic. Like most shows, casuals make up the majority of the viewers and it will always rise each season as popularity grows.

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    91. For What It’s Worth (hums an oldie)

      I pay $192.00 a month for cable/WiFi. And I give it over gladly. What do I give up for that? Movies at the theater, dinners in expensive restaurants, hanging out with the gals at a bar. My TV is my entertainment. Most movies at the theater can be bought from ON DEMAND if I want to see them bad enough shortly after they are at the theater anyway.

      Thoughts on pirating. I proudly belong to the “Brothers Without Leakage”. I didn’t download the four episodes and I won’t for two reasons. 1. It is wrong FOR ME (people forget those last two words) Maybe for others they justify it or rationalize it as good for THEM. You say potato…. 2. I waited all this time to see the show and like others, I don’t want to wait another month to see E5. Watching the show is also an event around my place, friends often come and we have a little GoT party. That can only happen once a week for most people and it is good to have the fellowship of other rabid fans of GoT.

      FOR ME….bottom line is that stealing is stealing. There are plenty of things in life that I can’t have…here is a new thing, guess what? I do without. My car is about to give up the ghost but I can’t afford to get a new one. Should I just go out and steal one and call it good? No, I will save up my nickels and dimes and buy one when I can afford it. Just like if I didn’t have access to GoT’s any other way, I would wait for the DVD’s and get them later in the year. Would it suck out loud? Indeed it would.

      That is not to say that I don’t have sympathy for those who are in countries that can’t get HBO in any form or what they get is late or too expensive for them. I do. It is MY PERSONAL set of ethics that just wouldn’t allow me to do it. I do not judge others ethics.

      At the end of the day I have to be able to live with myself and my own faults, not anyone else’s.

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    92. Johan Sporre,

      I agree HBO Nordic is great. In Sweden GoT also airs on channel 1 which is a channel every tv has. At least my dad told me so I’ve never seen it myself because i don’t own a tv.

      I spent some time in Belfast and tried watching the show on sky. It was awful. Ads every freaking second.

      I feel like one good strategy for a lot of shows would be to have a sort of donation place where people who “watched the show at a friends place” could contribute money. Maybe they could have lottery’s with the contributors where the winners would get to visit a set our something. Though I guess that would be mostly attractive for European viewers.

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    93. I’m not watching the leaks until they come out on HBO because otherwise it would be FOREVER between episode 4 and 5. And that would suck.

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    94. HBO sell the rights to its programs to foreign companies who then lump them into packages and charge extortionate amounts for them. So individual piracy is wrong but extorting money out of thousands of people, forcing them to pay for stuff they don’t want is right?
      HBO, make your programs available to all at a fair price. Then you will win.
      Cable companies, if people don’t want some channels and these channels can only survive by being rammed down peoples throats in a package, they maybe these channels should be allowed to die.

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    95. LOL

      I understand the temptation of binging the first almost half of the new season but I cannot condone it. In my opinion, it’s black and white and it is technically theft.

      Yes because HBO does not have said product in possession after the ‘theft’ is done anymore. Copying isnt theft…

      And if you really think piracy is harming HBO AT ALL you are completely obnoxious.
      Especially in the first seasons piracy / worth of mouth has allowed this show to become what it has become. You have any idea how many people got HBO just because of Game of Thrones?! I bet HBO does.

      Some people clearly have a black and white view. Count us on the exact opposite ends of the spectrum.

      Also… the decrease has little or nothing to do with piracy. Maybe 100k at most. you ll see episode 5 there wont be spike. Rather i expect number st to kepe hovering around 7M for the rest of the season with some natural increases for eps 8-9-10.

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    96. I see the reasoning for both but my point is that this site, HBO, and the creators of the show have all posted about the staggering numbers of piracy of the show like it was a good thing up until this article. And now people are being told to be ashamed. My main question is – should people be ashamed because they pirated the leaked episodes or because they pirated any episodes? Because almost everyone is defending the reason why they pirated the episodes not the specific 4 episodes that leaked. If the shame is only because of the leaked episodes then that’s one thing. But I think its hypocritical of everyone to say now how bad it is that people pirate the show but yet up until this point brag about how awesome it is that its the most pirated show and how they(D&D and HBO) didn’t think it was a bad thing.

      The episodes that were leaked were a different scenario entirely. On one hand – it was wrong and bad and shouldn’t have happened. If the people who are given these screeners are signing a contract saying they won’t release them ahead of time then yes, HBO should do whatever they can to the person who leaked them. But on the other hand, is it more illegal than the uploaders of the previous 40 episodes of the show? If there was no contract, then no. Its a case of mistrust and it was wrong but it was no more illegal than the other uploaders.

      I just don’t think people in the fandom should be shamed for watching the leaked episodes. No one HAD to watch them granted but I highly doubt that HBO or D&D are going to shut down the show or go broke because of 4 leaked episodes (and actually there was 3 episodes leaked because the first news of the leak hit about the same time as the premiere) I still don’t think the viewing numbers will be drastically affected anymore than saying that people who watch the show won’t buy the DVDs/Blu-rays even if they still have the episodes on HBO Go/Vudu/etc.

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    97. This post is a moralizing BS report. It gives us no convincing evidence that (‘low’) numbers of viewership ‘n (high) piracy rates are anyhow related. Sure, numbers may coincide sometimes, but a coincidence is NOT (concrete) proof. The funny thing is, that the first episode had hit two records in the first 7 days, it became the highest-rated GoT episode of all time ‘n it was downloaded over 13 million times, which is as many times as episodes 2, 3, and 4 combined. Obviously, many downloaders avoided LQ GoT screeners. They rather grabbed HQ copies.

      Sharing files is theft? Thieving is depriving the rightful owners of their property. Subscribers that share episodes don’t deprive GoT producers. So they’re not thieves ‘n sharing is not theft.

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    98. dragonreborn,

      You can say that about any luxury/leisure good. What makes Game of Thrones so special that you shouldn’t have to pay for it?

      If you’re a poor student, does that give you the right to access all luxury goods without paying?

      People seem to be losing perspective and thinking that shows like GoT are essential goids rather than luxury items.

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    99. In common usage, theft is the taking of another person’s property without that person’s permission or consent with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of it.
      Piracy is typically an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea, sometimes involving murder of the owner.
      Why are these words used to describe dowloading a TV show which was priced out of the market by greedy cable companies?

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    100. AJC,

      Fortunately for me I had the films package before GoT started so get Sky Atlantic free, but yes it does cost a bomb :O(

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    101. The problem is that there are so many factors to consider when discussing piracy. One of these issues is the country you are from. Like many others I am from the UK, and would be forced to take out a 12 month contract with Sky if I were to watch the program legally at the time of broadcast. Not only do I not want to subsidise those interested in sport, I have no interest in giving money to anything associated with that slime ball Murdoch, whose company has been found guilty of hacking telephones, including that of a murdered schoolgirl. So the lecture about morality is always going to fall short for me.

      If HBO Now was freely available would I subscribe? Yes, but only if it was freely available, and not limited to those people with Apple devices. Ridiculous idea.

      So I pirate the episodes weekly. Do I feel bad about it? No, because the show benefits greatly from me pirating it. I am able to join on the online discussion here, buy more merchandise as compensation from getting the episodes illegally, and get the DVDs when they come out. If I was forced to wait for the DVDs my interest would be greatly reduced, and I wouldn’t buy nearly so much.

      I didn’t watch the leaked episodes at first, because it did feel less moral. However, when I read a spoiler from a commenter on this site concerning the ending of episode 4 I gave in. I want to be able to discuss the episodes when they come out, but wouldn’t be able to for fear of spoilers if I hadn’t watched them. It isn’t ideal, but I feel I have made the right decision for myself, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me because of it.

      Having said all of that, do I want HBO to catch the leader? Yes. It was a complete disregard of the trust placed in them, and will likely result in fewer light spoilers being released in the future (episode titles). If HBO ever found me which is highly unlikely due to how I locate the episodes, I will stop buying any merchandise/DVDs. It won’t stop me downloading the episodes though, so it will be their loss. I do think they have slightly brought this on themselves. Bragging about piracy was never a great idea.

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    102. Cows play against the books of perfumes yesterday.

      This comment and the original post have one thing in common – both are pure nonsense.

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    103. Ross,

      Agreed. I have had no trouble avoiding spoilers (although that is in effort of my own mostly, I am a Sullied but have refused to look through too many spoiler tags on this website using context clues for fear of “show spoilers”, for example.) In general I think the episode details are being well hidden by the media.

      My choice in not downloading them is less about the legality of it, not that I necessarily condone it, either. My decision was made because as mentioned above, I appreciate the hype of watching a new episode live in its complete and final glory. I feel as if those who took advantage of the leak did themselves a disservice, and now they have to wait another 3+ weeks for new material?

      :cue Sirius Black voiceover: I DID MY WAITING!!!

      I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to ruin the experience for myself.

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    104. I’ll never condone using torrent technology to distribute sensitive content prematurely, but this situation was a fairly predictable one. Trust models involving electronic media distribution ALWAYS fail, whether it is by active unethical behavior or by passive lax in firewall/delivery security. HBO executives and security folk knew that. We’ll see if it does affect the HBO/TimeWarner bottom line when they report to the SEC their profit, revenue and income numbers in the fall and early next year. I doubt this will hit them that much, if at all….but I bet there will be a clampdown on early reviewer distribution next year.

      But I am worried that the public torrent downloaders don’t realize what they are doing, in addition to supporting predictable unethical behavior. Your download activity can be traced by 3rd party entities (including the government) and, which is even more of a concern, all torrent downloading nodes become decentralized torrent servers for the next torrent downloader. It is a brilliant model of exploitable viral distribution as hacking and info phishing becomes more sophisticated.

      I wouldn’t exclude the possibility that this GoT dissemination “experiment” was a test for BOTH sides of the law. The more you know… 🙂

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    105. Regardless of whether torrenting meets the technical definition of ‘theft’ or ‘piracy,’ it DOES meet the definition of ‘copyright infringement’ and is legally and ethically wrong.

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    106. Fez:
      Regardless of whether torrenting meets the technical definition of ‘theft’ or ‘piracy,’ it DOES meet the definition of ‘copyright infringement’ and is legally and ethically wrong.

      Not really, not everywhere

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    107. The obvious sharp drop in viewership was because of the show diverging from the books! Kappa.

      Reading Geekfurious try to rationalize that the leak (a leak which has never happened before) wasn’t the cause of a record breaking drop was pretty amusing. I clearly remember watching the season 1 bonus episode ahead of time on HBO go and I can tell you that I did NOT watch it again on TV when it aired. Imagine if the Walking Dead had a leak for season openers or finales? Can you honestly say with a fully functional brain that would not affect their numbers?

      5 out of my 6 friends that I asked all admitted to me that they watched every episode before the 2nd. The 6th friend did not know about the leak. Absolutely none of those 5 friends watched the episodes live.

      The numbers explain themselves. What can’t be explained is why HBO is stupid enough to hand out 4 episodes every season so freely. They had nothing to gain from being nice to petty journalists that write average spoiler-free reviews. The reviews don’t provide anything of value. If you think that the show doesnt help them more than vice versa, you are probably ones of those dreamers that also thinks the show didn’t immensely help george’s book sales.

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    108. There are so many shades of grey here. One time I pirated…what was it….Paul Blart (I know, I know) or some stupid movie that I know for a fact I was watching ONLY bc it was free. If it had cost me $1 to watch I would have passed. So they truly did not miss out on $ by me pirating it. I imagine most pirates are immoral POS’s that love the show and still pirate it. That’s not me – I happily throw my money at GoT for the complete seasons and the HBO subscription.

      But it’s impossible to measure. Are people stealing it and also watching it live? Are they separate groups? Are they people that wouldn’t pay $1 to see it even if they could easily? *shrug* Impossible to say.

      What HBO needs to do is find the screener that leaked it and bring them to court. Sue them for the highest viewership possible (should be worth millions of dollars) so this doesn’t happen again. By the way, I have NOT pirated the first 4 episodes. I was slightly tempted but then what would I do for 4 weeks?? By the way, *knock on wood*, it’s been really easy to avoid spoilers. I don’t know squat about episode 3 or 4 yet.

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    109. asfastasican: What can’t be explained is why HBO is stupid enough to hand out 4 episodes every season so freely. They had nothing to gain from being nice to petty journalists that write average spoiler-free reviews.

      That is a headscratcher, indeed. But as I stated before, my cohorts and I think that there is something larger at work here…a reverse psychology “experiment” if you will….or a risky marketing initiative for the latter half of the GoT season and subsequent merchandising.

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    110. HelloThere:
      Wow… Winteriscoming.net has just started a book purist rant column

      And you are discussing it here…. why? Is this the “what’s up at WIC site or article”?

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    111. I haven’t seen the leaked eps. but I do like what little info I’ve managed to overhear about them. HBO being spurned obviously means the spoilery stuff from season 6 filming will be locked up tighter than

      Maester Aemon’s pickle barrel!

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    112. Just to comment on a few of the topics being discussed here.

      1) Of course the leaked episodes effected the ratings. There is always a natural drop off between episodes 1 and 2. That is fine. The much bigger drop off is directly related to a lot of people viewing the leaked content. The numbers don’t lie. It has been downloaded millions of times.

      2) Personally, I watched the leaked episodes. I would have had to avoid all GoT websites for a month if I didn’t. I pay for HBO and buy the Blu-ray sets, so ethically I did nothing wrong.

      3) HBO should only release 2 episodes in the future. Hopefully they have learned their lesson.

      4) The book purists, as a few others have said, are a small fraction of the actual TV show fanbase. They are a very vocal minority that has a large online presence. The show diverting from the books hasn’t happened half as much as people thought it would this season.

      5) Eventually HBO Now will be World Wide…. With no restrictions. That will take years as the world transitions to digital (and on demand). Same thing for the WWE Network eventually being everywhere. Or sports blackouts being a thing of the past. This stuff will all happen in time. We are in a transition period.

      6) I loved the first 4 episodes. The first episode was slow, but each one progressed more and more. I like how the show is cutting out the fat of books 4 and 5, but still keeping a lot of major key elements.

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    113. Rilesx3: What HBO needs to do is find the screener that leaked it and bring them to court. Sue them for the highest viewership possible (should be worth millions of dollars) so this doesn’t happen again.

      Depending on the thought process behind the distribution, HBO may learn (and possibly profit) a lot from this. I’m wondering if HBO has placed sophisticated footprints/signatures/tracers in the vid file (possibly embedded in the rendered video itself…like a unique character/pattern within that “edited” small council scene that folks discuss) to track dissemination. If they wanted to, I bet an HBO security technologist can trace the torrent file viewed to a reviewer. But do they care to prosecute when they receive 28M+ (# of subscribers as of 2013) x $12 (avg HBO subscription price in cable/FIOS/satellite packages) each month, plus merchandising/licensing profits?

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    114. Hodor’s Bastard,

      They probably have to prove they lost money due to these leaks.

      That might be hard to prove. Millions of people who probably have HBO watched them. That isn’t lost revenues….

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    115. The days that I keep my Sky (NZ) subscription are numbered. I ONLY keep it going for SOHO (which is an HBO channel over here with no in-program ads). There are an awful lot of alternatives coming to market to view on the internet such as Lightbox (free for the first year); Netflix (not as extensive as the international versions but still keeps the kids happy with heaps of movies (NZ12.99 per month); PremierLeaguePass (for my UK soccer needs, about $150 per year). These 3 cover almost all my viewing needs, apart from GoT. Now, I have the tough decision whether to cancel SKY (@ $132.68 per month for Basic, Sky Movies and SOHO), or NZ $1,592.16 per year. Hmm, maybe not so tough.

      I can see the attraction for HBO in doing exclusive deals with cable companies. It’s a very large, known amount on money in hand, and money in the hand is said to be worth two in the bush, after all. But if I were a cable company executive, I’d be terrified of losing stuff like GoT from my lineup, because when that goes, so does an awful lot of revenue paid by people for stuff that they don’t really want to see. Personally, I can’t wait for that day.

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    116. The Bastard,

      If TimeWarner’s last public filing with the SEC is any indication, this “experiment” is not about losing money. HBO is rolling in profits. There are a lot of “reverse psychology” models at work when dealing with the public fiscal ventures. I’ll be looking at TW’s next fiscal statement to see if they mention any “losses” due to copyrighted theft of content. I doubt that will surface at all.

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    117. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Valid point.

      The market is certainly shifting…. And HBO is stuck in a weird place. They have to charge $15 for HBO Now to keep the cable companies happy. But $15 a month is a lot compared to Hulu, Netflix, WWE, UFC, and a few other services that are all in the $10 range. I think they can get away with $15 while GoT is still on air. It will be hard when the show ends.

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    118. Lars: And you are discussing it here…. why? Is this the “what’s up at WIC site or article”?

      Look, sometimes people mention WiC. It’s going to happen, most of us come from there. No point in getting annoyed at people every time they want to gossip. Personally I don’t give a fuck what they’re doing except for when they’re stealing from us. But let people say what they want as long as people aren’t violating the basic rules of this site.

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    119. “To combat this, HBO will simulcast the entirety of season 5 worldwide to avoid such spoilers”

      This is not true. HBO Now is geoblocked and you can only watch it in the US (without a cat-and-mouse game of cheating). While GoT S5 is being simulcast by many of HBO’s partners around the world, the list is far from comprehensive. There are many countries, even large ones like Japan, where this is not the case. In these places, either the shows are delayed or not available at all.

      Also note that piracy is really common in Australia, because HBO partners with Foxtel, which not only charges ridiculous prices but is also owned by a rabid partisan whom many people do not want to support.

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    120. Personally I think that HBO should run with the free advertising as episode 4 is one of the best of the series to date and episode 3 is fairly good too, much better than the extremely boring opening and the okish but no more than that 2 – and here you will find the explanation for the rating drop as after the hype and huge expectations, the season 5 opening is just flat and the worst season opening to date, while episode 2 improves but is still below average for the series; however I fully expect the series to go to new high ratings after episode 4 as everyone will want to see episode 5 for sure

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    121. Australian here.

      The ONLY way to watch it legally here is to buy Foxtel, which is $600 a year plus installation (Our dollar is about 80c US). There’s an on-demand version but even that is $30 a month with lock-ins.

      Furthermore it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch, and I’m not giving him any money.

      I watched S2 legally as it was on iTunes. A lot of people here use a US iTunes account and a VPN to get HBO Now, but Murdoch is trying his hardest to get the government to stop this.

      So until all that changes, I’ll keep my eyepatch and parrot.

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    122. I’ve not seen the leaked episodes but I know what happens. I came to this site to discuss ep 1 after it aired and was unaware of the leaks even existing initially. I was unfortunate enough to read a major spoiler from episode 4 in that short period of time between some £&#@ posting it and it being deleted. To those who say that avoiding spoilers is easy you are wrong. It’s luck.

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    123. Lars: And you are discussing it here…. why? Is this the “what’s up at WIC site or article”?

      Some of us appreciate the heads up. When pickings are slim, it’s nice to know someone can pop on over and stir some shit in a place that doesn’t get much attention anymore.

      Thanks, HelloThere!

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    124. BrOfTa,

      I’m not saying that I’m broke. I’m saying that all that is legally available is a giant package of things I do not care about just to have GOT when it airs. I’m not a big consumer because it’s mostly wasteful. I do believe in fair exchange. What exists is no fair exchange. $200 as a one-time investment is a lot less than paying $30 per month on useless crap for an entire year. Cost-benefit analysis.

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    125. Laura:
      I’m like many – I pay for HBO but there was no way in hell I wasn’t watching those episodes, merely from a spoiler standpoint. I still watch every week, at 6pm (West Coaster watching on HBOE) and then again at 9 for the HD version. I don’t feel bad at all for watching the leaked copies. I made no money off of them, nor did HBO lose any of my money. And as soon as they bring HBONow to other devices, I will cut the cord with cable altogether and be a Netflix/HBONow subscriber. They really choked on the release of HBONow imo. I don’t want Apple TV, and nor do most people I know. Let me DL this ish on my Xbox and PC and then we’re talking.

      Having said all that, I CANNOT wait for ep 5 so we’re all on equal footing again. This show is a worldwide phenomenon – don’t send 4 eps out to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Send 1-2 out to your standard critics and higher level GOT websites or better yet, none at all. I don’t really think they need the hype to be honest.

      This^

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    126. Why should I be made to feel somehow like a ‘bad person’ for downloading leaks somebody else leaked to the internet, if this was some other show nobody would care. I downloaded the leaks, watched them, enjoyed (not loved, like I loved the first 4 seasons) and I am still a long time HBO subscriber, since before the days of Game of Thrones.

      I also buy the blu rays and have contributed countless dollars to HBO. Im not going to lose sleep over downloading those episodes, for what its worth, ive also shown it to a half dozen people since then, not being rude, its true.

      For me it was nice to get that entire 4 hour chunk in one sitting, getting a good feel of the changes being made and how the season was going to go, its a shame what they have decided to do with this show, considering the brilliant storyline and characters being omitted, its nothing more than fan fiction, ive met tons of people on this site defending the changes, however, anyone outside this page that has read the books hates what they are doing with the show, and all seem to agree this is the season the show is starting to suck and not be the great adaptation they thought it was, the leaks really helped me accept that fact, I think I would have been extremely disappointed if I had to wait week after week for lackluster episodes like Episode 1 & 2.

      I kinda went off track there, when word of this show broke I was a kid at Christmas and now, its just sad to see what they have done with a lot of it this year..

      Still, episodes 3 & 4 are effing awesome.

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    127. House Olivegarden,

      Books 4 and 5 have a combined 11 chapters for Arya, Bran, & Sansa. No way the show could follow the books and barely include them while building up entirely new storylines in Dorne & The Iron Islands.

      The show made the right choices. The books veered off course. The show is keep to the direction they should.

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    128. House Olivegarden,

      Depends on who you are surrounding yourself with. All of my friends who have read the books are pretty understanding of the choices made this season. To me, all you have to do is go read some unsullied reviews to understand that it would have been impossible to include the Iron Islands,Griffs,Oldtown,Vale politics(Harry The Heir), and all of Dorne without really dragging the show to a halt. With all the cuts made I am still seeing the main critique that the show doesn’t have time to let the story breathe because they have to jump from character-to-character. And like the books, I am starting to see people growing restless with the story seemingly going nowhere(ie:Dany is still in Essos and the WW still are no closer to invading). Book fans are less than half of the audience, and book purists are only a fraction of that. I’m growing tired of always trying to explain why cuts have to be made. At this point, you either accept it or you don’t. There seems to be no middle ground.

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    129. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I didn’t ask you to explain to me why changes have to be made, I know what an adaptation is, and I know that sometimes changes are necessary.

      What I don’t forgive however, is the fact that 2 of the 4 leaked episodes are under 50 minutes? Episode 1 is 50 and episode 4 is 49 minutes, they have so much to do this year they couldn’t include all kinds of great characters (even friggen PENNY of all people) to make this show even feel like a distant relative of the books.

      While there are episodes that short I refuse to believe they have ‘so much’ to do. Season 1 had much more packed episodes, wouldn’t that have been the time to have 49-50 minute episodes every other week? Because if they were so busy, they would be using the full extent of the Hour that they have.

      Replacing great characters/scenes, with utter garbage. Loras/Olyvar was so pointless. I watch with friends and we see so many places were slight changes could be made and it could all work much better, it comes down to laziness and honestly, a lack of GENUINE love for the source material. & the stuff they did include in, which is Dorne, they’ve had 2 throwaway scenes in the 4 leaked episodes and the only good one was Doran and Ellaria in episode 2. The Sand Snakes are introduced in Episode 4 and my first impression was not a good one, the one with the whip is cool, sexy and fun. The other 2 are corny as all hell, and I mean that. Should have introduced ARIANNE!

      Changes don’t bother me that much to be honest, some of the changes ive embraced. (Tywin & Arya) Im fine with Jaime going to Dorne, even though it stung at first.

      However, Oldtown, Young Griffs, Stoneheart, Kingsmoot, Northerners. All these things left out and 2 of 4 episodes are under 50 minutes, sorry, any true fan would have found a way to include one of those many many omitted things. If not, maybe you should be running a different show, the vampire diaries or something.

      Im gonna get S*it on by everyone for my feelings on this season, but that’s just it, my feelings. I don’t need people to agree with me. I’ve heard enough criticisms about this season.

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    130. House Olivegarden,

      And the reason why they add some scenes for certain characters…. Like Loras, is to flesh them out as TV characters. So when something happens to them in the future, the viewers have an emotional attachment to the events.

      This is one of the reasons why The Red Wedding had an even bigger emotional impact on television, was because they added scenes for Robb compared to the books.

      I’m not sure why this is so hard to understand for book readers. That characters need to be fleshed out for the show….

      And they can’t keep on adding more and more characters. The show is at their limit.

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    131. The Bastard,

      Im not disagreeing with you, because I don’t know what was said, but really? Because if that’s the case, each year they have had less & less time to film, because almost every season has been shorter then the one before it, and season 1 continues to be the longest season, when by rights, it should be the shortest.

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    132. House Olivegarden,

      Season 1 cut the Tyrion battle scene because they ran out of money. There is also a lot more dialogue only scenes.

      The last few seasons have had much more action scenes which take up a lot more time to film.

      And forget time. Even if they had more time, they can’t increase the number of storylines more. The show is in the 5th season. It needs to start contracting, not expanding more.

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    133. House Olivegarden,

      You can speak from your own personal experience. You do not get to speak for those of us that were book fans long before the show and love the show. Vocal minorities on certain websites (in favor or against the show) do not constitute the views of the majority of book readers or non-book readers. You either accept the changes or not.

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    134. House Olivegarden,

      I share your disappointment, but you are mistaken if you believe adding five minutes per episode would “make room” for any of those things you mention. They already film far more than 60 minutes per episode and then that get’s edited down to what airs on TV.

      Also, I find it insulting for you to complain how you’re being “shit on” for your opinions, when you dismiss the work of those actually chosen by the author to adapt his work as “lazy”* and lacking “genuine” love of the source material. The guys who got the job by impressing GRRM with their love of the source material. The guys that actually know how it ends.

      *Seriously: watch any of the behind the scenes stuff and tell me with a straight face that the huge team making this show is lazy.

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    135. RichardHorpe,

      Well, I already said this is simply how I feel so your comment is redundant.

      But, I don’t go by the internet, I go by what I see with my own 2 eyes, and if everyone around me is hating the changes and upset with where D&D are taking this incredible series INCLUDING myself, then I would say that is the majority.

      As I’ve said, and that’s nothing against anyone here, the only place ive heard anything really good about this season, has been on this website right here.

      But, after watching the leaks the good thing is it made me somewhat able to accept the show and the books as 2 completely different entitys, that’s why I loved episodes 3 & 4 so much, they were nothing like the books but regardless it was great television

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    136. A lot of the book reader backlash can be directly linked to the fact the television show is going to tell the ending first. Once that was reported, it was obvious some people were going to hate on the show no matter what it did.

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    137. House Olivegarden: anyone outside this page that has read the books hates what they are doing with the show,

      Really? Anyone? I beg to differ. I know plenty of people who have read the books and love the show…yes, still. That’s not to say they don’t feel some trepidation about a few things, but still, they love the show. Perhaps that is not the case for those with whom you surround yourself, but please don’t try and speak for all book-readers outside this site. I understand there are some book readers who, while they may understand the concept of adaptation, simply cannot abide some of what is being omitted/changed, but there are plenty of others who, while they may not like everything, would never go so far as to deride the show-runners the way you are.

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    138. This leak is in all honesty the fault of one individual (perhaps a collection) who chose to leak the episodes they were given. They probably did this for either a) attention; b) they have HBO & wanted to hurt them; or c) because they wanted to help fans, so they could get to see them quicker. For whatever reason, it is total unacceptable, and a displays a complete lack of respect for HBO. I hope HBO find & punish the individual(s) involved.

      However, despite choosing to not watch the pirate episodes myself, I personally feel it is ridiculous to criticise dans for doing so. There are a whole host of reasons for watching the episodes, & a lot of the people will contribute financially to the series anyway. Pirates help the series as much as any one individual who subscribes to HBO. This leak has been brilliant for them in terms of publicity, so let’s not try to kid ourselves that they’re worse off by people pirating the episodes now.

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    139. See, no matter what i say people will twist my words around to their liking.

      Lets get this straight, i do love this show, otherwise i wouldnt be watching it, but yes, i do hate the way it is being adapted, and yes, it pales in comparison to the source material, for the first 3 years of this show, i told people it was the best adaptation id ever seen, now… can you really even call it an adaptation?

      I love it as a television show! very much! episodes 3 and 4 were nothing like the books at all, but great television nonetheless.

      As an adaptation however, its a butchered mess.

      EDIT: an honestly, i really am very excited to see the ending on the show first, im curious as to how accurate it will be to GRRMS, but i have my doubts he will ever finish the series anyway

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    140. I understand where many of you are coming from with your frustration on the length of episodes. And so,e great dialogue from the books being cut. But unfortunately you aren’t getting the big picture. It’s not a question of will, it’s about cost. Money and even more than money it’s time. The show runners are giving up as much time if not more than they should to running a show. And money wise, it costs more money to pay actors. Crew. Etc etc, which eats at the budget. To film more scenes. And even then it’s not as simple as throwing more money at it. It’s time. They have to go through the books, condense it down, re write it it no a TV teleplay script, and then story board it etc. then they have to go out to all these countries on a massive production scale and make it.

      GoT is not an ordinary show production wise.

      Normal shows have smaller plots, less significant characters, and they don’t have to contend with lengthy books to transform. Other shows just write as they go along. Don’t need travel expenses for crews to the same degree, and it’s easier to just add more dialogue on the spot. Etc etc etc. if you aren’t getting it. Then there’s really no point explainin’

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    141. House Olivegarden,

      It’s easy to say it’s a butchered mess, but you have shared no ideas on how they could have fit all the stuff you think should be fit into roughly 70 hours of television. Again, the producers know how it ends, where the major characters land, and the major plot points along the way. You haven’t even bothered with something as simple as “remove scene x, insert scene y”. Not that’s lazy.

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    142. House Olivegarden,

      Okay, lets adapt is properly then.

      We need to add in The Iron Islands, add more characters to Dorne, bring in Aegon and his crew, introduce Old Town, finally get to Stoneheart, and perhaps sprinkle some of Bran’s training in there.

      That would make for a proper adaption. So how often would we see the current main characters of the show if they did a true adaption?

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    143. The Family Name,

      I dont think they could have fit everything in, not without more episodes, i said they could have managed to find ONE Of those things to put in, because they could have. 5 minutes tacked on to episode 1 and episode 4 would have given more time to another storyline then we’ve had for Dorne so far this year, OR if they wanted to leave ALL the storylines out, give us some northerners, give us Penny, give us some characters to MAKE UP for this. We got the sand snakes, and the B movie bad girl description fits them perfectly. Sorry, its the truth. They give us Dorne and so far they have done that wrong as well.

        Quote  Reply

    144. House Olivegarden: As an adaptation however, its a butchered mess.

      Sorry, but that is nonsense. An adaptation is good if it successfully transfers the story from one storytelling medium to another. This show has nailed the stories of each of the three books (inner conflicts of moralities, confused loyalties and love-hate relationships) superbly. Moreover, B&W clearly have the story firmly in their minds: all of the changes they make are obviously aimed at enhancing the story for the visual medium.

      Now, it’s possible that you are one of those fans that does not care about the stories and is only interested in the fantasy details or incidental characters or stuff like that. However, the reason why the call it “adaptation” is because telling the same story in two different ways often (and perhaps even usually) requires using a different collection and/or diversity of details and incidental characters: what tells a story about conflicted inner values or love-hate relationships in a book often is inadequate or inappropriate for telling the same story on screen and vice-versa.

      This season is all of two episodes old, but it looks like they once again have the story firmly in mind. They have set up the same “kill the boy/girl, become the man/woman” story that GRRM told in Crows/Dragons. Indeed, it probably is not a coincidence that the trailer’s used David Bowie’s “Heroes” as a song: the story told in that song is very similar to the one GRRM told.

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    145. The Bastard,

      Have you not read a single one of my comments? i dont mind changes, they need to happen. But i want it to feel like they are ACTUALLY trying.

      I would have been perfectly happy with everything they left out, if they had introduced some more characters for tyrions journey, or some more northmen.

      All we have gotten is the sand snakes. terrible choice, that right there makes me question them, they went for sex appeal over good storytelling.

      Not one place in my comments have i ever said this series needed to be adapted completely faithfully, changes must be made and ive expected that since the first season, i could have never expected this though. Its just sad.

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    146. The Family Name: Okay, I’ll play along. Walk me through what you would add with your five minutes per episode.

      All of Tom Bomadil’s House, the Scouring of the Shire, and the Championship Quidditch Matches!!!!!

      (For comparison, these are things that Tolkienistas and Potterheads asserted could have been in the movies had the movies shaved a few minutes from other scenes….)

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    147. House Olivegarden,

      This is why people are talking against you at this point. Actually trying?

      They leave their families for 6 months at a time. They are obviously putting their life into this.

      Stop with the nonsense.

        Quote  Reply

    148. The Family Name,

      5 minutes per episode is more then Dorne is getting with its 2 minutes every 2 episodes, and that seems to be working so far.

      If they can do it for Dorne, why cant 5 minutes every 2 episodes work for Aegon or the Greyjoys? thats more than some main characters have had in FULL SEASONS.

      Sorry, its true. Next Question?

        Quote  Reply

    149. You do realize they have already introduced characters they haven’t even had a chance to introduce back into the show?

      The Brotherhood Without Banners. The Blackfish. Edmure. Gendry.

      So you want them to add in even more characters when they can’t even come full circle on other characters still because of how big the show is?

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    150. HBO going after piracy is one thing, but going after establishments that are doing HBO a service by organizing weekly fan parties is another thing. All HBO is doing in the latter is upsetting GoT/HBO fans, to no ones benefit, except for lawyers.

        Quote  Reply

    151. House Olivegarden,

      I didn’t really see anyone twist your words around, and if you felt my post was an example of that, I apologize. I got confused, even with your first post, where you say really negative things (which is absolutely your right), but then say you loved episodes 3 and 4. Instead of focusing on that, I chose to focus on what seemed a generalization of book readers views based on what had to be a small sample size. Also, please understand, when people make claims like D&D are hacks (no, you did not say that, but you made comments about them being lazy and not loving the books), it is difficult see them loving the show, yes, even though you said you did love episodes 3 and 4.

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    152. House Olivegarden,

      If you think that adding 5-8 more minutes per episode would be enough to show Oldtown, Young Griff, Stoneheart, Iron Born, Northerners, Brienne and Nimble Dick thrilling voyage, etc… Sorry, mate, but you don’t have a clue what an adaptation is. And I’m pretty sure that ratings drop would be waaaaay worst than now. Too many new characters that viewers wouldn’t give a fig.

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    153. House Olivegarden: I would have been perfectly happy with everything they left out, if they had introduced some more characters for tyrions journey, or some more northmen.

      Why? What purpose would they serve the story? How would they emphasize Tyrion’s

      kill the drunken wretch and become Tywin II

      story arc? What would northmen do for Theon’s

      kill the Reek re-become Theon

      story arc?

      House Olivegarden: All we have gotten is the sand snakes. terrible choice, that right there makes me question them, they went for sex appeal over good storytelling.

      Probably not: I can see many ways in which they could be very useful for Jamie’s

      kill the spoil child become Lannister-with-Soul

      story arc. Now, GRRM blew it in the books by not sticking any primary protagonists in Dorne, but as a backdrop for a story, it has some definite potential. On the other hand, the Riverlands are a dead horse: and dead horses being kicked makes for a poor storytelling backdrop (as Crows demonstrated). It has nothing to do with sex-appeal: it has to do with providing a backdrop for a primary protagonist (Jaime) that is going to further the overall plot and hopefully communicate his story well. (Given that he’s going to have to deal with someone who despises the man that Jaime is aspiring to be, well, it could get interesting….)

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    154. The Family Name,

      That is an answer, i just said it, take the kingsmoot for example, and spread it over the course of the season, 10 minutes could have been spent on it already if they wanted to, that is an answer, you just want me to spell out scene by scene. Of course changes would have to be made, and you’re expecting me to spout off everything that happens and expect them to fit it into the season, no, condense it like they have with many other things, and it will work just fine..

      No you answer MY question, If Dorne can tell a story with 2 minutes every 2 episodes, why cant the Greyjoys tell a story with 5 minutes every 2 episodes? Explain

        Quote  Reply

    155. and LOL to people saying Tyrions journey doesnt need more characters, what would they bring to it? ENTERTAINMENT perhaps? Tyrions story has been a snoozefest the entire season so far. Good chemistry with Varys. Dull Scenes.

        Quote  Reply

    156. tyjon: HBO going after piracy is one thing, but going after establishments that are doing HBO a service by organizing weekly fan parties is another thing. A

      It is a violation of cable contracts for bars, restaurants, etc. to do that. Places that do these things (e.g., sports bars that advertising showing ESPN, for example) pay an extra fee to do this. Remember, these bars are not doing HBO a service: public showings are potentially cutting down on the ratings for the show, which in turn affects how much HBO can charge for subscriptions, or reducing the number of people who subscribe to HBO, which is an even bigger hit.

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    157. House Olivegarden: yrions story has been a snoozefest the entire season so far. Good chemistry with Varys. Dull Scenes.

      This is based on three scenes. Even if an Army of Griffins was going to march in front of Tyrion on the Road to Mereen, they wouldn’t be here yet.

      And, remember, much of the audience is watching this show for dynamics between people like Tyrion and Varys. That’s why they watched shows like Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, the Tudors, etc.

      House Olivegarden: That is an answer, i just said it, take the kingsmoot for example, and spread it over the course of the season, 10 minutes could have been spent on it already if they wanted to, that is an answer, you just want me to spell out scene by scene.

      That would be horrible adaptation. Something like the Kingsmoot would need to be done succinctly: the soul of wit is brevity, after all. After all, it involves only one secondary character and a bunch of novel and undeveloped ones. It is a Chekhovian gun hanging that never even gets a good firing in the books: and the conclusion itself is not any sort of firing, but more of a gun that gets put on the wall and then falls off of it.

      If B&W were going to do this, then they would have had to find some way of getting one of the main characters directly involved. But which one would that be? Sure, Sansa had nothing to do: but she doesn’t fit. It is not a good backdrop for Brienne’s quest to be the Patron Saint of Vows to the Dead. You can tell Jaime’s story in Dorne, but not in the Iron Islands.

      Frankly, the books would have been better without this stuff: it would have been death on the cable series.

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    158. HBO’s international distribution channels are a joke and it’s partners are bullies.

      Not all of us are fortunate enough to live in cities with cable, and even if we did it would have cost $150+ to watch last season (haven’t done the numbers this time). To get a satellite dish installed on a 12/24 month contract for just one show is much worse.

      Do they think we are too stupid to do some cost analysis of own own? Even if a season does cost $100 million I can do some pretty simple (& rough) sums & work out how much is fair to charge. I have literally paid $1/100MB to download this show in the past, so I don’t mind paying for it, but I will not be subject to extortion by bullies with a monopoly.

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    159. The Bastard,

      Considering youre the one person on this page speaking to me like a human being, ill be nice.

      Dorne, honestly. I loved the scenery and LOVED the Doran and Ellaria scene, but wow i got a bad taste from those sand snakes. They were awful. I know thats just off one scene, but still, i hope they turn it around.

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    160. bob,

      HBO is a ripoff when you compare the amount of quality content you get compared to Netflix.

      I usually just drop it once GoT is over each year.

        Quote  Reply

    161. Wimsey,

      It would be rushed, no doubt. But i can think of many, many things the show has shoehorned in, in past seasons. No reason they couldnt do the same here.

        Quote  Reply

    162. House Olivegarden,

      I agree with you there. The Sand Snakes scene was probably the worst I have seen on the show since Season 1 when Arya and Joffrey go into it near the lake. Both scenes looked super cheesy.

      I think they needed women who look the part more. They got females who look like girls instead of ones who like like real women.

        Quote  Reply

    163. The Bastard:
      House Olivegarden,

      Books 4 and 5 have a combined 11 chapters for Arya, Bran, & Sansa.No way the show could follow the books and barely include them while building up entirely new storylines in Dorne & The Iron Islands.

      The show made the right choices.The books veered off course.The show is keep to the direction they should.

      I agree. I’m glad we didn’t get those sorry ass Greyjoys this season.

        Quote  Reply

    164. Loras and Olyvar wasn’t a pointless scene at all. It was sexposition. First they name dropped Dorne. When Margaery dropped in, it showed that she’s supremely confident and starting to take charge. Contrast with that Cersei who is becoming increasingly paranoid and falling apart. It sets up their conflict for the season.

        Quote  Reply

    165. WeirwoodTreeHugger,

      Next time i meet someone who took that scene that way, ill let you know.

      Everyone i know just saw it as pointless, gratuitous sex scenes. The only thing slightly ‘interesting’ in it was Margaery going ‘perhaps, perhaps’ which sets up her storyline this season. Other than that, the general public is not gonna take that scene as any kind of character development. Sorry

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    166. House Olivegarden: But i can think of many, many things the show has shoehorned in, in past seasons.

      I cannot think of any. The show keeps things only if those things contribute to the story one way or another. Moreover, most of the things that the show does have some quick payoff. They have never done anything like stretch out irrelevant scenes lacking any principle characters over most of the year.

      In the end, there has to be some payoff in the season: but the Kingsmoot would not provide one.

      So, let me rephrase it this way. This year’s story is “kill the child, become the adult.” Which major character (which includes no Iron Islanders) would you transpose there and how would you tell his/her story with the Kingsmoot in the background? B&W think that they found a way to do this with Dorne and clearly did not think of a way to do it with the Iron Islands. So, how would you do that? That and that alone is the criterion for whether it could have been included.

      House Olivegarden: Next time i meet someone who took that scene that way, ill let you know.

      The people you know mean nothing, as they are a tiny subset of the population. WeirwoodTreeHugger accurately describes what the scene did. To restate, the scene helped re-develop Loras’ character and re-develop the notion that Kings Landing is a place where secrets are hard to keep. It also (probably) hung an important gun on the wall that I expect we will see fired in the weeks to come. If nobody you know picked up on that, well, they were being obtuse.

      bob: I have literally paid $1/100MB to download this show in the past, so I don’t mind paying for it, but I will not be subject to extortion by bullies with a monopoly.

      Actually, what HBO has is a product that they are selling. It is not extortion: you do not need to watch the show. It is not a monopoly: several other companies produce cable series You cannot have a monopoly on a single product, either: each car company or computer company or cell phone or software company or studio or whatever has it’s own products that they and they alone sell.

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    167. Mai The problem with some book purists is that they fail to understand that differences have to be made to make the story more coherent for television. They also get into a mindset that anything different is automatically wrong.

      How much outrage was there about Pedro’s casting for example?

        Quote  Reply

    168. House Olivegarden,

      The Kingsmoot. Split across an entire season. In five minute increments.

      So, basically, the emperor has no clothes.

      Which is actually pretty likely, since the “emperor” is just some random dude on the Internet.

        Quote  Reply

    169. The Family Name,

      and how exactly is getting 5 minutes of dorne spread over 3 episodes any better?

      Because, thats what you’re saying and if thats the case, you’re contradicting yourself, how is 2 minutes every 2 episodes good storytelling for Dorne?

        Quote  Reply

    170. WeirwoodTreeHugger,

      Lol as a gay man, i have nothing wrong with a bit of manasss.

      What i do mind is watching my favourite series go mainstream and therefore have to keep up with idiotic mainstream audiences. Therefore adding pointless sex scenes and made up characters, and giant loop holes and the list goes on and on.. it never had to do with Olyvars ass.

        Quote  Reply

    171. I suspect this will all play out like the X-Men Origins: Wolverine leak (another David Benioff project, come to think of it). A few years from now someone will end up in prison over this. Too late to cause much of a fuss, but harsh enough that it may cause potential leakers to think twice. A lawsuit is unlikely. Whatever assets the leaker has, they can’t be much.

      I do wonder if this would have happened if they hadn’t been so flippant about piracy. Obviously, a lot more is on the line in this instance. It messed with their HBO Now launch, and people like myself are a little irritated that they haven’t given us episode 3 & 4 on-demand yet (although it’s understandable). Probably, this screws with word-of-mouth the most, which is a useful marketing tool, and I would expect that IF this piracy had a substantial effect on live viewers, Episode 6 is where you would see the major ratings increase. (It’s typically the episode *after* word-of-mouth moments happen that the ratings have increased.)

      That said, I imagine the actual “drop-off” effect of this is negligible. It seems that past experience would dictate that these kind of things don’t affect live viewing as much (but premium cable, might be a different story).

      I’m kind of shocked at my ability to wait for the episodes. But GoT is such an “event” show, I can’t give up my home theater setup for some ill-advised instant gratification.

      I’m just hoping that the leaker is punished harshly and that HBO will stress the importance of protecting intellectual property. Some of us create IP for a living, and the precedent needs to be established by companies with the resources to do so.

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    172. House Olivegarden,

      You’re just making up numbers, buddy. Some episodes have no Dorne, some have a lot, and some in the middle. Like all the plot lines. You have no idea how much of anything is in the rest of the season, yet somehow you know it’s awful. It’s insane. Seriously.

      Save yourself from typing so much, basically every one of your posts so far could be two words:

      “NOONE UNDERSTANDS!!!”

        Quote  Reply

    173. WeirwoodTreeHugger,

      Not to mention I firmly believe Margaery’s urging Loras to be more discreet, and Loras summarily shooting down that idea with “everyone knows about me and no one cares” (I know that wasn’t the exact line, but it was the gist of it) is some definite foreshadowing. I’m of the belief Loras’ lack of discretion will be his undoing.

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    174. You can me as in one of the people who don’t mind the loss of the Greyjoy uncles. I liked the Kingsmoot, but that doesn’t mean it was needed for the show. D&D know things we don’t. If they were cut, it means they aren’t crucial for the endgame. Why go through the time and expense of scouting a location and hiring not just Vic and Euron, but hundreds of extras who have to be clothed? All because it’s a popular scene?

      Cuts are painful, I badly wanted Manderley and Dustin. That’s not actually evidence of laziness though. It’s merely evidence that drastic condensing was necessary for the show to wrap in seven seasons without getting unwieldy and slow.

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    175. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the opinions of book readers anyway. It’s the Unsullied opinions I’m interested in.

        Quote  Reply

    176. The Family Name,

      I didnt speak on ANYTHING about the last 6 episodes of the season, I am speaking directly about the leaked 4. And MAYBE TRY READING! i LOVED episodes 3 & 4.

      No, you stop typing, you wont answer because its true. and yes it is 2 minutes. the Dorne scene in episode 2 was 2 minutes and something. The Dorne scene in episode 4 was about 3 minutes.

      Im faaar from a book purist, i accepted no coldhands, i accepted the omisson of lady stoneheart, i accepted jaime going to dorne, but as a fan there are some things that cant always be accepted so say what you want but DONT call me a book purist. a purist would have alot more to complain about.

      Why wasnt Illyrio in the season 5 premiere? because of lazynesssssss!

      You wont answer me because its true and you know it, so you get sooky and say ‘you want all the storylines’ NO MORON I JUST WANT ONE! they could have fit another storyline in their perfectly, weather it was the greyjoys, griffs, or stoneheart. something else could have fit and its quite clear everytime i watch the leaks.

      Check yourself!

        Quote  Reply

    177. House Olivegarden,

      So it was a hipster thing not an ass thing? Ok.

      That still doesn’t change the fact that the scene had a point. Setting up the plot in KL. Which is precisely what season premieres are for. Cutting that scene wouldn’t have meant the Greyjoys or anyone else would be in. It just means the premiere would lack a check in with House Tyrell.

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    178. The Family Name,

      You’re in a verbal argument with a gay guy, just stop while you’re ahead dude, this isnt a physical altercation. You are going to lose. Just fair warning. I always have an answer.

        Quote  Reply

    179. House Olivegarden: Why wasnt Illyrio in the season 5 premiere? because of lazynesssssss!

      Or because the audience wouldn’t know who Illyrio is: after all, he has not been on the show in 4 years, and he was barely on the show after the first episode (one scene, I think). For comparison, that’s like expecting people finishing university to remember some minor point from a course that they took their final year of high school. Moreover, taking the time to explain him would only water down the story and plot. Unlike the issues of Loras being gay and secrets being impossible to keep in KL, who Illyrio is never is going to be important. The important points (Varys is a Targaryen supporter) were made more succinctly (and thus better) without Illyrio.

      Similarly, you asked for the Griffs. What would they do with them? They don’t contribute anything significant to this story: they basically serve as a “next time on Game of Thrones” teaser. LS appears in all of one page: they would have had to craft completely new material for LS.

      House Olivegarden: What i do mind is watching my favourite series go mainstream and therefore have to keep up with idiotic mainstream audiences.

      This is going to sound mean, but I think that you really are missing the problem: the show is trying to cater to a more sophisticated audience than you. This audience demands that the gun hung early be fired late. This audience demands that the scenes add up to something more than just the plot. Remember, the reason why most people do not take fantasy stories seriously is because fantasy stories are so unsophisticated: but this show has succeeded in winning over an audience that wouldn’t be caught dead reading anything published by Tor!

      I know that you are convinced otherwise, but the things you have suggested here would be watering down the show not even for the book fans, but for the least sophisticated segment of the fandom: the ones who think that this is a documentary. The Kingsmoot and other things would just be arbitrary details that contribute nothing to the story, and in doing so would dilute and perhaps even obfuscate the actual stories.

      This whole idea that people are watching Thrones for the nudity and the violence is easily tested. Those cable shows that have even more nudity or even more violence than Thrones should be blowing Thrones out of the water in ratings and popularity. Here’s the odd thing: those shows not only are not, but they are shown at 3 am because almost nobody watches them.

      So, recast your thinking. What do Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Tudors, Six Feet Under, etc., have in common? That is the “stream” for which B&W are aiming, and that is the stream that they are hitting. (Quite frankly, the grim atmosphere surrounding these shows means that they really are far from mainstream.)

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    180. The Family Name,

      Also, what reason couldnt Stoneheart have been in the show for? considering all Brienne & Podrick are doing are having boring storys in fields and on hills. and chance encounters every other episodes, its getting repetitive.

      Just some things that make you go WHY? but the season isnt over yet so im holding judgement on Briennes storyline.

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    181. House Olivegarden,

      For someone who was just saying how only one person was treating him like a human being, when in fact most people were disagreeing with you, yes, but being fairly respectful about it, you sure did just go off the deep-end. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    182. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I did, so i apologize. That was rude of me. I just dont like people speaking on my behalf, acting like i hate everything about the show! i loveeeee episodes 3 & 4!

      also, i didnt say i needed every storyline at all, just one, so that pushed me over the edge too haha!

      im a very passionate asoiaf fan i cant help it! lol

        Quote  Reply

    183. House Olivegarden,
      No, it’s popular. There is a big difference between “popular” and “mainstream.” Indeed, Thrones is popular despite the fact that it is not mainstream. Unlike mainstream TV shows, Thrones is 1) a fantasy (geeky); 2) dark and gloomy (depressing); 3) available only on premium cable (pricey!).

      WeirwoodTreeHugger,
      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      The other problem with that battle is that there are no major characters there. All you have is one moderately prominent supporting character. However, he is prominent enough that if he’s going to get a write-off, then it might as well be a good one. Also, I can see a few ways where they might make him a strong supporting player for Margaery’s storyline (given that they seem to have made Margaery a minor protagonist).

        Quote  Reply

    184. WeirwoodTreeHugger,

      That’s pretty much exactly what I think.

      I’m not sure about Lancel, as I tend to think he will be used more for Cersei’s downfall, but who knows, maybe he’ll have a part to play in Loras’, too, being the “muscle,” or something. I’ve always felt GRRM had a theme running through the books of the dangers of religious zealotry, and if in the show one of the ways they show that through them persecuting Loras for being gay, that would make sense. It would also certainly serve as a mirror to much of what is going on today in the States.

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    185. Wimsey,

      Re: Illyrio

      My understanding is Roger Allam was just too busy. They wanted him to appear, but he instead chose back-to-back plays AND being in Ian McKellan’s Sherlock Holmes movie. (Shocking, I know.)

      House Olivegarden,

      Maybe Lady Stoneheart just isn’t that relevant to the Big Picture? (That could go for a lot of things cut.) Maybe a mute zombie doesn’t make good TV? Plus the actress signed for a different show.

        Quote  Reply

    186. House Olivegarden,

      Once those episodes air (I’m one who has not watched the leaked episodes), I’ll look forward to discussing it with you. For the record, while I’m fairly easy-going in terms of not getting too upset if something I loved in the books have been cut, that doesn’t mean I don’t lament the cutting of certain characters and their story-lines (particularly part of Tyrion’s jouney…some may not have enjoyed it in the books, but I loved it).

      Oh, and if there is one thing I think everyone in this fanbase has in common, it’s passion. Passion can be a really beautiful thing, but sometimes it can boil over…on both sides. 🙂

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    187. The Family Name: Re: Illyrio

      That probably is serendipitous. I suspect that he would have bogged down the scene.

      The Family Name: Maybe Lady Stoneheart just isn’t that relevant to the Big Picture?

      Well, there is one other factor: she basically is not in either Crows or Dragons. She appears in one page of Crows, and none in Dragons. Moreover, the one page on which she does appear is not even with a major lead character!

      And that circles back to the old question: what would B&W have done with LS for a whole season? If they did her book material verbatim with no adaptation, then it would be less than a minute of screen time.

      GRRM himself blew it here: her re-appearance should have been postponed until the final chapters of Dragons.

      Nymeria Warrior Queen: I don’t lament the cutting of certain characters and their story-lines (particularly part of Tyrion’s jouney…some may not have enjoyed it in the books, but I loved it).

      There also is the ability to distinguish between parts of a book that we enjoy and parts that we recognize as critical to the story. I actually enjoyed those parts of the book well enough myself: but I did not view them as vital to Tyrion’s part in the story. Sure, they helped it along a bit: but it could have been told just as well without some sets of charactes. Now, I realized that GRRM was hanging a major gun on the wall for Winter (if any of us live long enough to read it): but he actually could have just had the final couple of chapters at the end. After all, this is going to be a huge shock and surprise to most of the characters in the books: but because Tyrion bumped into them, the readers won’t be as surprised, and that can interfere with appreciating the characters’ reactions.

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    188. House Olivegarden,

      So what if it’s mainstream? You say that as if that is some kind of badge of shame. – And the books were pretty mainstream even before the show. They sold millions of copies all over the world and were translated into a bunch of languages way before the first day of filming for the show was done. If you really hate something being mainstream that much, you should have left them on the shelve and pick up a copy of Rolf Dieter Brinkmanns “Godzilla”.

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    189. Abyss,

      Dont you ever tell me what i should or should not pick up, i can promise i know more about ASOIAF then you ever will. LOL, please.

      And books and television being mainstream are 2 very different things.

        Quote  Reply

    190. The Family Name: Exactly what would you do with your five minutes per episode. Pretend I’m an HBO executive.

      ARYA: I think I can sum up the show for you with one word: NOTHING.

      HBO: Nothing?

      ARYA: (Smiling) Nothing.

      HBO: (Unimpressed) What does that mean?

      ARYA: The show is about nothing.

      JAQEN: (To Arya) Well, it’s not about nothing.

      ARYA: (To Jaqen) No, it’s about nothing.

      JAQEN: Well, maybe in philosophy. But, even nothing is something.

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    191. “Or because the audience wouldn’t know who Illyrio is: after all, he has not been on the show in 4 years, and he was barely on the show after the first episode (one scene, I think). For comparison, that’s like expecting people finishing university to remember some minor point from a course that they took their final year of high school.”

      As opposed to book readers, whose main clue to the the Frey Pie scene was a reference to a random story Bran told his companions 11 years ago in real life? If I hadn’t accidently read something about the Rat Cook shortly before I read that chapter, I may well have missed it. The show is incredibly dumbed down compared to books as it is. We really don’t need more of it.

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    192. House Olivegarden,

      I’m not telling you what to read. You can read whatever you want. All I was pointing out was that you shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that the books didn’t went mainstream a long time ago. And no, books and television being mainstream are not two very different things. I honestly don’t even know how anybody could think that. The market for books is huge, reading in general is a very mainstream thing to do.
      – And I don’t see how the question which one of us knows more about the books has anything to do with all of this.

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    193. Abyss,

      How anybody could think that? You kidding?

      Its always been well known that generally television and books have a very different audience. Its been established that non readers make up the majority of GoTs audience, and the biggest age demo is 18-24. The same cannot be said for book readers, at all.

      So yes, going mainstream means 2 very different things to both, the majority of television watchers have different expectations, things unfortunately need to be dumbed down because the majority of people who watch television are too friggen dumb or lazy to pick up a book.. Kinda like how i had to dumb this down for you dear.

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    194. Chad Brick,

      I wouldn’t say the show is dumbed down. The show is the most complicated in television history.

      The books are just confusing for the no purpose most of the time.

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    195. You can tell Jaime’s story in Dorne, but not in the Iron Islands.

      Jaime’s story is “Fiddle around in the Riverlands, choose Brienne over Cersei, and thus get led into a trap”. I suppose you could move the former anywhere without changing the overall arc, as it is the last part that matters from a character perspective. However, I don’t see how Jaime-in-Dorne either makes any sense from his point-of-view, or how it leads into his ADWD end-game. The latter IS a major story element and not something that can be ignored if D&D want to claim they are “going to the same place” as GRRM. I take those words to mean that the fates of all the major characters will be similar, not merely that the same rear end will be in the Iron Throne after S7e10.

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    196. HBO still has 1 thing to work out and that is Australia … They air the show on foxtell here but u gotta pay 120$ a month for foxtell which adds up to 360$ just to watch thrones (I don’t watch anything else on foxtell) which is absolute bullshit . This year they introduced HBO NOW but it’s not available in Australia cuz foxtell or the government or some1 is trying to cash in . I even changed my store region to the states just to download HBO NOW to my iPad then subscribed and paid for HBO NOW but when I tried to play the episode it said it wasn’t available in this region … So what am I supposed to do … Pay 360$ to watch thrones … It not like I don’t support the show .. I’m constantly buying game of thrones products and I’ve got all 4 season Blue Rays . I’ve even bought the limited edition stuff like the crown and the Dany and DROGON that released this April ( that isn’t from HBO but I’m sure they get a certain percent of the money considering they used the original prop from the show for the crown). So yeh I don’t mind spending money and I am spending enough to support the show but if I have to download episodes (which I can rewatch at any time I prefer even if my internet plan is over ) rather than spend 360$ to watch a season then yeh that’s what I’m gonna do and buy the blue ray when it comes out next year to show my support

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    197. I wouldn’t say the show is dumbed down.The show is the most complicated in television history. The books are just confusing for the no purpose most of the time.

      I do agree that the books (particularly AFFC/ADWD) can be a bit opaque, especially given the vast gulf between their releases. I think the reason that a lot of fans who re-read AFFC/ADWD appreciated them more the second time is that they knew what to look for. GRRM certainly asks a lot of his readers, which is fine by me.

      Given that HBO gives out friendly little reminders at the beginning of each episode, I hardly think it would have been difficult for a TV-watchers to remember Illyrio. In fact, I thought it was confusing that he was NOT there, and so did my unsullied wife.

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    198. Sansa’s Knight,

      See its shit like that would make me pirate the show seriously. and i mean every week.

      To date the only episodes ive ever pirated were the leaked 4, ive always watched them every sunday and PVR and what not. But thats bullshit man

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    199. House Olivegarden,

      It’s why the show is mostly pirated in Australia … And u wouldn’t think its possible but game of thrones has a huge audience in India too and even there it’s impossible to watch the show with the rest of the world . And if u do somehow manage to avoid spoilers and wait till it airs on HBO months or even a year later in India half the stuff is censored and cut which simply ruins the show

      HBO NOW NEEDS TO BE AVAILABLE ON EVERY PLATFORM AROUND THE WORLD . THATS WHEN THE PIRATING WILL STOP OR MAYBE JUST DECREASE

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    200. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Im not intentionally rude to anybody unless they are to me first. Im expected to respect him because he is respected on the internet? That is ridiculous. Respect goes both ways. Im a longtime lurker here, occasional poster, that means absolutely nothing to me, nor should it anyone.

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    201. Chad Brick,

      For some reason I’ve always thought going towards the same end meant that they’re on the same line but the show is gonna stop before the end of the line . Picture this – the show ends with Dany sacking kings landing and cersie finally sees the shows version of the prophecy come true . Then the book reaches the same point but goes a little further as in Dany after taking the city cud still be killed immediately by another player at her coronation and Cersies valonquar bit can happen then . Honestly I think all the stuff that’s being cut out of the show will play a part in the books ultimate end but not the shows end … In short ure gonna get an extended ending in the books but the shows timeline and the books timeline where the end is concerned will remain the same .

      As for when that books end will come we all know it’s gonna be way after the show is over and I believe this is being done for a reason too

      Picture this if the last book came out today lets say 8 million people rush out and buy it because we’re assuming all 8 million people who watch the show read and know about game of thrones . Now every year the viewership rises as more people are getting introduced to thrones . The show is already very popular but it still gets more popular as each season comes out . Now imagine how many people are gonna know about thrones when the last book comes out … It’s being delayed deliberately cuz GRRM is enjoying the huge fan base growth . He’s gonna sell more books once this show is over . It’s perhaps also why he doesn’t mind the differences between the show and the books … It just means once the show is over there’s still a lot more about this world that u can enjoy in the books

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    202. House Olivegarden,

      I’m going to make that short. Please stop insulting me. I’m certantly not your dear and calling another person (indirectly) dumb doesn’t help your argument.
      The whole book market tv show market dynamic is much more similar as you make it out to be when it comes to consumers. Both are a large group and you find all kinds of people in it. The idea that “the majority of people who watch television are too friggen dumb or lazy to pick up a book” is just wrong (and again insulting). If you want to know more about the tv maket vs. the book market maybe talk to Wimsey. We’re not always of the same opinion, but I have no problem to admit that he probably knows more about that dynamic than I do.
      The thing that rubbed me the wrong way, was your idea of “idiotic mainstream audiences” and mainstream as a bad thing in general. Not only is that wrong, I also find it insulting to (by definition) a lot of people.

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    203. Abyss,

      LOL i have nothing to say to that except it is known, by statistics, you can look them up im not going to again, but it is known that the general youth DO NOT read, at least not by choice.

      The largest demo for this show which is young people 18-34 etc, do not read, im in that demo and i certainly do! But the majority of young people would much rather watch the film then read the book anyday! that has always been known! and is very common, maybe i could have said it better, but its true, havent you heard people telling young people to read more books these days? its very common. Again, i dont know why this is even a debate.

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    204. Abyss,

      Mainstream can be a very bad thing, mainstream music sucks, everybody knows that. Mainstream movies, same thing over and over superheroes transformers, TWILIGHT.

      Yes, mainstream can be veryvery bad.

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    205. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Oh really now? well on Facebook & Twitter, which means more then most things these days, given thats how the professionals get their estimates on box office totals now, the demos are 18-34. So what was that again?

      ALSO, thats based on over 13 million people, thank you very muchhhh!

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    206. House Olivegarden,

      I don’t think we’re going anywere here, the fact that you seem to like to start your replys to me with “LOL” makes that clear to me…
      One last time. It’s not about whether or not young people like to read or not. It’s about your insulting and wrong idea of mainstream media and it’s audience. Mainstream does not mean “for the dumb” or anything along those lines. It means “for the majority”. That doesn’t make the things that are in it good, bad dumb or smart by default.

      House Olivegarden: Mainstream can be a very bad thing, mainstream music sucks, everybody knows that

      No, they don’t or else it wouldn’t be mainstream.

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    207. Abyss,

      I started my sentence with LOL because i found it funny.

      Im not insulting anyone, like i said, i could have said that better, i probably should have said mainstream sucks, not the people listening or watching it.

      But yes, the majority of mainstream is garbage. Mainstream music? Repetitive Crap. Mainstream movies? Repetitive Crap. Mainstream television? Repetitive Crap.

      Forgive me if i dont want Game of Thrones going down the very same road. Its not being rude, as i said im not a rude person, i only insult when i feel insulted. and personally i was insulted by you, you might not see it. just like i personally dont see why your insulted at me. Its my opinion and its yours. Im just saying, Mainstream is typically for the teens now and not always a good thing!

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    208. House Olivegarden,

      Heavy Thrones piracy is likely due to several factors, such as the popularity of the show among young men (the show skews 58 percent male and the average fan is 41 years old) and HBO’s current digital distribution strategy. Though HBO subscribers can watch Thrones online via the network’s HBO GO service, you can only subscribe to HBO in the first place through a traditional cable or satellite provider and many younger TV fans are opting to “cut the cord.” A top HBO executive recently hinted that the network is contemplating a digital-only subscription option, a move that would likely reduce the amount of piracy of its shows.

      http://www.ew.com/article/2013/03/31/hbo-thrones-piracy

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    209. Chad Brick: As opposed to book readers, whose main clue to the the Frey Pie scene was a reference to a random story Bran told his companions 11 years ago in real life?

      The clue was that it was supposed to be pork, which most people know tastes and smells a lot like human flesh. The Rat King part was irrelevant. (Also, memory and intelligence have nothing to do with each other: indeed, the smartest people are the ones who most need the reminders because highly intelligent people are also mentally very busy people.)

      And, no, the show is not “dumbed down”: you are confusing good presentation with “dumbed down.” Smart people do not accept sloppy presentation: they don’t get to make presentations in which they just refer to past projects without summarizing them, and they don’t tolerate it in others (particularly when they pay for it). When Chekhov summarized basic rules for storytelling, he was not doing anything other than stating what works and what doesn’t: and the show is good at doing what works.

      House Olivegarden: Mainstream television? Repetitive Crap.

      But Thrones is nothing like mainstream TV. This is the big point you are missing: Thrones won over a very demanding audience that was predisposed towards dismissing stuff like this as childish escapism. It didn’t retool the show to be more like prime time hits: it basically did GRRM’s Faulkneresque stories in a dystopian world and got the people who enjoyed the Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under and a host of Prozac-inspiring shows to watch it.

      What confounds me about your arguments is that you seem to criticize the show for focusing on story and then lament that they do not water down the story with irrelevant side-ventures like the Iron Islands. Blurring the story is not “smarter” presentation: it’s worse presentation.

      At any rate, it is the height of pseudo-intellectual arrogance to pronounce popular things bad. Sure, some are. But a lot of the best music, literature, movies, etc., also have become very popular. Indeed, successful innovation redefines mainstream a la the British Invasion of popular music 50 years ago. Moreover, it really seems ludicrous to be using this when talking about a fantasy book: GRRM’s books stand out among fantasy books: but you’d be hard pressed to convince well-read people that they are great literature. (They are good literature, mind you, if you can get past the dragons and the magic, and if you track down and burn every copy of Crows; but really not great.)

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    210. House Olivegarden,

      If I insulted you somehow then I’m sorry. I never said all mainstream stuff is good (I gave the definition above). I disagree that all (or even most) mainstream media is crap. There is certainly some crap among it, but I would be very careful with the kind of generalization you seem to make. People use the word meanstream as an insult, not realising that pretty much all the media we consume is meanstream in some capacity. It’s what the content creators are aiming for, making something that appeals to a lot of people. GoT is meanstream in that sense and I love it. The more people join the party the better. 😉

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    211. With u guys having a go at each other I think You missed something I wanted your opinion on

      For some reason I’ve always thought going towards the same end meant that they’re on the same line but the show is gonna stop before the end of the line . Picture this – the show ends with Dany sacking kings landing and cersie finally sees the shows version of the prophecy come true . Then the book reaches the same point but goes a little further as in Dany after taking the city cud still be killed immediately by another player at her coronation and Cersies valonquar bit can happen then . Honestly I think all the stuff that’s being cut out of the show will play a part in the books ultimate end but not the shows end … In short ure gonna get an extended ending in the books but the shows timeline and the books timeline where the end is concerned will remain the same .

      As for when that books end will come we all know it’s gonna be way after the show is over and I believe this is being done for a reason too

      Picture this if the last book came out today lets say 8 million people rush out and buy it because we’re assuming all 8 million people who watch the show read and know about game of thrones . Now every year the viewership rises as more people are getting introduced to thrones . The show is already very popular but it still gets more popular as each season comes out . Now imagine how many people are gonna know about thrones when the last book comes out … It’s being delayed deliberately cuz GRRM is enjoying the huge fan base growth . He’s gonna sell more books once this show is over . It’s perhaps also why he doesn’t mind the differences between the show and the books … It just means once the show is over there’s still a lot more about this world that u can enjoy in the books

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    212. Abyss,

      I apologize also, it was all pretty foolish thinking about it.

      Sansa’s Knight,

      The show is definitely helping the books for now, thats for sure, and vice versa. But i worry that once and if the final book is released, some people who arent as huge fans as all of us on this page will think ‘ah, well i’ve already seen the ending on the show, no need to read the book’ i really really hope people dont feel this way.

      As for the books actually being finished, thats another story. I have hope for a summer 2016 release for TWOW but that might be wishful thinking, 2017 seems more reasonable.

      I think the show will follow the deaths and storylines of characters pretty closely in the final season to what GRRM has told them, i think it will kinda be 50/50. The changes to this season i feel are the start of a trend, it seems to be about half and half, half from the books, and half is made up. Thats why i really hope they know for sure that these things they are leaving from the show are really gonna play no importance, because that really seems like ALOT of needless stuff then. Im betting some of it will have big parts to play and the show is simply going to leave it out, but thats another story.

      I think all the main characters who D&D supposedly know the fate of will have their show and book ending told pretty closely. I feel like they dont know the fates of any of the Minor characters though and thats why they said more people from the books are going to be dying in the show, because technically they can do what they want with them, since they dont know their fate.

      Its all really complicated. I wonder if we will ever see the end of the books TBH.

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    213. House Olivegarden,

      I’d like to think that all of GRRM’s characters are important in some way. The ones cut from the show may not wind up as king or queen or great lords, they may only wind up as dragon fodder, but they will all play a large part in the story GRRM is writing. And even now, I’m not 100% convinced we won’t get 1 or 2 of these characters/subplots in the final 2 seasons of the show.

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    214. The high incidence of piracy in the UK is certainty down to choosing Sky as the distributor. Even if I was inclined to pay for an expensive annual subscription just to see Game of Thrones, living in a tenement block means I can’t put up a dish and therefore have no legitimate way of acquiring the show whatsoever. Unless I move house or wait 11 MONTHS for the DVD, piracy is the only option.

      I will still buy the box set next year when it comes our,

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    215. House Olivegarden,

      I can’t believe this guy feels smarter after reading a fantasy book. the books are becoming so predictable its not even funny. I’m just waiting for the last battle when the white walkers are about to kill everyone when Bran flies in with a dragon Deus Ex Machina style and save the day. Thats how fantasy works son muahahaha

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    216. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I hold out hope for a greyjoy subplot in the future, even if the chances are slim, i personally love the greyjoys, especially Euron.

      Young Griff seems essential to me but the fact that he isnt in the show makes me think he will bite the dust, probably in the next book.

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    217. I’m a college student with over $20,000 in student loans a semester. I have a mild form of autism, and I have several health issues that keep me from working. My mother works for a lower pay grade than everyone else in her office because of a sh*tty contract they forced her to sign when they hired her.

      I am the only one in my family of two who likes Game of Thrones. My mother refuses to get HBO for ten weeks a year so I can watch it. My campus doesn’t get HBO. I’ve got a large number of friends on campus and at home who watch Game of Thrones and want to discuss it with everyone the day after it airs.

      So I pirate the show.

      And every year, when I get money from my grandmother and aunts for Christmas, I pre-order the box set of the previous season.

      We can’t afford HBO. We don’t have Apple devices. My college and my home are in rural areas. My neighbors are bars and farms, my friends who like Game of Thrones live in Texas, Virginia, California, Vermont. I can’t trek over to their house to watch the show once a week. I can barely afford to keep myself in college in the hope of actually getting a job that will let me take care of my mother someday. Am I supposed to not watch a television series based off of my favorite books just because I can’t afford it? I’m supposed to wait a year to discuss the show with my friends?

      I’m sorry but that’s ridiculous.

      I didn’t download the leaked episodes, because I felt bad for HBO. It was notes of the Sony hack all over again.

      But I’m downloading week-by-week.

      And I’m not at all ashamed to admit it, because it’s the only way I have to watch a show I love.

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    218. The cable that plays GOT in my country costs 62€ per month and you have to be a subscriber for a year minimum before leaving. This is a ridiculous amount of money to give just so you can watch GOT legally. So yes, I have torrented every single GOT episode since season 1.

      I have also bought all the Blu-rays, I have purchased t-shirts from the official HBO store, posters, books and games. I have also signed up for HBO Now (technically illegal since I leave in Europe but still money for HBO) and if the don’t kick me out as they have done others I plan to pay to watch GOT there. So HBO gets my money and still some more.

      But I refuse to pay for a cable service that charges so much money just to watch GoT.

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    219. ^ While i personally dont care. Here aint the place to say it, another student tried that same story earlier and got shot down.

      Sorry, there’s not much Sympathy for anyone other than HBO around here. Even though by rights, we should be feeling sorry for anybody outside the United States. Just because of the fact that HBO decided to pull such a dick move, i hope the piracy goes up and up.

      I have HBO, i watch the show every sunday, I PVR it, i buy the Blu Rays and countless GoT merchandise. So yeah, if i wanna pirate these episodes early, i will if they are available, and i wont feel sorry for it, i have genuinely loved being able to watch those 4 episodes all together, i have never been able to do that before, it was awesome.

      Plus, HBO DOESNT CARE about people outside the U.S. & This post sounds like it was written by someone who is paid for them. Just saying.

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    220. What I don’t understand is why the boxset takes so long to come out after the series has finished showing, some 8 – 9 months after. Perhaps they feel there is too much competition for attention for the pre Christmas run up, or is it just to allow the partners like Sky Atlantic to milk the exclusive rights for that much longer?

      If the the boxset came out 3 months after the series finale I’d be fine with avoiding everything until then and not paying Sky a monthly sub for a flaky online service but waiting 8 – 9 months ( as I did after seasons 1 – 3 ) is just too much, by the time I want to talk about it everyone has long moved on and it’s all about the forthcoming season.

      I’ve just changed internet providers and I don’t know how they are about trying to block users who download from torrents etc, some are getting proactive about stopping it. But its no wonder that so many just go ahead and download the episodes illegally.

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    221. Sorry I didn’t read everything so sorry if this is already overstated:

      my take- one of the biggest issues is not having legal access to HBO streaming sites outside the US. I have a legal HBO GO account and watch all the episodes on there. I never torrent (too scared of viruses). But when I am outside the US I use a VPN, making my viewing technically illegal. This is annoying. I heard they are clamping down on HBO Now accounts using VPN already. They need to get with the times and realize people travel, and they still want to watch, even if its a different time zone, and they are watching on Monday not Sunday. Stop limiting to US viewers, tons and tons of Game of Thrones fans are international and would like a legal option for streaming at their convenience worldwide. Take our money!

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    222. I wish you actually tried to listen to what I said instead of telling me what to do and what to do.
      Paying for subscription or per episode isn’t the only way to watch a tv show. In my home country Got is broadcasted by a tv channel that you can watch without paying anything other than your tv set and a simple antenna. The money flows between the show owners, tv channel and advertising brands. The same rules apply for the new youtube system where you can listen to music for free legally.

      If king tommen actually read my comment instead of making a funny ‘translation’ of it he would see that my point was introducing that kind of a system to torrents. Money is shared between people who actually have the big money and students aren’t told not to watch their fav thing.

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    223. This article is following the trend of emotionally blackmailing people over “piracy”.

      The word piracy is a hyperbolic pejorative for what is really a conversation about copyright infringement. Stop using it. Peer to peer sharing has nothing to do with murder and kidnapping on the high seas. “Theft” is also a pejorative when considering peer to peer tech.

      Companies are allowed to protect their intellectual property rights but to criminalise fans is bullshit. Copyright was once about public benefit and regulation on behalf of authors to prevent centralised distribution and monopolisation.

      Partnering with Apple isn’t to stop or prevent “piracy”. This seems like a biased assumption in the article. The partnership has been forged because it’s likely going to be lucrative to lock the content down with Apple. Copyright laws are more to do with protecting monopolies opposed to the public benefit these days.

      The Internet is decentralised, so it’s going to clash with copyright law. It won’t hurt sales (I buy the Blu Rays every year). And it won’t deprive cast and crew. If anything, distribution companies exaggerate damages of “piracy” to validate themselves as protectors of artists. Why couldn’t the produces just break off from HBO and distribute the show online themselves? Money is likely to reach more artists doing that. Cut the controlling middle man out. That is a thought that scares traditional media companies no doubt.

      Bonus thought. Oberyn vs Mountain Denial Version wouldn’t exist without “piracy”. Files without digital rights management and quick access are crucial for some fan communities, which ultimately add value to the brand. For free. Just sayin’.

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    224. Jaime’s girl: But when I am outside the US I use a VPN, making my viewing technically illegal. This is annoying. I heard they are clamping down on HBO Now accounts using VPN already.

      I know five people here in Japan that were using VPN to connect to HBO Now. Three got busted last week and cut off just after E2 aired. We weren’t able to figure out why some people got caught and others didn’t, but however HBO is doing it, they are being pretty aggressive. Needless to say, all three of the people who got caught will still see every episode. The only differences? Low quality and no money for HBO.

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    225. House Olivegarden: Plus, HBO DOESNT CARE about people outside the U.S.

      No, they don’t. They also do not care about people in the US. There is, of course, one major exception to this rule in both cases: shareholders. HBO cares a lot about their shareholders, American or otherwise. Their shareholders, in turn, reciprocate that care by not threatening to get people fired if they do not feel that HBO is profitable enough. And that takes us to the part about which HBO does care: your (and mine and everyone else’s) money.

      Now, I am no fan of the corporate model, but that is the model that applies here: it is not a question of approving but understanding. Moreover, HBO is entirely within their legal rights to do this: and if they did not, then their peers would pressure them to do so because of simple prisoner’s dilemma theory. Oh, sure, the heads of HBO like to wave the critical acclaims, etc., around, but the truth is that the people to whom they answer really do not care about that.

      House Olivegarden: I hold out hope for a greyjoy subplot in the future, even if the chances are slim, i personally love the greyjoys, especially Euron.

      What is this love for Euron? I do not even recall him ever appearing in the books, although I’m told that he spouts off the equivalent of bad heavy metal lyrics on a couple of pages in Crows. (I have not reread that offal since 2005: Crows succeeded in driving me out of the fandom for a few years!) At any rate, the Greyjoys are not going to be important in the story as the only one that is a major character (Theon) really is not part of the Greyjoy stuff anymore. Any contribution that they make to the plot will probably be easily replaceable or even simply unnecessary to include.

      House Olivegarden: Young Griff seems essential to me but the fact that he isnt in the show makes me think he will bite the dust, probably in the next book.

      Young Griff will provide important plot points for Winter, almost certainly. However, that is next season: which means that Season 5 is too early to introduce YG. Guns hung on the wall this year need to be fired this year, after all. The show has always postponed introducing secondary characters until they become relevant to the plot and/or story, which means that Season 6 was the earliest we could expect the Griffs. YG almost certainly is not going to become a central character, however: so it’s possible that his plot contribution can be replaced by someone else.

      We can ditto this for Stoneheart. The first book in which Stoneheart might be relevant is Winter: therefore, there never was a chance of Stoneheart returning before next season, anyway.

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    226. Ozzy Man: Why couldn’t the produces just break off from HBO and distribute the show online themselves?

      Because B&W would get sued to death if they did: they are under contract to produce the show for HBO. Indeed, this is part of the 7-year issue: in theory, HBO could force production to continue after 7 years; in most cases, TV series stop when the studio and/or network funding it agrees to let it stop. (You hear more about the other end with cancellations, but this comes up periodically when people involved with popular shows try to end a series: there have been cases where networks have said “no, keep working.”)

      For SoI&F or Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or any number of other books that could be adapted, there now also is the issue that some studio (here, HBO) holds the rights to this for some time to come. That does not just block “for profit” production: that would block any sales of any such production.

      Now, it’s possible that in the future series will begin this way. However, even after that happens, it will still be a while before we get major adaptations done that way: book authors will get much more enticing offers from major studios; and then the “straight to Internet” productions will have much lower budgets available for production and performers. It will be a gradual, multistep evolution that will probably be strung out over the course of 1-2 decades.

      (Although it still might happen before GRRM finishes Spring!)

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    227. Cheers Ozzy Man.

      Sometimes I feel like I’m turning into a conspiracy theorist when I bitch about the monopolies and their extortionate rates. So it’s nice to see people put some of those ideas into big words.

      I believe HBO has no-one to blame but themselves because of the disgusting way their international partners treat GOT fans. And the OP has done nothing but chip away at my respect for this site.

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    228. Emotional blackmail doesn’t work with me. I don’t personally care at all about copyright infingement (“piracy” if you will. “theft”, if you are being dramatic), and I’ll continue doing whenever it suits me. I

      If people doesn’t watch the leaked episode because they prefer to digest just one per week, fine. If they don’t watch them because they prefer a better quality, fine. But refraining because we are harming the feelings of a poor private company?!? Come on. As if they weren’t in it solely to make money.

      They are not moved by any noble cause when they produce the show. I’ll do the same when I watch it.

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    229. So much good thematic discussion here, I wish this was split into 2 threads, one for piracy and one for the thematic discussion!

      While I don’t agree with everything House Olivegarden says I like how he/she made me think about what I liked and didn’t like about this season so far (taking into account it’s 2 episodes, and I’m totally keeping an open mind) and the adaptation process in general. For example, one of the things that D&D are really good at, IMHO, is squeezing a LOT of story into just a few minutes. Therefore, I agree that with just an extra few minutes here or there, you could do other stuff that gets into the book material more – for example, get into the Kingsmoot and do more with the Greyjoys.

      Why the Greyjoys? For me, Wimsey, although I agree with you that one of the main themes this year appears to be kill the X, become the Y, I would think 1) there is room for more than one theme, because 2) this is only one interpretation of the art that is the show, and 3) so my interpretation, which is just as valid, is that the Greyjoys are as unique as any other house, certainly more interesting than the Tyrells for instance. Such great characters, the blend of culture and religion, pride and savagery, as with the rest of GOT. More importantly I said on a comment more than a few months ago that I could see one of the seasons themes being

      how women leaders are trying, and more interestingly, failing at leading. I proposed that this season could show Cersei, Dany and Asha/Yara failing, each in their own way, to convince others to follow and to execute on their own vision.

      That for me would have been really thought provoking. Different strokes, clearly!

      Why get into book material more? obvs what is entertaining for some isn’t entertaining for others, but for me, there’s lots of stuff in the books that is not only entertaining but also speaks to important themes for both the book and the show (see above, there are other examples, like

      the Griff storyline,

      that could totally have worked. And that’s apart from the issue of whether or not those storylines “matter” in the endgame, which is a separate issue).

      What could be cut? Without seeing the rest of the season I couldn’t really say…in hindsight, looking at past seasons, I’d definitely have sacrificed the Theon torture scenes – for me those did not work AT ALL, although intellectually I understand the arguments justifying their repetitiveness.

      And I don’t really get the argument that the showrunners ran out of time to film more and squeeze more stories in – how? I assume that they know they have finite resources in terms of time and money, and work backwards seeing what will fit, like any project manager. They certainly seem to have every detail managed and organized to the last second, so I don’t understand how they could “run out of time”?
      If it’s because action scenes take more time, I don’t understand why action scenes are necessarily always privileged over dialogue – some of the best scenes of GOT have been one-to-one conversations (Twyin and Arya, or Cersei and Robert – both invented by D&D, by the way, and both highlights of the entire series for me). And if action vs dialogue scenes is further justified on the basis of “ordinary show watchers are non book readers and therefore dummies who like to see stuff blow up”, that doesn’t make sense either, because the show’s success means that the ship has sailed as far as attracting ordinary viewers…ordinary viewers are there in droves, as proven by the ratings.

      Anyways, great discussion everybody!

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    230. Sue the Fury,

      Sue,

      There are a lot of interesting points being shared. Is there any way to pass this on the an HBO agent? Assuming they care. And I hope they do because if not I too will cancel my subscription. There does not seem to be any reason for them to alienate people. It seems to be annoying people, driving them to seek illegal means of acquiring the show more than driving them to buy a subscription. And some people can’t without unwanted costs. Plus getting in bed with Apple, as many companies seem to be doing right now, only makes a monopoly that serves the interest of big business and not the consumer. I’m sure Apple gave them a tasty offer they couldn’t refuse but this doesn’t have to have negative consequences for us if they just cared a little.

      “Thank you for your consideration”

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    231. Upthread people were talking about what additions could be made with an extra five minutes an episode. Here’s some minor changes, re-ordering and additions I’d probably have made for the first two episodes. It’s difficult without seeing the whole season, but I took a stab. I’d do episodes 3 and 4 as well, but obviously spoilers, so that’ll have to wait.

      First, a rough scene order for the two episodes as they are:

      Episode 1
      Cersei Flashback
      King’s Landing – Cersei/Jaime at the Sept
      Pentos – Tyrion and Varys arrival
      Meereen – White Rat killed by Son of the Harpy
      Meereen – Daenerys and her council Sons of the Harpy
      Meereen – Grey Worm and Missandei
      The Wall – Jon and Olly training, Sam and Gilly, Thorne etc.
      The Wall – Jon and Stannis talk about Mance/wildlings
      The Vale – Sansa, Littlefinger, Royce watch Robyn fight
      The Vale – Brienne and Pod
      The Vale – Cut to Sansa and Littlefinger in the carriage
      King’s Landing – Cersei at the wake, Loras, Kevan, Lancel etc.
      King’s Landing – Cersei and Lancel talk alone
      King’s Landing – Loras and Olyvar, Margaery walks in
      Pentos – Tyrion and Varys discuss Daenerys
      Meereen – Daenerys talks with Hizdahr about Yunkai/fighting pits
      Meereen – Daenerys talks to Daario about fighting pits/dragons
      Meereen – Daenerys visits her dragons
      The Wall – Jon talks to Mance
      The Wall – Mance burns

      Episode 2
      Braavos – Arya arrives in Braavos
      Braavos – Arya is rejected by HOB&W, sits on steps
      The Vale – Brienne confronts Sansa & Littlefinger at inn
      The Vale – Brienne and Pod chase scene with knights
      King’s Landing – Cersei and Jaime receive the snake threat
      Stokeworth – Bronn/Lollys, Jaime asks Bronn to go to Dorne
      Dorne – Ellaria confronts Doran
      Meereen – Daario and Grey Worm find a Son of the Harpy
      Meereen – Daenerys and council discuss what to do with him
      Free Cities – Tyrion and Varys in the carriage
      King’s Landing – Cersei receives dwarf’s head
      King’s Landing – Small Council meeting, Kevan leaves
      The Wall – Shireen, Sam and Gilly, later Selyse
      The Wall – Stannis offers to legitimize Jon
      The Wall – The Lord Commander election
      Braavos – Arya killing pigeons, Jaqen reveal
      Meereen – Mossador kills the Son of the Harpy
      Meereen – Mossador’s trial and execution
      Meereen – Daenerys meets Drogon

      Then my edit, by comparison (changes are in bold):

      Episode 1

      Cersei Flashback
      King’s Landing – Cersei/Jaime at the Sept
      Volantis – Tyrion & Varys arrive (No Illyrio, so why Pentos?)
      Meereen – White Rat killed by Son of the Harpy
      Meereen – Daenerys and her council Sons of the Harpy
      Meereen – Grey Worm and Missandei
      The Wall – Jon and Olly training, Sam and Gilly, Thorne etc.
      The Wall – Jon and Stannis talk about Mance/wildlings
      The Vale – Sansa, Littlefinger, Royce watch Robyn fight
      Braavos – Arya arrives in Braavos (moved from ep 2)
      Braavos – Arya is rejected by HOB&W, sits on steps

      King’s Landing – Cersei at the wake, Loras, Kevan, Lancel etc.
      King’s Landing – Cersei and Lancel talk alone
      King’s Landing – Loras and Olyvar, Margaery walks in
      Pyke – Yara arrives back, Aeron tells her Balon is dead and there will be a kingsmoot
      Volantis – Tyrion and Varys discuss Daenerys
      Meereen – Daenerys talks with Hizdahr about Yunkai/fighting pits
      Meereen – Daenerys talks to Daario about fighting pits/dragons
      Meereen – Daenerys visits her dragons
      The Wall – Jon talks to Mance
      The Wall – Mance burns

      Episode 2

      Braavos – Arya killing pigeons, Jaqen reveal
      The Vale – Brienne and Pod (Moved from Ep 1)
      The Vale – Cut to Sansa and Littlefinger in the carriage

      King’s Landing – Cersei and Jaime receive the snake threat
      King’s Landing – Jaime asks Bronn to go to Dorne (cut Lollys)
      (Move the Ellaria and Doran scene to a later episode)
      Meereen – Daario and Grey Worm find a Son of the Harpy
      Meereen – Daenerys and council discuss what to do with him
      Volantis – Tyrion and Varys travel north in the carriage
      King’s Landing – Cersei receives dwarf’s head
      King’s Landing – Small Council meeting, Kevan leaves
      The Vale – Brienne confronts Sansa & Littlefinger at inn
      The Vale – Brienne & Pod chase scene with knights

      The Wall – Shireen, Sam and Gilly, later Selyse
      The Wall – Stannis offers to legitimize Jon
      The Wall – The Lord Commander election
      Selhorys – Tyrion & Varys meet the Golden Company & Young Gryff
      Meereen – Mossador kills the Son of the Harpy
      Meereen – Mossador’s trial and execution
      Meereen – Daenerys meets Drogon

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    232. Schrödinger’s Cat,

      This doesn’t get around two big issue,s though:
      1. which main character do you move to

      Iron Islands plotline? Yara is inadequate, and there will not be enough time to develop Victarion or Euron as central characters; it needs to be one of the “big” characters, or it will suffer the same problems that it did in the books. Moreover, you now have to buy time from every episode to develop these. Keep in mind also that the Kingsmoot is just a beginning: like the election of Jon to Lord Commander, it cannot be protracted over much time as it is in itself nothing.

      2. OK, so you’ve introduced

      the Griffs. Now what? A cameo wave to the fans is useless. They have to be involved with the story and the plot in some way. This means adding a lot of time. If there is to be any point to this in this season, then there has to be some development of Aegon and Connington: and that takes time. And that development has to have some payoff.

      Now, the book does it OK – it is not as if it should have been cut (a la Dorne or the Iron Islands, at least as presented in Crows), but the book would not have been any worse without it, either – and given how crowded this season is, it is worth keeping only if you can find a way to make it magnify the story of one of the lead characters.

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    233. chameleon: For me, Wimsey, although I agree with you that one of the main themes this year appears to be kill the X, become the

      I would not call it a “theme”: I would call it the actual story. After all, in a multiprotagonist tale like this, the story is whatever all of the lead characters are doing: and here, all of them are trying to show themselves and/or the world that they are greater than they were. (Or, to paraphrase Bowie, they can be heroes.)

      As for the Greyjoys being “great characters,” well, that is not an opinion but a taste! (They certainly are not great literary characters, as only Theon has any large amounts of development, and I doubt that any serious student of literature would count any SoI&F character as particularly “great” anyway.) It’s not valid or invalid to like them. I actually was someone who argued that Dorne was worse than the Iron Islands: to the extent that I think that I forgot just how bad the Iron Island parts of the book was. (It didn’t have Arianne: but that’s as backhanded a compliment as I’ll ever pay.)

      But the big problem is that the audience doesn’t know the Greyjoys, and the show just does not have time to develop them. (The reason why this part of the book was so bad is that GRRM did not have room to develop the characters: and thus he had to resort to 3rd party POV in a desperate attempt to play catchup, which resulted in a mess as it really blur the story. However, the audience does know the Tyrells: and thus instead of having to develop them, the show just has to provide us with quick reminders of who they are. That is a big reason for the Loras scene that some posters claim to not understand: Joe and Jane HBO subscriber has had better things to do over the last 10 months than remember the sexual orientations of secondary and incidental characters. (Pre-insert rebuttal to “those people are stupid” with “many smart people are too busy to fill their memory with Fantasy story details, or at least the details of more than one of them.”) Moreover, one of the Tyrells (Margaery) is a very important foil for one of the lead characters, and has been used as a minor lead herself. Another (Loras) looks like a potentially very useful foil for a plot that will strongly affect that same lead character. That’s a big problem for the Greyjoys: none of them affect any of the main characters at this point. (Again, Theon excluded: but he’s not part of the Greyjoys situation anymore.) And, of course, the show has used Olenna extremely well in a variety of “fill in the gaps” ways.

      As for the issue you noted, well, that was noted 10 years ago. Indeed, there were a lot of people who suggested that the story was about people trying and failing to be something greater than they were because of that. There also were some accusations of sexism because it sure looked like women were failing a lot more than men! In a lot of ways, I think that the show is wise to steer clear of that. GRRM did not intend it, after all: at the time he rebutted the charges by basically saying “that’s not the story: it will be clear in 12 months with Dragons comes out.” (We should call it Martin’s paradox….)

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    234. 100% agree with Ozzy Man. The guilt-tripped tone of this article is ridiculous and serves no even field for discussion which is about as effective as people posting IP addresses on a crappy vigilante Reddit thread.

      What a joke.

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    235. Wimsey,

      I disagree about Yara being inadequate. She’s been there since season 2. The only reason she’s not a bigger character is because D&D have been stiffing the Ironborn since the end of season 2. And transplanting anyone else into the Iron Islands storyline wouldn’t make sense. I would only have that storyline in a maximum of three or four episodes this season anyway.
      1 – Yara arriving and being told Balon is dead and there will be a Kingsmoot
      5 – The Kingsmoot- introducing Euron and Victarion (Obviously this would need to be quite a long scene/set of scenes, but it would need to be contained in one episode)
      7 – Euron and Victarion prepare the Ironborn to attack the Reach and set sail. (Given it looks like Brienne is possibly going to take Yara’s part in being captured by Stannis, Yara can stay with them and be part of the attack.)
      By the end of the season, word reaches King’s Landing that the Ironborn are about to attack the Reach. Then early in season 6, transfer the Shield Islands battle to outside Highgarden and have Victarion fight Loras (instead of Loras sieging Dragonstone). Victarion (or Yara) leaves for Meereen immediately after (if that ends up happening at all. No idea what’s going to happen with that storyline, so it’s hard to judge.)
      I never said introduce Connington, just Young Gryff. The Aegon storyline really depends on how that pans out in the books, but assuming it’s actually irrelevant (given they’ve cut it) and he’s not the real Aegon anyway, here’s what I’m envisaging:
      Ep 2) In Velhorys, Tyrion and Varys meet with the Golden Company who are sick of waiting for Dany. Young Gryff is there, but Tyrion doesn’t know who he is.
      Ep 3) Young Gryff is revealed as Aegon. Varys tells the story of rescuing him as a baby. Jorah, who has rejoined the Golden Company secretly overhears this. Tyrion goes to a brothel in Velhorys and gets kidnapped by Jorah.
      Ep 4) Tyrion wakes up in a boat on the Rhoyne, and discovers Jorah has kidnapped Aegon for Daenerys as well. The Stone Men fight sequence. Tyrion saves Aegon. Jorah saves Tyrion.
      Ep 5) They arrive back in Volantis. Travel across the Long Bridge. Red Priestess etc. Aegon gets a chance to escape, but Tyrion convinces him not to. While Varys had wanted Aegon to wait with the Golden Company, Tyrion convinces him to go meet Daenerys in person (instead of convincing him to sail to Westeros in the books)
      Ep 6) Tyrion, Jorah and Aegon on a ship bound for Meereen. Caught in a storm. Rescued by slavers and enslaved.
      Ep 7) Sold to Yezzan, who puts Jorah in the fighting pits and gives Tyrion and Aegon to Hizdahr as gifts for the new king. (Not sure how the whole slavery thing comes back, but Tyrion seems to be working for Hizdahr in some capacity now)
      Ep 8) When Hizdahr is meeting with Daenerys, Aegon approaches her and reveals himself as her nephew and a suitable husband. Tells her about the Golden Company ready to invade on their behalf. Although tempted Daenerys has to reject his offer, largely because he cannot prove he is who he says he is.
      Ep 9) Daenerys’ wedding, Daznak’s Pit.
      Ep 10) Not wanting this to have been a wasted trip and eager to prove himself as a true Targaryen, Aegon tries to tame the dragons and is burnt alive, thus implying he may not have really been Aegon after all.
      All of Aegon/Arianne’s future storyline from the books (massing an army in the Stormlands, allying with Dorne, attacking Storm’s End etc,) is then taken by Trystane/Myrcella or removed entirely, I guess.

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    236. Schrödinger’s Cat,

      Very cool! There are clearly multiple ways to choose to keep or drop (or move around) certain characters. And I agree, in Yara you’ve got enough for at least a minor lead- Margarey is a lead only through D&D’s invention, right, ’cause she’s not so prominent in the books. Nothing inevitable, just an adaptation choice. As much as I like Natalie Dormer I’d rather see Yara and the Kingsmoot. Plus, we don’t know yet how pivotal the Greyjoys will be, especially once Euron enters the picture. Here’s hoping for season six!

      And wimsey, I’m almost afraid to ask – what is the difference between opinion and taste? Or theme and story(line)? Lol.

        Quote  Reply

    237. Chameleon,

      Out of all the characters in the show, Yara and Brienne are the ones I’m the most interested in seeing where the show takes them. Through Jaime and Sansa’s character arcs are veering into new territory, I think that the other major character plot lines will adhere to AFFC and ADWD, with minor variations along the way.

      There hasn’t been a peep of what Yara will be up to this season, but since she was kept in for seasons 3 & 4, I doubt she’ll be discarded entirely.

      If there is a Kingsmoot in Season 6 , it would definitely be a great boost for her character presence on the show, but the obstacle is that Yara is the only connection the Iron Islands has to the main plot, unlike Dorne which not only has Ellaria Sand but now Jaime and Bronn. The Kingsmoot arc is arguably the most self-contained of all the AOIAF story lines and initially has no broader impact on the overall plot (King’s Landing, the Wall, and Meeren). It will be difficult for viewers to become invested in new characters (Euron and Victarion) that haven’t been mentioned once in the series.

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    238. Hodor’s Bastard: I wouldn’t exclude the possibility that this GoT dissemination “experiment” was a test for BOTH sides of the law. The more you know…

      They wouldn’t do such an experiment with a show like Thrones. Instead, they would do it with one that is much less expensive to make, and one on which they are not counting on high ratings to justify the fees that they charge. Moreover, I am very skeptical that they would do this at all, given that the cable providers (who have sufficient legal clout that they have come very close to pushing through anti-net neutrality acts) are the middle men who would be losing a cut with these lost ratings. If Comcast got wind that HBO was doing this, then their legal boys and girls would be going after HBO in a big way: after all, this would be one less incentive for people to subscribe to cable. (Of course, they also are internet providers: but this is a cake that they can have and eat at the same time.) Indeed, they will be part looking on very closely to HBO’s investigation.

      For myself, I simply do not buy these download numbers. I don’t buy them within two orders of magnitude. Sure, maybe 100’s of thousands of downloads world-wide: but not 10’s of millions. “But everyone on the newsgroups is posting the urls!!!!” So? Only 10’s of thousands of people participate in the prominent newsgropus.

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    239. Vallug Bowbeast: There hasn’t been a peep of what Yara will be up to this season, but since she was kept in for seasons 3 & 4, I doubt she’ll be discarded entirely.

      I doubt that she will be discarded entirely, either. However, there is no way that

      they will include the Kingsmoot. It was bad enough reading, and it would be awful viewing. Unless the TV show could find a way to insert one of the main characters into this, then the audience will find it a complete waste of time. Indeed, a big reason why so many book readers thought it to be a complete waste of time (and thus causing one side of the “Dorne sucks more than the Iron Islands; no, Iron Islands sucks more than Dorne!” debate of a decade ago) is that none of the primary protagonists are involved.

      Now, the show seems to have found a way to tell Jaime’s story in Dorne, which means that the Dorne plotlines can be maintained. However they big question comes up: which main character can be transported to the Iron Islands? Theon would be the only appropriate one: but he looks like he’ll be being used elsewhere. Brienne would not fit there, and she’s only a borderline main character: I suspect that has a lot to do with why they are altering her plotline. (Well, that and it was deadly dull in the books.)

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    240. Chameleon: And wimsey, I’m almost afraid to ask – what is the difference between opinion and taste? Or theme and story(line)? Lol.

      An opinion sensu stricto is a logical argument with stated premise and facts. It should be objective and assessable. Taste is completely subjective: I like it. You do not have an opinion that red-heads are good looking or that pizza tastes great: those are just tastes. Now, you can have an opinion about how common it is for people to find red-heads attractive or for them to like pizza because you can actually observe these things. Taste and opinion can conflict. Objectively, I know that Lord of the Rings is not a good novel. However, I still like it a lot. (This is how we recognize our “guilty pleasures” after all!)

      “Story” is the abstraction that arises from some narrative that transcends the individual parts. It’s akin to melody in a song, which is more than the sum of the notes. (That’s more or less the definition of art: there has to be some abstraction that is more than the sum of the individual pieces.) For a tale like SoI&F, the story always is whatever general thing all of the protagonists are doing. In Crows/Dragons, for example, all of the characters are striving to be something greater than they are/were/are thought to be. That’s the story. They all do it in different ways, of course: but if people are eating tarts, pies, custards, cakes, puddings, etc., then they are all eating deserts.

      Theme is a bit broader. In old epic tales, what is good and what is evil is a common example of theme. It’s a big more esoteric in modern works. However, one theme of SoI&F is that the themes of the old stories are basically propaganda: Sansa learns that to her discomfiture. Another “theme” is that everyone’s primary antagonist is not another character, but themselves: which, of course, has been a basic theme of literature going back over 100 years now.

      Chameleon: And I agree, in Yara you’ve got enough for at least a minor lead- Margarey is a lead only through D&D’s invention, right, ’cause she’s not so prominent in the books.

      Margaery has been elevated on TV, but she still is much more promient than Asha/Yara in the books. GRRM does actually use Asha as a PoV character for a few chapters in Crows/Dragons, but Margaery still gets nearly as much “page” time because she is so prominent in Cersei’s storyline. And Margaery is much more prominent prior to that owing to her appearing in several main characters’ chapters.

      The other huge difference, of course, is that Margaery is never going solo: she’s always set amidst several other main characters. Although they’ve beefed up Margaery a lot, she wouldn’t work for anything more than a couple of scenes as a solo character. Yara has even less on which to go: which would make the Kingsmoot a complete disaster on TV. (Indeed, an even bigger disaster on TV than it was on page: and that is saying something!)

        Quote  Reply

    241. Schrödinger’s Cat,

      Sorry, but Yara is completely inadequate! Very few characters on this show can fly “solo” (that is, do stuff without another prominent character present) for any length of time: basically, Jon, Daeny, Arya and Tyrion are about it. I don’t think even Jaime or Cersei could fly solo for any length of time. (This almost certainly is why Margaery has gotten elevated somewhat, and it’s also a reason why Jaime is taking Bronn with him.) And none of them could fly solo for as long as Yara would need to fly solo for this stuff.

      The even bigger problems is that as you outline it, it’s a pair of unfired Chekovian guns: and audiences hate that.

      Euron & Vicatrion amount to nothing in Crows/Dragons; so, hanging them as major guns without them doing anything important would be very bad for the show. (As the arguments about whether Dorne or the Iron Islands was worse attests, a lot of people thought that it was bad for the book, too.) Ditto that for Aegon: he will be a huge plot point for Winter, but he amounts to nothing in Dragons.

      I know that I pound this drum a lot, but fans have to understand and accept that the audiences at which this show is aiming are not in this for tantalyzing threads: they are in it for the character development and plots, and the stories that emerges from that. If you hang a big Greyjoy gun in this season, then it has to be fired the way that Oberyn was “fired” last year or the Reeds in the prior year: or there at least has to be some big firing of a major character there. Now, the show can build on fired guns from the prior season: however, it cannot stick things in Season 5 solely for the purpose of buildup for Season 6; anything major introduced this season has to be important by the end of the season, and your Iron Island scheme provides nothing important for the development of the main characters (i.e., Daeny, Jon, Tyrion, Arya, Sansa, Jaime Cersei, Brienne, Theon or Bran), and thus nothing that the audience would find acceptable. ((Holy crap, that is a lot of main characters….))

      Now, if you can think of a way to take one of the leads who GRRM shafted with a lousy plot in Crows/Dragons (e.g., Jaime or Brienne) and tranfer that onto the Iron Islands, then you might have something that would fly with the audiences. But you then would have to keep in mind that the audience won’t care much about Yara, they won’t give three figs about her uncles, and they will find most of what GRRM wrote to be a big waste of time. As it stands, Brienne really is the only character I could see as any sort of option: but I have no idea how you would work it so that she’s trying to fulfill unfufillable vows to a dead lady with a bunch of Vikings.

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    242. Wimsey,

      Well, I would have suggested having a battle between the Greyjoys and the Tyrells on the Mander outside Highgarden at the end of season 5, instead of early in season 6, but I knew that probably wouldn’t have been plausible because of time and budget restraints. Would that have been enough of a ‘gun-firing’ for you, in showing the Ironborn (through Euron and Victarion) as a force to be reckoned with, despite the little that D&D have done with them so far? Jaime probably could’ve been worked into that battle as well with Loras, given he’d understand how important the Tyrell’s support is to keeping the peace and keeping everyone alive during winter. Which would in turn emphasise him severing ties with Cersei when she refuses to aid the Reach. Hell, Kevan could be there too, as ‘Master of War’, and Mace (instead of sending him to Braavos), if only to bolster the number of named characters involved. I know most of these are effectively minor characters, but everyone’s a minor before they become a major, and I think the audience get that.
      I know D&D need to follow through on new characters within the season, but it’s not like this kind of thing hasn’t been left open before. While the Red Wedding did close off an arc, enough people are still asking where Edmure and Brynden Tully are, that that still seems unfinished. And without Lady Stoneheart, what were Beric and the Brotherhood if not an ‘unfired gun’. They just went off looking for Lannister soldiers and we never saw them again. If they were just there as a device/foil for Arya’s storyline, then the Greyjoy uncles can just be there as a device for Yara’s storyline (at first). The Iron Islanders finishing season 5 by preparing to attack the Reach wouldn’t be that much of a stretch, especially given that’s how Yara finished season 3, preparing to attack the Dreadfort (even though that hung gun fell off the wall and exploded pathetically in her face)
      And just because Euron and Victarion are new, doesn’t mean they can’t be ‘prominent’. Everyone on Dragonstone was new to viewers in season 2 and except for the brief meeting with Renly and Catelyn, they didn’t converse/cross paths with any pre-established characters until Blackwater. But that storyline worked out fine.
      Is Theon one of the characters you think is able to ‘fly solo’? Because despite being something of a non-entity character in season 1, he then had to be the lone conduit for not only introducing Yara and Balon, but the entirety of the Iron Islands, and then later Ramsay. If Theon can do it, then I reckon Yara could hold it together for 2 or 3 episodes before they clashed with Jaime and Loras.
      You may be willing to switch off the Kingsmoot, because you hated it so much in the books, but I’d give the show-watchers the benefit of the doubt to be able to take new characters on-board without needing their hand held, even if they’re viewing through someone as ‘inadequate’ as Yara. I mean, all of the characters were new at the start of season 1 and people seemed to manage, but that’s different, isn’t it, I guess?

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    243. Wimsey,

      Absolutely. While I had fun reading that part of the novel, I just kept thinking throughout it “What does any of this have to do the with the main plot lines?” It just felt that it was transplanted from another story.

      It would be a glaring plot hole for them to ignore Balon’s death but I’m curious that if they do axe him off whether they’ll show the fallout. While Yara theoretically would be the viewer’s POV if the Kingsmoot is kept in, it would be still be introducing too many new characters with no ties to overall story, as you said. Since other story lines take greater priority over the self-contained Iron Islands, I do think that section will be cut. Yara will hopefully will have her ADWD material adapted, but I agree that I don’t see how they can pull the Kingsmoot off effectively.

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    244. Vallug Bowbeast,
      It won’t be a plot hole unless

      something later in the story depends on Balon being dead, and he’s still alive.

      It would be a minor lapsus: but given that most of the audience members are stuffing their memories with a lot of other things before Thrones, most of them will not notice it unless they are reminded.

      Indeed, it’s almost a Catch-22 worthy of one of GRRM’s stories: on one hand, it should be done because we were told it would happen; on the other hand, they should not bother us with the detail because unnecessary details are the hallmark of bad storytelling! What would Ned Stark do?!?!?

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    245. Wimsey,

      You’re right that it won’t be a huge impact on the plot, like the whole Iron Island subplot in general, and plot hole may be the wrong way to describe it but with Yara, I can’t see how they can

      ignore Balon as a character or his death, if it happens on the show because of their connection to Theon, a character the viewers are invested in

      . This entire plot line has become a conundrum out of Catch-22! But as long as they keep Yara in, I’ll be satisfied.

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    246. Schrödinger’s Cat,

      Schrödinger’s Cat: While the Red Wedding did close off an arc, enough people are still asking where Edmure and Brynden Tully are, that that still seems unfinished.

      The general audience isn’t: all of that stuff is considered to be a closed book by most people. Indeed, a big source of displeasure about Crows was GRRM’s continuing to write about this stuff even when it seemed concluded in the prior book.

      Schrödinger’s Cat:

      Schrödinger’s Cat:And just because Euron and Victarion are new, doesn’t mean they can’t be ‘prominent’.

      True, they could become prominent: but at this point, only if they were piggybacked on a main character. Moreover, it would take radical adaptation to really beef up the narrative around them. And in the end, what would be the payoff? A battle isn’t a payoff here the payoff would have to be in the story, not the plot.

      Schrödinger’s Cat:

      Schrödinger’s Cat:Is Theon one of the characters you think is able to ‘fly solo’?

      Well, given that this character has been flying solo for 2 years now, yes, I think that it’s pretty obvious that he can! If he interacts with one of the other established leads this year, then it will be the first time he’s done so since the 2nd season. All the rest of that time he’s been going it alone with only supporting characters in his scenes. Really, only Daeny and Arya have gone that long flying solo: every other lead character has had multiple scenes with other lead characters. (Sam and Ygritte are/were minor leads on the show [just as Sam is in the books], so even Jon has had “company.”)

      Schrödinger’s Cat:

      Schrödinger’s Cat:I’d give the show-watchers the benefit of the doubt to be able to take new characters on-board without needing their hand held.

      As I have written many times before, this view is entirely backwards. A sophisticated audience demands what you call “hand-holding.” Remember, the audience is largely young-middle aged professionals, with a slight bias towards men over women. What you call “hand-holding,” these people call “good presentation.” More important, what you call “giving the audience credit,” they call “bad presentation.” After all, they could get fired (or they can fire people) for an equivalent of the Kingsmoot in their work: why would they tolerate it from B&W or anybody else?

      What it comes down to at this point is that the story is focused on several lead characters. Moreover, the story this season is one that focuses heavily on dynamic character development: and that works only with established characters. Any new characters can only be supporting characters at this stage: one of the Big 8 or Big 9 (however many there are) has to be present. (I think that I left Davos as well as Sam off of my list above: both definitely are minor protagonists at this stage.) Oh, sure, you can do a few scenes without one of those characters: but it has to set up stuff for scenes with those characters later.

      And that’s why my view is so contrary to many peoples’ here. I think that this audience is too sophisticated to tolerate watering down the story with side plots that do not involve the characters delivering the stories. I think that this audience is too sophisticated to get bogged down in small details. Yes, give the audience credit: but credit them for not tolerating bad storytelling!

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    247. Wimsey: They wouldn’t do such an experiment with a show like Thrones.

      We’ll discuss at the end of the year when the numbers have been reported and related stories are published. Imho, GoT is a perfect show for such an experiment. Releasing 4 episodes in trust was not approved without expectations of compromise. Comcast’s concerns are irrelevant if TimeWarner approved such an approach.

      Plus, the marketing research gained in this “experiment” will be astounding. The “steal now, buy later” justification demonstrated by many here is worth a macro-economic master’s thesis alone. Even the “I’m so poor, I can only steal GoT” attitude (even though someone paid for that broadband download capability!) is interesting. The giants of the industry are still learning how to make money with the broadband Internet in play….there may be more “give and take” (or “take-then-give” as is the case here) options as a result.

      I think one fascinating aspect of this situation is that the review DvDs and subsequent uploads were of inferior quality, which is in line with mass consumption models (as reported/studied via a Wired article several years back). In this information-driven world, easy access (via compromised quality) is power at the water-cooler and in the marketplace. Maybe Netflix’s season dissemination model (mass dump of 10+ episodes) is worth pursuing for other shows? In any case, we’ll see how the fiscal numbers are hindered or enhanced (or even noticed) by these “shenanigans.” Heck, maybe they’ll use these numbers to justify any fiscal “loss” at tax time. Follow the money.

      International ramifications of this premature dissemination is another story, but one worth studying as well.

      Personally and professionally, I am more interested in technical footprints (traceability from/to the source) and dissemination ramifications (for the eager consumer) in a decentralized torrent world. I can assure you that those studies are being performed as well. Imho, this situation is really not a conspiracy, it’s business.

      But, like I stated previously, the worst aspect of this premature dissemination is the bandwagon effect. It (and the associated attitude) really has hindered the online conversation and speculation. It’s either “X in ep1 leads to Y awesomeness in ep 3” or “Shut the fuck up.”

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    248. Hodor’s Bastard: Comcast’s concerns are irrelevant if TimeWarner approved such an approach.

      Comcast’s (and Xfinity’s and all of the other major cable distributor’s) lawyers would beg to differ. Actually, they wouldn’t beg: they’d litigate, subpoena and otherwise create nightmares for HBO. Remember, having this stuff stolen from HBO is also having it stolen from Comcast: but that also means that HBO giving it away is stealing from Comcast.

      Hodor’s Bastard: Maybe Netflix’s season dissemination model (mass dump of 10+ episodes) is worth pursuing for other shows?

      Definitely. But, again, this has a lot to do with why Comcast went after Netflix; that was a centerpiece of the case for net neutrality. When Netflix balked at paying Comcast extra fees (which Comcast wanted in part because of lost revenue for shows from channels that Netflix also streams), Comcast “accidentally” started slowing down Netflix transfer rates.

      In reality, things like Netflix are going to offer a challenge to HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc. I don’t think that Netflix is quite to the point where it could land the rights to a major adaptation: but it also isn’t far from getting there. For all the fact that the current cable series model is less than 2 decades old, it’s already a bit of a trilobite: it’s modeled on a world without the Internet. (Others have noted that basic copyright laws already have this problem.) HBO and other channels actually are very worried about this. So, either they go the Netflix route and really cease to be what they have been for 40 years, or they squash the opposing model. Right now, they seem intent on squashing.

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    249. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I thought of the analogy for what works here! There is Loony Tunes episode in which the Tasmanian Devil (Taz!) gets loose and there is a huge reward posted for him. (Actually, there are several.) In this particular episode, Daffy Duck – who is a coward but a greedy coward – decides to go after the reward despite being terrified of Taz, who’s diet includes anything living.

      At the end (which involves Daffy taking advantage of Taz’s big weakness: music soothes him!), Daffy is walking out of the zoo counting his huge pile of money. He drops a dollar bill and Taz grabs it from within his cage (snarling and drooling the way that Taz does). Daffy – the coward who spent the entire episode having his fear battle his greed – promptly flies into the cage in a rage and beats the bejesus out of Taz to retrieve that one dollar out of the thousands that he just got. As the slightly dazed Daffy walks away from the out-cold Taz (with traditional stars and mini-tornados buzzing around his head), Daffy re-iterates: “I might be a coward: but I’m a greeeeeedy coward….”

      And that is how HBO, Comcast and all of the other major corporations operate: no matter how many thousands of dollars they make, they’ll beat your intestines and bladder empty in order to get one more from you.

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    250. I subscribe to HBO, and live outside the U.S…and I haven’t looked for or downloaded any of the leaked episodes. I don’t know what to tell people who have…I guess to each their own…

      But to the person or persons who were part of that “approved” or “trusted” group and were given the screeners by HBO…fuck you all very much you pathetic little shits!

      There is a price to pay, and you will pay it…you’ll get what’s coming to you soon. That is a promise.

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    251. First off, this article is mis-titled. This is not a news round-up, it’s an editorial. And a rather ridiculously scolding one at that.

      Secondly, piracy is in no way theft, technically or otherwise. If it were theft, then any legal charges would be called theft, not copyright infringement. They are two different crimes, because they are two different actions. When you steal something, the original owner no longer has it either for themselves or to sell to others. That is not true with copyright infringement.

      Thirdly, HBO REALLY shot themselves in the foot by making HBO Now exclusive to Apple products. I know several people who had been planning to subscribe to it, but were unable to, and ended up using that to justify downloading the leaked copies. And at this point, they’re mad enough that I don’t think they’re going to end up subscribing once the exclusivity is over, especially since it will only be for part of the season. Maybe Apple paid them a fortune, but they lost official viewers and paying customers.

      Finally, it’s not even remotely accurate to say that there are more people pirating the show than watching it legally. For one thing, a lot of people are doing both. Most of the people I know who watched the leaked versions are also rewatching it in hi-def when they air. Thus, any damage done by them is non-existent.

      But more to the point, none of the viewing figures you’re using are accurate. It wasn’t 8.7 million people who watched the premiere. It was 18 million. And that’s only counting the viewers in America. It’s more than double that when you count worldwide viewers. We know there are over 2 million viewers in the UK alone, and similar numbers in Canada. Also, your piracy figures DO count worldwide downloads. Well over half of those downloads were outside the US. Thus instead of comparing 13 million pirated downloads with 8.7 million viewers, you should be comparing maybe 5 million American pirated downloads with over 18 million American legal viewers. Which doesn’t count those who do both or pay for the show with the DVD/Blu-Rays. And even that figure would have been higher if Windows and Android device owners without cable actually had a legal way to watch the show.

      But the show is hugely successful and also hugely profitable for HBO. The piracy really doesn’t impact the future of the show in any way. And many of those pirating the show are paying for it in other ways, either though the DVD’s or blu-rays or through merchandise.

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    252. In reality, things like Netflix are going to offer a challenge to HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.I don’t think that Netflix is quite to the point where it could land the rights to a major adaptation: but it also isn’t far from getting there.For all the fact that the current cable series model is less than 2 decades old, it’s already a bit of a trilobite: it’s modeled on a world without the Internet.(Others have noted that basic copyright laws already have this problem.)HBO and other channels actually are very worried about this.So, either they go the Netflix route and really cease to be what they have been for 40 years, or they squash the opposing model.Right now, they seem intent on squashing.

      Apparently, Netflix IS big enough to land the rights to a major adaptation. They’ve got FIVE series from Marvel Comics coming out over the next few years. And Daredevil is already a big hit.

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