Chris Schulz: How to spoil Game of Thrones

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Have you spoiled Game of Thrones for yourself? Chris Schulz has. Here's his cautionary tale.

The dragons are getting bigger, the skeleton zombie army of White Walkers is on the march, and King Joffrey appears to be more arrogant than ever.

Oh, and Tyrion is in trouble. Again.

Yes, things are heating up in Westeros as the launch of Game of Thrones' fourth season draws near. With around seven weeks to go before it debuts on our screens, it's shaping up as one of the television events of the year.

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We've already had three trailers - one of which was a whopping 15 minutes long. And the most recent of those ends with the ominous warning: "All men must die." After last season's Red Wedding episode, we know the gruesome death scenes aren't restricted to just men.

If, like me, you're a major Game of Thrones fan, hanging out for this season's Soho debut on April 7, those trailers are pass-me-some-lamprey pie and pour-me-some-pear-brandy sort of stuff.

But there's one major problem. And it's something that I reckon many Thrones fans who can't wait to see new episodes of the show struggle with every day.

I've already spoiled it for myself. It wasn't on purpose. I didn't jump on internet message boards, or accidentally come across key facts while geeking out at every behind-the-scenes video and Game of Thrones-on-Facebook comedy meme I could find.

Nor did I engage in a drunken debate with a super-fan who's read every book, owns all the Blu-rays and has a tattoo of G.R.R Martin - the author whose books the TV show is based upon - on their arm. Although I do know people like this.

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It happened on a sunny afternoon at Sydney Airport. Bored and waiting for my flight home, I grabbed a Bondi burger (that was my first mistake) and wandered around a bookstore, trying to kill some time.

There, in front of me, was a collection of Martin's thick tomes, set on a special stand. If you're about to start reading the series, be warned: some of those books are as big as a brick.

Anyway, I picked up A Dance of Dragons, the fifth in Martin's series, flicked to the back cover blurb, and started reading what I expected to be a generic overview of the series.

Not so. Several seconds later I'd sunk to my knees and screamed a horrified "Nooo!" like Darth Vader at the end of Star Wars: Episode III.

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It was too late. I couldn't take it back. In just a few short, detailed paragraphs I'd discovered exactly what happens in Game of Thrones' fourth season - and further.

This is the problem that Thrones fans face: most of us discovered the show through internet hype that began around the time Joffrey ordered Ned Stark's head to be cut off in front of his daughter. We've only seen it on TV, or in box-set binges.

But there are five books already released in the planned seven-book series (hurry up, Martin, you're running out of time) and the temptation to start reading them, thus bypassing the events the show has already covered, is great.

It's too late for me. I've given up resisting and am up to book two, A Clash of Kings. It's addictive and compelling reading. But my advice is to hold out. Because this season, the spoilers - like Daenerys' dragons - promise to be bigger than ever.

- TimeOut

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