In the past, Game of Thrones really hasn’t had to worry about keeping it’s plot under the radar. While the HBO show doesn’t always faithfully adhere to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, a lot of the plot points had already played out in the books before they hit the small screen. With no book to rely on, Season 6 is going to be different. For the first time, Game of Thrones can keep the plot of the TV series completely secret. And the network and creative team are striving to keep the key points under wraps. Case in point: This week the show revealed there will be no Season 6 screener copies available for journalists.
In some ways this is just a boo hoo moment for some TV critics, but this is coming after Game of Thrones has dealt with episode leaks—often low quality—year after year. And this year, HBO President Michael Lombardo told EW that the network isn’t having it. Not at all. Here’s what he had to say:
There will be no copies for review. It’s painful for Dan and David. When you have press copies, inevitably friends ask, ‘Can I see your copy?’ There are things that happen. We talked about the upsides and downsides. Some of the press are fans who might be disappointed, but they’ll understand.
HBO has gotten sophisticated in regards to dealing with piracy in recent years. To combat people uploading episodes before a new season premieres, the subscription streaming service stopped sending out DVD copies for review, instead implementing a streaming service for journalists. But the piracy continued last year, when some of Game of Thrones’ early Season 5 episodes leaked before the official premiere. While the copies weren’t good quality and a lot of people still tuned in to watch the episodes live, it’s still a bummer when shows leak in advance—especially plot heavy shows with avid fanbases. And now that the books are caught up to the series, there’s yet another reason to want to keep any of the new episodes from getting leaked. (Although it probably won't help the piracy issues once the episodes have been released, at least it's something.)
It also makes me assume that something big is going to happen in the Season 6 opener, but that’s neither here nor there.
Obviously, Game of Thrones hasn’t been able to keep every element of the plot totally under wraps, but the show has done a good job of casting enough doubt in regards to things like Jon Snow that we can only guess what will actually happen. Still, we do know a bit about what is to come, thanks to some plots that still haven’t been covered in the novels, a few good comments from cast members on the show and a goodly amount of casting news. If you’d like to stay up to date on Season 6, you can check out what we know about the upcoming episodes.
Or, feel free to tune in when Game of Thrones returns to the schedule on Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. ET, only on HBO.