Warning: spoilers for EVERYTHING GAME OF THRONES RELATED. Seriously, don’t read unless you’ve read up to Dance With Dragons, because … well, if you read the post you’ll figure it out. And be horribly spoiler-ed.
To put it bluntly, this post will be deliberately upsetting for people who haven’t read the books. It’s not for you.
I write this on a Monday evening, having not yet viewed this week’s episode of Game of Thrones.
But I already know what happens – in two ways:
1. I’ve read the books multiple times, so nothing in the series is really a surprise, though they may not follow the exact same method to get the same results
2. People cannot fucking hold themselves back from using in-joke-y hashtags and posting about their very specific feelings about the episode.
You may very well say, “but you totally knew the Red Wedding was going to happen, so what’s the problem?”
The problem is that if I took that point of view for everything, why the fuck would I bother to watch the series?
I also know precisely who’s going to be dead by the end of this season, but I can still be interested in how their story and development is shown, I can still enjoy the acting and amazing production values and direction.
Part of that, however, involves forcing a little bit of selective amnesia on myself. Yes, I know the Red Wedding is coming, and I know Balon will die and Mance will die and Jon will (possibly?) kill Ygritte and I know who kills Tywin, who saves the Night’s Watch from the wildlings, and why Cersei is going to be forced to do a naked walk of shame through King’s Landing.
I briefly suspend most of this knowledge each week in order to enjoy reliving that story all over again. And because the plot is so vast and there are so many characters to cover, it actually is enjoyable seeing whose story gets advanced this time and who we catch up with and whose fate is still left hanging in the balance.
There are also interesting divergences from the novels. The Battle of Blackwater Bay was amazingly done in the series, but very, very different from the books. And if someone had ruined that awesome explosive climax by Tumblring an animated gif of it before I got to watch the episode, I would have felt rightfully pissed off.
The cherry on my self-righteous cake is that I feel I deserve to watch Game of Thrones without spoilers. Because – up until this clearly-warned post – I have been absolutely rigorous in not spoiling things. Not saying “boy, I can’t wait to see how Peter Dinklage pulls off that scene where _________” or “since they’ve eliminated the Edric Storm character, I bet Gendry’s going to ________” or “yeah, don’t get too hopeful about _____ and _____ living happily ever after, I reckon they’ve got until the end of season 2, tops.”
Everyone I know who watches Thrones but hasn’t read the books was gobsmacked when Ned got the chop at the end of season 1. Because a whole fucking generation of nerds were polite enough not to spoil that (I can’t speak for 4chan or Reddit, but come on.) And that’s only where the series starts to throw totally pantshitting plot swerves at you. The Burned Prince? Asha’s batshit uncles? Zombie Gregor Clegane? If you haven’t read the books – and seriously, I hope that means you’re not reading this post – you don’t even know the kickass shit that’s coming your way. Because fans – despite the annoyance of years of nerd-ostracisation suddenly being erased because the mainstream wants to jump on the latest bandwagon - have not spoiled it for you.
Is it too much to ask that we get our moments of surprise and wonder too?