First of all, this is a really weird time for the Game of Thrones showrunners — Dan Weiss and David Benioff — to be talking about spoilers. This is the first season of the show where you can’t find spoilers in the books even if you wanted to, and in a twist of irony, the show may potentially spoil the story for book readers (although they have said unconvincingly that won’t be the case).
Yet, here the two are talking to EW about how they don’t understand why people read spoilers. Granted, the showrunners are largely talking about the secrecy they’ve enacted to ensure that no one sees the new season ahead of time (something I think is a bad choice). But Weiss also said,
“Any sane person would admit that knowing this stuff in advance lessens the experience of watching it, and yet people are really hungry to find out things that that will make something they presumably like worse for them.”
Well, as a fairly sane person I completely disagree. While I’m not a spoiler hound, the idea that knowing an outcome forgoes a story’s tension is utterly untrue. Take literally any movie or TV show based on history as an easy example, or even something like Better Call Saul, where we know exactly where things end up for Saul, and yet, every week is a fascinating character study (including of characters we didn’t expect). To suggest that only plot points matter leaves out the exceptional character moments that have made a show like Game of Thrones so great (as our own Adam Chitwood has commented on, having fewer quiet conversational moments was something that made Season 5 somewhat lackluster).
Weiss and Benioff also talk about some pretty determined people who essentially went on commando missions in order to try and suss out secrets from the production’s international sets (which I don’t approve of), and Benioff went on to say,
“It’s crazy enough to be the person crawling through the bushes in Northern Ireland with a telescopic lens taking pictures – there are crazy people out there. But the idea that people want to go to sites and find out those spoilers … it’s like if there was a website called Last Pages of Great Books, would you read that?”
I just might! I actually have done exactly that in the past, although I usually forgot the ending by the time I reached it properly. And even if I didn’t, the tension remained as far as where things were headed, so the it then becomes more of a puzzle, like how do they get there? How does someone get out of this predicament?
There’s a separate argument to made for people who specifically avoid spoilers, and the spoiler-culture we have today, but that’s for another time. For now, do you read spoilers, particularly for Game of Thrones? And wouldn’t all of our lives be a lot easier if they just stopped pretending Jon Snow is really dead? Truly I will not believe he is dead until the end of the series, the mythology set up in the books is too important to dismiss. And if it’s meaningless, that blows up the entire point of the story in my opinion, but give me your thoughts!
Game of Thrones returns Sunday, April 24th on HBO.