In the long list of stupid things done for the sake of performative secrecy, HBO’s refusal to give any descriptions of the last two episodes of season six of Game of Thrones ranks right above pretending your mouth is a lock and miming turning a key and throwing it away.
There are exactly two episodes left in season six of Game of Thrones, and, as usual, HBO announced the dates and names of them today. Not as usual, HBO’s press release was lacking anything resembling an episode description. And it wasn’t a mistake. According to Entertainment Weekly, there will be no official descriptions anywhere. All they’re releasing are the episodes’ titles, writers, and directors.
This is stupid on every conceivable level. First of all, have you ever seen what the official synopses look like? Here’s last night’s:
While Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) weighs his options, Cersei (Lena Headey) answers a request. Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) plans bear fruit. Arya (Maisie Williams) faces a new test. Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Mark Mylod.
They don’t mean anything. They never mean anything. They’re barely even full sentences. Do you want to know what the summary was right before the Red Wedding? It was this:
Edmure (Tobias Menzies) meets his bride. Jon (Kit Harington) faces his harshest test yet. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) discovers a new gift. Daario (Ed Skrein) and Jorah (Iain Glen) debate how to take Yunkai. House Frey joins with House Tully.
“House Frey joins with House Tully.” Yeah. I can see why they’re so worried.
Second of all, the titles of the last two episodes are “Battle of the Bastards” (oh my god, I wonder what could possibly happen in that episode) and “The Winds of Winter”, and that’s the title of the book George R.R. Martin still hasn’t put out.
And third, and most stupidly, they’re still releasing teaser trailers for each episode. Why struggle through HBO’s needlessly vague summaries when you can just watch this?
That’s nearly a whole minute of footage from “Battle of the Bastards”, an episode that HBO somehow refuses to summarise as “Jon (Kit Harrington) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) face a great challenge. Ramsay’s (Iwan Rheon) resolve is tested”. HBO put this footage on the internet for everyone to tear apart, but a few meaningless sentences would just reveal too much.
It’s clearly just something that HBO is doing out of a smug sense of secrecy. It’s a smug “we’re going to reveal stuff from The Winds of Winter before it’s published, how cool are we?” and “No one’s going to be spoiled for this!”
This season’s been good – HBO doesn't need to resort to this kind of nonsense.