Game of Thrones has just three episodes left to air, and clips from one of them are reportedly already circulating online hours before its premiere tonight, according to reports in Deadline and Variety and posts on Reddit’s “Free Folk” board.
Leaked material that was quickly spreading on Twitter and elsewhere could not be immediately verified by Gizmodo, though it looked real enough and purported to show major spoilers such as character deaths, further development of other characters’ plotlines, and myriad other bits. As Deadline noted, before the final season’s fourth episode airs, it cannot be ascertained whether all of the leaks are from that episode or (even worse for HBO) some of them could be from the two after that.
It is also possible the leaked clips are high-quality fakes, though in at least one instance enough production-grade CGI is involved that it seems improbable.
As Variety noted, HBO has historically not had a great track record keeping Game of Thrones out of the hands of pirates, and this season has been no different:
This marks the fourth issue with leaks “Game of Thrones” has experienced in as many episodes. The season premiere accidentally aired four hours early on DirecTV; the second episode leaked online before its premiere; and photos from the third episode appeared online before it dropped
However, rampant piracy has seemingly not blunted too much of the show’s momentum, with Game of Thrones continually breaking ratings records (even as it has arguably become somewhat of a huge mess, narratively speaking).
Several threads on r/freefolk allegedly compiled from sources that leaked correct plot details for previous episodes purport to detail the broad strokes of the rest of the show, some of which matches with the material from this episode. It should be noted that some of those threads predict conflicting views of where the show is going, and there have been rumours that the showrunners shot multiple endings to muddy the waters.
In any case, given that dubiously legal ways to obtain Game of Thrones have been noted to come with a significant risk of malware—and given that the episode is airing very soon anyway—might as well wait for it.
Featured image: Screenshot: HBO