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Poor HBO. They just can’t catch a break where Game of Thrones is concerned. Not only is the series the most pirated show in the world (which was one of the key reasons the network created its stand alone streaming system, HBONow), but now the first four episodes from the highly anticipated fifth season have been leaked online. Many fans are rushing to snap up the episodes, most citing the spoiler-heavy nature of the series as the factor behind the push. After all, who wants to be the person who has something particularly amazing ruined for them by someone on social media?
However, some fans are noting, via Twitter, that they are refusing to download the illegally released episodes, citing the poor quality of the files. It appears that the released episode came from a television critic screener (television critics are often given the first four episodes of a show’s season to write initial reviews), and the image quality is only 480p (typical of screeners). There has been no word from HBO on the leak, or any reaction from the network on how to handle. Judging from the numbers, over 50,000 people have already downloaded the episodes. HBO knows that spoilers might topple the ship in a way they haven’t in the past, as this season is the first that will have storylines that are completely beyond the stories contained within the George R.R. Martin book series.
For those who will be avoiding the leak, the premiere of the fifth season of Game of Thrones airs tonight at 9:00E/8:00C, and will be simulcast in 170 countries around the world at the same time.