Beware, Game of Thrones fans, because a veritable winter of spoileriffic content is coming to... pretty much everywhere near you soon, after four episodes of the seminal fantasy series were leaked online before season five's long proposed unveiling on Sunday.
The world's most illegally downloaded show's inaugural episodes began making the rounds on various torrenting sites on Saturday evening, with eagle eyed downloaders collecting the leaks from various sites such as RARBG and KickassTorrents.
The leaks reportedly originated from a screener sent to journalists and reviewers before the public airing of S5, with all four leaks being in 480p standard definition and including a blurred but still visible watermark. Here's what HBO had to say about the matter:
Sadly, it seems the leaked four episodes of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones originated from within a group approved by HBO to receive them. We're actively assessing how this breach occurred.
Almost immediately after the leaks went live, 100,000 file requests for downloads were said to have been received. However, a mere 18 hours later, episode one had been downloaded over 1m times, with 136,000 people sharing the file between downloaders. That number will most definitely shoot up as the availability of the leaks fans further out across the web.
Torrent Freak drew up this lovely list of GoT download hotspots, and found that the U.K. are top of the class when it comes to the Piracy of Thrones, with 9.8 percent of all downloads!
This comes as tough news for TV giants HBO, whose new content streaming service 'HBO Now' was launched around The Wall sized draw of cable-free streaming of GoT from any device you want (so long as it's an Apple iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV... basically something that runs iOS... and you're in America...).
But, high point(?), the leak is nowhere near as bad as, say, the entirety of season 5 escaping onto the web. But now HBO has to make the tough choice: do they continue to air the show on a week by week basis and run the risk of Major Spoiler ruining everyone's fun (for the next three weeks), or just dump the whole lot online, Netflix style?
Because, due to the leaks, episode 5 won't be airing for a month. Unless, you know, it leaks tonight.
I dunno about you, but I'm sticking to watching them week by week.