We probably could have predicted it, but it’s now official: there will be no advance screeners for this year’s Game of Thrones.
Critics and journalists, used to receiving previews ahead of time, will have to make like the smallfolk and simply wait for each episode to be broadcast on TV.
The decision, which was also made by HBO last year, is doubtless triggered by a fear of leaks. In 2015, the first four episodes of the show’s fifth series, made available in advance to reviewers, were released online a day before the season premiere, meaning that many people watched them illegally.
And last year, while no screeners were made available, a mishap on the part of a Canadian screening service meant that the first episode of season six still hit the internet several hours ahead of its planned broadcast slot.
The need for secrecy has also arguably increased in the past few years, due to the fact that the show has long since overtaken its source material, George RR Martin’s ongoing book series.
Last November, a number of significant alleged spoilers about the season seven storylines, believed by many to be credible, were posted on the website Reddit.
Game of Thrones season seven will consist of just even episodes, in contrast to the 10-episode runs of previous seasons, and will premiere on July 16 on HBO and, for UK viewers, on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.