Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 September 2019

'Game of Thrones': How to avoid season 8 spoilers until tonight's OSN screening

The show doesn't air until 11pm tonight in the UAE – that creates a major challenge for local fans

Kit Harington as Jon Snow, left, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in a scene from 'Game of Thrones', which premiered its eighth season on Sunday. AP
Kit Harington as Jon Snow, left, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in a scene from 'Game of Thrones', which premiered its eighth season on Sunday. AP

The first episode of the final series of Game of Thrones aired at 9pm in the US last night, and that creates something of a dilemma for fans in the UAE. The show won’t air on OSN until tonight at 11pm, and while the show does did go live on OSN Play at the same time as it aired in the States, that was 5am here which, for most of us, is not the ideal time for viewing.

So, how do we get through almost 24 hours since the episode first aired without encountering any spoilers? In an ideal world, we’d all just take the day off and hide under a duvet – don’t order pizza, the delivery guy might have seen it – but for most of us, that isn't practical. What’s the alternative?

It’s not going to be easy, but the key thing is this: Make like it’s 1990. Twitter, Facebook, the internet ... all of it will be one huge minefield of spoilerdom, so you really have no option but to keep your online contact to a minimum. If you can do without your phone for a day, switch it off. If you need to make or receive calls, dig out your old Nokia 3310 – it’ll still work, those things were built like tanks. Your smartphone is not your friend today, so enjoy a retro 24 hours. Play Snake, and watch your battery still sit at 99 per cent after a full day at work.

Ideally, you should probably keep your laptop closed and your PC well and truly in hibernation all day. However, many of us are required to have at least some degree of contact with a machine during the course of the day’s work, so avoid social media like the plague. Newspapers, fan sites, message boards ... all of them will be rife with GoT chatter, so only use the programmes and software you really need, and throw yourself fully into your job as if your life depended on it. You might even walk out with a bonus after the sudden upsurge in productivity, with all that surfing cut out. Don’t go overboard though – you wouldn’t want to set too much of a precedent.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in the season 8 of The Game of Thrones. HBO / OSN
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark in season 8 of 'Game of Thrones'. HBO / OSN

Other people are likely to be an issue, too. Jean-Paul Sartre once noted that “hell is other people", and rarely can that be more true than today. There’s a high chance that John in accounts or Sandra in marketing will either have stayed up to watch the show, or exposed themselves to the torrent of GoT gossip online. So shun your workmates. Take a vow of silence and do not, under any circumstances, hover near the water cooler. It may seem anti-social, possibly even unprofessional, so maybe make a sign to hang around your neck explaining your predicament, and just point it out to anyone who questions your apparent rudeness.

When you finish work, go home. Go directly to home. Do not pass the cafe, the mall, don’t even stop for petrol. Game of Thrones will have been available on OSN Play for hours by now and anyone could have seen it. Shift workers, people who get quiet periods at work where they could potentially watch the show a snippet at a time; everyone is your enemy, so act accordingly.

When you get home, do not turn the TV or the radio on until 10.59pm. Chances are the show is being discussed on the news, on chat shows and on current affairs programmes. You could possibly be safe with a movie channel, but even that’s not 100 per cent certain. What if the continuity announcer mentions something between films? Your safest bet is a long bath, a nap and preparing snacks for the 11pm deadline. Maybe keep the lights off too, in case the neighbours see you’re in and fancy a chat about the show.

When 11pm comes, turn on the TV, relax, and do not at any point be tempted to comment on social media about what’s going on until the show is over. With all of that done, you should be safe. Enjoy.

Updated: April 15, 2019 03:24 PM

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