The final season of Game of Thrones is nearly upon us. Maybe you’re all caught up. Maybe not. Either way, you likely don’t want get spoiled on the final episodes before you have a chance to watch — you’ve invested eight years in this story, after all (perhaps even decades if you started off by reading George R.R. Martin’s books, the first of which was released in 1996). Here are the basics on where and when to watch the new episodes, some anti-spoiler tips and how EW.com plans to handle things.
1. The basics: GoT airs Sunday nights for the next six weeks at 9 p.m. on HBO. If you have cable or satellite, simply subscribe to HBO. If you don’t have cable (or have DISH), you can get add on HBO via Amazon Prime, Hulu, Roku Channel and Sony Vue. There’s also the HBO Now streaming service, where all you need is an internet connection.
2. Now for a few spoiler avoidance tips: Every episode in the final season of Game of Thrones a bit like a pop culture Super Bowl — you’re not going to be able to avoid knowing the outcome after it ends. The show isn’t just airing in the U.S., but airing live or near-live in hundreds of territories around the world, so spoilers will flood in from every corner of the globe — on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, online news, TV newscasts, friends, family, coworkers…unless you’re living in a remote mountain cabin without internet, spoilers will be unavoidable (and Big Stuff happens in every episode).
3. If you’re not yet caught up on the show, I’d suggest making every effort to do so (if not before Sunday, at least before Episode 2). If you are caught up, there are ways to protect yourself.
4. Watch live. Watch live. Watch live! And if you live on the West Coast, watch the East Coast feed via HBO Go or Now instead of the linear telecast. True, that means watching at 6 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. (In the U.K., fans actually stay up until 2 a.m. to watch Thrones to avoid spoilers, so West Coasters still have it pretty easy).
5. If you can’t or won’t watch live, then treat the internet like lava and your phone like a spoiler-stuffed grenade until you do. If possible, just turn your phone off — you know you’re gonna look, and then you’re just going to kick yourself. Even if you don’t browse, if you have push notifications enabled for certain services, they just might pop a major spoiler into your face.
6. Even if you do watch live the instant an episode becomes available, it’s still possible to get spoiled online before it’s over. Because there are a few out there who will fast-forward the stream to the end of an episode first and then go online to yak about it. “Some just want to watch the world burn,” etc.
7. I’ll be live tweeting some during the episode. I will do my best to avoid saying things that outright give something major away, but rather post reactive or fun-fact tweets like last season. Obviously, if you’re story savvy and reading tweets instead of watching the show you’ll be able figure some things out.
8. After each episode and during the week, EW.com will have recaps and exclusive interviews. As with all our TV postmortem coverage, we try to craft a headline that doesn’t outright give away a massive spoiler. We also try to pair a headline with a non-spoiler photo. But a certain degree of headline clarity is necessary — especially when posting multiple stories about one episode — so we can’t be too vague and photos need to support the topic. Your best defense is to watch the episodes live before venturing online if you’re spoiler sensitive. Bookmark our GoT story hub to find coverage, our recaps are here, follow me on Twitter.
- Read EW’s complete coverage of Game of Thrones‘ final season
- The secrets behind the Game of Thrones title sequence
- Game of Thrones season 8 showrunners interview: ‘This is where the story ends’