A surprise ending? Not for everyone. Some Game of Thrones fans weren’t exactly shocked by the final heartbreaking scenes in the Sunday, May 22, episode of the hit fantasy series — because they had the chance to watch, or read about, the plot twist a day earlier, after the show was leaked online by HBO, the very network that the series airs on.
According to UsWeekly, the episode was accidentally released early on the HBO Nordic platform “temporarily due to a technical issue,” a network spokesperson told Variety, but it wasn’t taken down quickly enough — excited GoT fans ripped the episode and posted it online.
Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated shows on the internet, according to Variety, and fans were quick to capitalize on HBO’s error. TorrentFreak reports that low- and high-resolution copies of the episode were widely circulated on torrent and steaming sites.
HBO worked to take down links to the pirated copies of the episode, titled “The Door,” but by then it was too late, as word had spread about the dramatic story line that played out at the end of episode 5.
For those who missed it — spoiler alert! — the episode revealed Hodor’s heroic destiny and fans learned the tragic reason why the gentle giant could only say one word, “Hodor.”
The heartbreaking story line, which also included the death of Bran’s direwolf, Summer, triggered strong reactions on Twitter as fans expressed their grief and horror in sad and sometimes funny comments, gifs and memes over the death of the beloved character played by Kristian Nairn.
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Photo credit: Game of Thrones