Some shows are meant to be watched in an episodic manner, one each week. Other shows deserve to be binged on. For me, Game of Thrones is the latter, and our readers seem to agree it’s one of the shows you need to binge-watch.
With this in mind, I didn’t watch any of Game of Thrones Season 5 until all 10 episodes had aired on TV, and was successful in avoiding spoilers for the duration. Here’s how I personally managed that feat, and how you could too.
The Problem Points
Game of Thrones (GoT) is an incredibly popular show based on an incredibly popular series of books, so if you do go online, it’s almost impossible not to encounter fans talking about the latest episode and discussing GoT theories on the Internet. There’s an ongoing debate about whether you should talk about spoilers or not, what is the right amount of time to wait, and so on.
Honestly, in a world where social media is king, it’s a moot argument. Given that every show wants to encourage you to use hashtags to talk on Twitter while the episode is on, you can’t escape it. The onus is upon you to make sure you are guarded.
The usual advice is to use an app like Spoiler Shield, which has its own list of keywords that filter out spoilers about your favorite TV show on social networks. The downside is that it means you have to browse Twitter and Facebook through Spoiler Shield on your mobile device, which is a horrible experience.
Plus, if you’ve actually used Spoiler Shield, you will know that it doesn’t do a great job of blocking spoilers anyway. It will filter out the main keywords, but the list of words isn’t updated regularly enough to save you.
Tackling Twitter and Facebook
You definitely should use Twitter, but people on your timeline will be talking about the show. To protect yourself, the first thing is to use alternate apps instead of the official Twitter app: use TweetDeck if you are on a computer, Fenix for Android, and Tweetbot for the best iOS Twitter experience. Why?
The official Twitter app does not let you mute hashtags or keywords, which is a major necessity if you’re going to successfully avoid spoilers. And you will need to silence and filter those pesky spoilers by using specific keywords. Over the course of the season, I added a large list of keywords that helped keep the GoT spoilers away.
Facebook is far more difficult to handle than Twitter. If you’re on a PC, then Social Fixer for Chrome is what you need. The extension lets you create custom filters, although it can be a little tedious to set it up. For more information, be sure to read our guide to using Social Fixer filters, which you can use with the same keywords above. I’d suggest filtering all of those posts into a Game of Thrones tab, so that you don’t lose them and can look them up once you have caught up with the show.
Unfortunately, there is no Social Fixer for mobile, or any similar app to filter out keywords. You’re stuck using Spoiler Shield to access your Facebook on phones and tablets. While it’s not the best solution, it’s all you have right now. If you are not as big of a Facebook user as I am, then you might as well wait until you get to a PC before using the social network.
Blocking the Internet
GameofSpoils is yet another example of why I’m stuck with Chrome even if I hate it. For the first few weeks, this extension actually did a decent job of blocking GoT-related spoilers on Reddit and elsewhere. It blocks spoiler posts with a big black bar, which you can click to reveal the content.
I got all the way to three weeks before the season finale without spoilers and realized I needed to step up my game. With seven episodes down, people were fine with referencing earlier episodes casually; more so on websites I regularly visit than anything else. I decided to go for an aggressive blocking policy and came across tinyFilter. It’s actually a profanity filter extension, but you can add custom keywords into it, and the extension will aggressively block any Webpage which has that word.
There are similar filters available for other browsers, like ProCon-Latte for Firefox. Use one, set up your filters, and carry on without having your favorite show spoiled.
Apps Help, But It’s All Up To You
During this experiment, I tried almost every spoiler-busting app out there, and unfortunately, they just don’t do a good enough job. While these apps are successful in blocking around 70 percent of spoiler-oriented posts, the remaining 30 percent are still out there.
Ultimately, the onus is on you. You’ll need to be proactive and add those keywords yourself, because each and every week, people use new ways to talk about the show. Here are some tips that will help:
- Scan, don’t read: You have to be proactive in scanning your timeline without actually reading each tweet fully. I often saw tweets that were referring to the show because of an image attached to it. It’s difficult at first, but the more you do it, the more your eye gets trained to not reading a tweet and just scanning for content.
- Keep adding hashtags and keywords to your mute filter: Use it without thinking twice. A “better safe than sorry” approach is good here. If you think you’ll be out of the loop on social media, don’t worry. The fear of missing out is part of tech addiction. You aren’t actually going to be an outcast. In more than two months, I didn’t miss a single important tweet.
- Get a buddy to feed you keywords: Find a friend who is watching the show every week, and someone who understands your desire to be spoiler-free until the end of the season. Ask them to feed you a list of new keywords based on every episode. I could have avoided a few tiny spoilers and made my scans easier if I had thought of this in advance.
If nothing else, that’s my key takeaway from successfully avoiding spoilers… Don’t rely on automated filters and solutions. Instead, as much as humanly possible, do it manually and stay alert at all times.
Share Your Tips for Avoiding Spoilers
Ye who love binge-watching and hate spoilers, I call upon thee to share your wisdom. Together, we can and will beat this scourge upon mankind. The comments section is below, so use it. And don’t, whatever you do, post Game of Thrones spoilers. Or else.