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Spoilers from the book and HBO’s first season are within.

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

I liked this book a lot, but I did a very bad thing. I skipped ahead to find out what would happen in the subsequent books.  Wikipedia makes for a very compliant oracle.

The majority of people loathe spoilers and avoid them like the plague.  Others, like my mother, won’t be interested in the story unless she knows what will happen ahead of time.  My own preference is to steer clear, but there is a time or two when I need to know.

I’m not happy about doing it, but I couldn’t help it this time.

I watched the first season before I read the book.  The death of Ned Stark shocked me and also made me pretty angry.  He was one of my favorite characters. I saw Ilyn Payne raise the heavy sword that was Ice above his head.  It sundered Ned’s neck, and King Joffrey grinned like the sadistic demon that he was, while Sansa begged mercy for her father and Arya screamed in futile horror.

I yelled “Nooooooooo!” at my TV and promptly burst into tears.  It’s been a long time since I sobbed so pitifully at a character’s death.

“Well why did you do a fool thing like that?” my sister demanded when I told her that I read some summaries on Wikipedia.

Why? Because I had to.  The author dangled a character in front of me and made me care about what happens to him, his family, his hopes and his dreams.  Then he was sentenced to a traitor’s death.  Just like that, my favorite character was gone.  The circumstances of his death left me feeling mournful and cheated.

Ned Stark said “dark wings, dark words” about the birds who brought bad tidings in the night.  Five rulers are battling for the Iron throne;  I didn’t need any ravens to tell me that more deaths were bound to happen.  Heavens, I’d be exhausted from all the crying.

Life in the Seven Kingdoms is brutal and harsh. Sansa had the right of it when she thought “there are no heroes… in life, the monsters win.”  I had hoped for a bit more optimism, but Disney is in a galaxy far, far away.  I’m not asking for a song and dance number, though a fairy godmother wouldn’t go amiss every now and then.

Battle raiment is not solely for the knights of the seven kingdoms.  I feel like I must shield my heart against the monsters, too.  It’s the only way I can keep reading.  Now, I just need a box of tissues and a lot of time.  And I wouldn’t say no to a dragon.

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

How do you feel about spoilers? Do you avoid them? Embrace them? Are you reluctant allies?