13 Apr 2015

Winter comes late for Game of Thrones fans

4:28 pm on 13 April 2015

New Zealand fans of Game of Thrones were let down today after the first episode of the fifth season aired over 2.5 hours later than scheduled.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the highly anticipated episode was set to play at 1pm on Sky’s Soho, the same time as in the United States, but the network blamed “technical difficulties” in getting the feed.

The first four episodes of Game of Thrones season five were leaked online on Saturday, a day before its official release on HBO in America. 

The copies were spotted on torrent sites like the Pirate Bay, RARBG and KickassTorrents with the New York Times reporting the episodes have been downloaded several hundred thousand times. 

Daniel Kreps for the Rolling Stone writes it’s unlikely HBO was hacked, rather “the leaked episodes were culled from screening copies provided to critics and reviewers prior to broadcast.”

Greg Spence, the producer in charge of post-production for Game of Thrones told The Denver Post a week ago he was worried about potential leaks.

"The cast is looping all over the world, sending files back and forth,” he said.

"Artists are working in special-effects houses all over the world. The files are watermarked, and editors have to confirm in writing that they've deleted them."

The trailer for Game of Thrones season five was leaked in January after screenings of the last two season four episodes.

The official version was released shortly after.

Game of Thrones was the most pirated show on the internet for three years in a row. According to The Independent it was illegally downloaded more than 7 million times from February to April 2015, and 4.9 million times in the same period in 2014.

Cover image: HBO