This article contains spoilers for season 4 of Game of Thrones.
There are two main types of Game of Thrones fans: those who only watch HBO’s hit fantasy show and those who have already read the A Song of Ice and Fire books that it is based on. The latter, obviously, already know a lot of what’s coming up in the show, and most treat such knowledge of George RR Martin’s story responsibly. It’s the ones that don’t, however, who have fired up Arya Stark herself, Maisie Williams.
Williams says she has become irked by “mean” readers of the books who seem to take pleasure in spoiling the TV series for others.
“I’m so sick of going on the internet and seeing all the book readers being snobby,” she says, “spoiling it for other people – then saying, ‘Well, it’s not a spoiler. The books have been out for years’.”
“Like, couldn’t you just stop being mad for a second and let other people enjoy the show? They feel they have a claim on the series because they read the books first, and I understand that, but they don’t need to be mean about it.”
One high-profile example of the sort of fan Williams refers to is author Stephen King, who tweeted about a major death in season four to his 475,000 Twitter followers. Second chance: spoilers are coming.
What such book-reading fans don’t seem to understand, though, is that the TV series has gone mainstream –becoming less of an adaptation, and more of a story in its own right.
Such privileged knowledge of future story lines may not be as effective as it once was, however. As the series progresses, writers David Benioff and DB Weiss have made several changes from the source material. For example, fans of the books were shocked by the death of Jojen Reed – who is still alive in the books – in the season four finale, and were outraged at the omission of a character called Lady Stoneheart at the end of the same episode. (Spoiler alert: If you have not read the books but plan on doing so at some point, do not search the name.)
“[Lady Stoneheart] was a massive deal,” Williams tells TVline, “but honestly, I really like [the backlash]. Book readers think they know what’s coming, then we change it and it’s really funny to watch their reactions.”
“They’re always like, ‘That’s not what happened in the books, so the show’s really bad now’ – but really, they just feel insecure because they’re used to knowing what’s coming next.”