The Season 6 fate of Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow has proven both the TV industry’s best, and worst-kept secret, subject to speculation and fan sleuthing at every turn, and HBO refuses to risk any official leaks. In an unprecedented move, perhaps owing to last year’s pirated episodes, HBO will withhold any Game of Thrones Season 6 press screeners ahead of the premiere.

A little inside-baseball backstory: HBO will traditionally send out 2-4 Game of Thrones episodes to press in weeks ahead of the premiere, aiding in timely review coverage, interviews, features and what-have-you. That admittedly backfired last year, as the first four Season 5 episodes ended up pirated online (sources say the leak didn’t come from press, though HBO switched to online screeners over DVD regardless), and now, Entertainment Weekly reports that the network will decline to screen Season 6 episodes for anyone, press or otherwise.

It’s not a terribly surprising move, considering that word of Jon Snow’s fate has proven the most sought-after story of the past year, and even the character’s literary fate has yet to be published by series creator George R.R. Martin. There’s always the off-chance that Season 6 will throw a number of additional curveballs (or reveal other surprises from Martin’s The Winds of Winter), but its at least telling that they would forgo advance Season 6 screeners altogether.

According to the report, showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff actually lobbied HBO not to release early episodes, while network boss Michael Lombardo said:

It’s painful for Dan and David [when leaks happen]. When you have press copies, inevitably friends ask, ‘Can I see your copy?’ There are things that happen. We talked about the upsides and downsides. Some of the press are fans who might be disappointed, but they’ll understand.

No doubt, the week of April 24 will bring forth a flurry of Jon Snow discussion regardless, but it looks like we’re all in the same boat for Game of Thrones Season 6. You know, minus the giant spoilers that have already leaked.

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