‘Game of Thrones’ director: Piracy helps HBO series thrive

Feb. 27, 2013 | 12:18 p.m.

Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen, who embraced her role as the "Mother of Dragons" at the end of last season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Lena Headey returns as Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, attempting to maintain control of the Seven Kingdoms with her psychotic son, Joffrey, and her controlling father. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Jaime Lannister, last seen being escorted to King's Landing by Brienne of Tarth to be exchanged for Arya and Sansa Stark. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) managed to repel Stannis Baratheon's invading forces from King's Landing at the end of last season, but he was rewarded with the loss of his title (King's Hand) and a scar on his face. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Charles Dance plays Tywin Lannister, patriarch of the Lannister family, who returned to King's Landing to relieve his son, Tyrion, from his role as the King's Hand. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Michelle Fairley plays Catelyn Stark, who is attempting to keep her children safe. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Robb Stark (Richard Madden) ended last season by breaking his engagement to Lord Walder Frey's daughter and marrying Lady Talisa (Oona Chaplin) instead. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Sophie Turner plays Sansa Stark, who was promised to the psychotic King Joffrey, but managed to avoid marriage. However, so long as she remains in King's Landing, she's in danger. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Kit Harrington plays Jon Snow, the Night's Watch soldier who has been captured by the Wildlings north of the Wall. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Maisie Williams plays Arya Stark, who learned of a secret organization known as the Faceless Men at the end of last season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Isaac Hempstead-Wright plays Bran Stark, who has begun a trek north to the Wall. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays Jojen Reed, brother of Meera Reed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Ellie Kendrick plays Meera Reed, who will assist Bran Stark on his journey. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Rose Leslie plays the Wildling warrior Ygritte, who has her eye on Jon Snow. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Stephen Dillane plays Stannis Baratheon, who still lusts after the Iron Throne, even though his assault on King's Landing failed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Carice van Houten plays the red priestess Melisandre, who continues to advise Stannis Baratheon, even though his attack on King's Landing failed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Natalie Dormer plays Lady Margaery Tyrell, the new lady love of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Ciaran Hinds joins the cast as Mance Rayder, the "King Beyond the Wall" and leader of the Wildlings. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Diana Rigg joins the cast as Lady Olenna Redwyne, also known as the Queen of Thorns. She's the grandmother of Margaery and Loras Tyrell and a scheming force to be reckoned with. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Richard Dormer plays Beric Dondarrion, leader of the mysterious Brotherhood Without Banners, which is introduced in the third season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Paul Kaye joins the cast as Thoros of Myr, a red priest who worships the same deity as Melisandre, who also serves as an adviser to Beric Dondarrion. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Gwendoline Christie plays Brienne of Tarth, the female knight tasked with escorting Jaime Lannister to King's Landing. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

Clive Russell joins the cast as Brynden Tully, also known as the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark's uncle. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

This post has been updated. See the note below for details.

Were you — or your “friends” — feeling a tiny bit guilty about illegally downloading HBO’s “Game of Thrones”?

Probably not. But if you were, banish the thought.

Director David Petrarca downplayed the series’ unusual distinction as the most pirated show on TV, suggesting that illegal downloads help create “cultural buzz” around shows and adds to their word-of-mouth cachet.

“That’s how they survive,” Petrarca was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Petrarca, who has directed several episodes of “Game of Thrones,” was making an appearance at the University of Western Australia for the Perth’s Writers Festival.

The notion that piracy is not only not detrimental, but also might actually be instrumental to a show’s success stands in sharp contrast to Hollywood’s party line — that piracy is devastating to the business and is akin to taking food off the tables of the industry’s behind-the-scenes, rank-and-file workers.

What do you think? Is piracy as serious a problem as the industry contends? Tell us in the comments below.

Hero Complex has reached out to HBO for comment but did not receive a response by the time this post was published.  [Updated at 1:30 p.m., Feb. 27: HBO has released a statement rejecting the idea that piracy has an upside. Full details at “Game of Thrones' piracy comment rejected by HBO”

In the meantime, enjoy the photo gallery above: It’s a sneak peek of Season 3, which begins March 31.

– Rene Lynch


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5 Responses to ‘Game of Thrones’ director: Piracy helps HBO series thrive

  1. Robyn Carter says:

    Any wonder people download pirate copies…. We got hooked on Game of Thrones when Series one was released on DVD. Unfortunately we missed the screenings on cable, and are now still waiting for Season 2 to be released on DVD a full 12 months later!!!!!! C'mon HBO!! Release the series after it has been screened a little sooner please!!!!! (This is from Australia)

  2. Internet Guy says:

    Without internet piracy I would have never been introduced into the Game of Thrones world. Since then I have purchased all five books, even had to re-buy Storm of Swords 'cuz the cover came off. In addition I purchased the RPG video game, knowing full well that it sucked, because I craved more ASOIAF lore.

    HBO and all the other channels like them are an utter ripoff. Three of the channels end up being the exact same and they are still playing movies from the 90's, that are by no means classics.

  3. Brian says:

    When a show can't pay it's rank and file workers, it ceases to exist. They also do not recieve bonuses related to the shows profitablity, they are hourly workers who make the standard wage for their crafts. It's the producers and network executives who see diminished paychecks from pirating, but it's not food being taken from their tables, it's Ferraris being taken from their garages.

    On the other hand, I usually pay for my entertainment. I can afford it, and I believe that protecting intelectual property is paramount to a culture of innovation.

  4. Grey says:

    I don’t mind paying HBO to watch this particular series that I really like to watch. What I do mind is paying a cable TV provider a bunch of money to get GoT as a package bundled with all sorts of rubbish I have no interest in. That is whay I watch GoT via free to view means, and then buy the Blu-ray when it’s released. I don’t pay for content I don’t want, and HBO gets some of my money so as to continue to make this series. It’s a win-win for me and HBVO at least. TV broadcasters can suck it until they find a different broadcasting model for the 21st century rather than trying to desperately hold on to 20th century broadcasting models.

  5. Jim says:

    The pay per view TV model is as quaint and powerful as the video rental service, or music 8track, tape and cd model, or the postal system with todays technology it is a dichotomy. However until people get over comfort food from Mickey Ds there will be executives driving exotic cars over the backs of the middle class. You might as well tell someone the cure for cancer is in beet juice!

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