It's 'Game of Thrones' season again and for millions around the globe, life has meaning once more. But how do you get your 10-part fix for the year? For many people, the answer is not: "Pay my Foxtel subscription". Many people obtain their weekly 50 minutes... illegally.
Illegal downloads of 'GoT' are like a horde of Dothraki at a pony club: both staggering in number and the cause of significant consternation to management. It was the most-pirated show of 2015. During the season, downloads exceed 100,000 per day.
How do we ethically contemplate so much illegal activity? The thinking of lawmakers is pretty clear: "It's illegal, it's wrong, don't do it". But what does that say about those millions of illegal viewers? They can't all be Joffrey -- utter sociopaths, absent contrition.
The irony is that we have a narrow set of ethics about obtaining and watching this show, yet the content of 'GoT' spins the moral compass like it's an energetic game of Twister.
Can we use the characters of 'Game of Thrones', this vastly divergent set of ethical decision makers, to develop a more detailed set of piracy ethics? Let's play: "Which 'GoT' Pirate Are You?"
You are Daenerys Targaryen if circumstances get in the way of your morals
You want to do the right thing but stuff just keeps coming up. You can't afford Foxtel/the slave owners need to be made an example of. Your friends want to watch their pirated copy on your giant TV/the Unsullied want to fight for you. You intend to make things right one day when you buy the DVDs/rule Westeros.
You are Tyrion Lannister if you are a rebel
You are smart enough to perceive the futility of media laws. You don't think your actions matter anyway. What's worse is that the one making all the coin is Foxtel/your father who has hated you since birth. You have finally had enough and download it and share it with your friends/shoot him on the toilet with a crossbow.
You are Arya Stark if you have a vendetta
Similar to Tyrion, but your hate burns much hotter. You may only have your dial-up internet/Needle, but watch out corporate bigshots -- the next four episodes just got hacked and you're being recruited by Anonymous.
You are Jamie Lannister if you question: "How can love be wrong?"
It's wrong. You know it's wrong. But you are in love with a TV show/your sister and it feels right. No one can give you a straight answer about why it's so wrong anyway. You don't care if it jeopardises the future of the film industry/kingdom. Piracy/incest is your moral cross to bear and you made your mind up long ago.
You are Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish if you are a pimp
You never get your hands dirty and download/murder anyone yourself, just gain on the exploits of others. You have a filthy hard disk but a pristine internet connection. You are possibly more evil than those doing the real work, but always come up smelling roses.
You are Jon Snow if you are a book reading, fun-hating stickler
You are such a goody-two-shoes because you have read the books and never seen an episode of the TV show/you volunteered for ice patrol. Your mates threaten to murder you if you don't stop explaining why the book is better/hate you and take turns to stab you. You think you're great because you know the full history of Westeros, but really you are stuck in an icy wilderness, probably dead, and no one cares. Come in where it's warm Jon, come to dinner.
You are Jorah Mormont if you are a pathetic sap
You don't care about ethics because you have a crush and are willing to commit illegal activity/die for it. Years ago you gave your workplace infatuation a USB with Season 1/were a creepy old friend whilst invading cities. You know it's not reciprocal, but you live to bask in that sunshine when you leave the next episode on their desk/receive a dressing down for disobeying the 'Mother of Dragons'.
You are Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane if you don't care
"Just another downloaded torrent/dead man," you dispassionately grunt before clicking 'download'/splitting a man in two. You have an unlimited data plan/giant sword and fully intend to use it whilst giving zero craps.
You are Ned Stark if you get burned for doing the right thing
Your Foxtel bill is always paid and everyone respects you for it. But then in 2013 you went on holidays, missed episode nine, and then everyone was talking something about a 'Red Wedding'. You finally crumble and decide to pirate a film. You're a big Matthew McConaughey fan and download 'The Dallas Buyers Club'. Classic Ned Stark.