Gut wrenching spoiler on Game of Thrones
Something truly horrid happened to me last week.
My editor, sitting across the desk, was looking over a story filed by a reporter seated next to me.
That in itself wasn't particularly soul-destroying.
It was when she glanced over at said reporter and clarified, "So, in the books Jaime Lannister wasn't there when Joffrey died?" that I stopped breathing for a moment, then fell in a crumpled heap on the floor.
I'm not up to season four yet.
I'm as hooked on the fight for the Iron Throne - and Jon Snow - as much as every other schmuck but I'm just old fashioned when it comes to watching TV series and having all episodes at my disposal prior to viewing.
It makes for a tremendous session with a jar of Nutella, and means I don't have to bear the weight of the previous episode's cliffhanger for a whole week.
But it goes without saying that trying to enjoy such a Game of Thrones DVD party without inadvertently finding out key plot points beforehand is difficult indeed.
I didn't get much sympathy from my editor, who proceeded to tell me I must be living under a rock.
Maybe, but at least my rock had been reliable.
When I went home I relayed this travesty to my partner, who said there was still enough in the series to shock me.
That's true, I suppose.
And at least it's Joffrey who dies. If Ned Stark has to cark it, Joff should definitely go.
"And it's not like you know who kills him and how it happens," he tells me.
"Wait," he adds later, "it's actually what your aunty described in that Facebook post a couple of weeks ago. You know, the one you didn't look at?"
Well, that's just great. Because maybe I did accidentally see it.
A repressed memory about poison and a goblet suddenly finds its context.
Oh, the treachery of those closest to me. Everyone's trying to screw me over.
I may as well be in bloody King's Landing.
HOW TO AVOID GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS
* Use Twitter's "mute" function:
The safest method is to stay off social media altogether until you've watched the show. But if you have to dabble, you can mute certain hashtags and mentions in Tweetdeck. You can also block the noisier accounts until you catch up.
* Exercise conversational etiquette:
You know, ask the person you're talking to how much of the show they've watched before you launch into your thoughts on episode four. Be sensitive, or you might send someone's world crashing down. If others have afforded you such a courtesy, do not ask any questions in the hope of eliciting tiny hints - most people aren't actors and cannot tell you yes or no with a face as straight as a donkey.
* Avoid the word "purple":
Obviously I don't know why. But I know it's important, and involves a wedding. Steer clear of this word in all online commentary. As soon as you see this word turn away to avoid any extraneous information entering your eyeballs. If you encounter it searching on Wikipedia (which you should not be doing), close tab immediately.
* Use a spoiler app:
Yes, there's an app for that. Spoiler Shield, kind of like Netflix's Spoiler Foiler, allows you to block mentions of 50 TV shows and sports from your social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter. It's based in Los Angeles though, so isn't yet much use when it comes to UK series.
* Go on an extended holiday:
The Tibetan plateau is a good bet for Game of Thrones avoidance. Internet access is thin and you can live the life of a pastoral nomad. Other possible destinations include Antarctica, American Samoa, Alaska or the Sahara Desert.