When Matthew Clayfield finally got a chance lớn watch Game of Thrones legally from his Vietnamese hotel room, he found it was suspiciously lacking in its usual violence và nudity. (Warning: this article contains season five sầu spoilers.)

This time last year, I wrote a short piece about the hoops through which expats on the South Atlantic island of Saint Helemãng cầu were forced lớn jump in order to lớn watch trò chơi of Thrones' fourth season. There, where cable television was all but unheard of và mạng download speeds dragged interminably, piracy seemed somehow less piratic than it did necessary, not only to lớn assuage the expats' fandom, but also their desire khổng lồ feel some connection to lớn trang chính và lớn the rest of the world.

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These hoops seemed not to lớn exist in Vietnam giới, where I found myself living on the eve of the fifth season's premiere. Here, in my hotel room of Ho Chi Minch City's Bùi Viện backpacker strip, HBO was readily available and had been advertising the series ad nauseam in the lead-up lớn its much-anticipated return.

For the first time, it rather seemed to lớn my fiancée và me that we would not only get khổng lồ avoid being thieves, but that we could avoid being thieves in real-time, too: the episode was scheduled lớn screen at the same time as it would in the US. That trò chơi of Thrones was to lớn be followed by new episodes of Silibé Valley & Veep had us all the more excited.

Watching Game of Thrones at the same time as it was actually airing proved to be a real pleasure, and not only because we were finally returning to lớn George R R Martin's Westeros. After years of stealing the show after the fact from the good people at HBO, we were finally doing the so-called right thing.

But there was something slightly off about the experience as well: the episode seemed shorter than it should have been, with slightly less violence and nudity than we'd come lớn expect. There was something off about the episodes of Silicon Valley and Veep, too, in that neither were quite as laden with curse words as they should have sầu been and usually are.

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I should have seen this coming. Every movie I'd ever watched on Vietnamese television had been sanitised considerably và, in some cases, even cut to lớn within an inch of its life. The kiss between Will Ferrell và Saphụ thân Baron Cohen at the conclusion of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - "Sir, you taste of America" - was excised by means of a rhythmically weird edit that saw two glare at each for a moment & then wave sầu at the crowd together as though nothing had happened. The self-consciously B-grade three-way in Wild Things was removed entirely.

Indeed, any time I thought the television was malfunctioning, because the footage was speeding up for some reason, or otherwise suddenly screening in slow-motion, it was almost invariably because violence, language or, most often, sex (particularly of the homosexual variety) was being cut from the proceedings. I met some girls who went khổng lồ see Fifty Shades of Grey at the cinema & complained about the fact that it seemed tame và rather short. According khổng lồ some long-time expats, the Three Stooges were banned here for decades - the originals rather than the Farrelly brothers' more recent pretenders - because their brvà of slapstiông chồng was considered too violent. ( censorship here also being what it is, I have sầu been unable confirm this.)

The contentious matter of trò chơi of Thrones' leaked episodes might have sầu complicated matters had the censorship issue not come up first. We would have sầu had to have weigh up what was more important: our desire to know what happened next or the counter-intuitive sầu thrill of not breaking the law for once in our small & pathetic television-viewing lives. (This latter thrill was heightened, the morning of the premiere, by the ritual we hoped might see us through the ensuing weeks: a quiông chồng jaunt out khổng lồ get Vietnamese coffee, in all its condensed-milky goodness, & croissants, France's greademo contribution to everyday life in the city, colonial-era architecture aside.) In the kết thúc, we chose khổng lồ steal the episodes after all, but only because those episodes were the full, unedited ones.

The country's censorship of the show became obvious a few weeks later, after we'd already watched the leaked episodes, when we stumbled across the third one on television. In Vietnam, Jon Snow's beheading of Janos Slynt had apparently suffered the same fate as Slynt's head: it had been, so khổng lồ speak, somewhat severed. While it was certainly hinted at - we saw Jon's sword begin its descent - it wasn't shown in its entirety. Did the episode suffer for this elision? Perhaps not. But it wasn't what the show-runners intended, and for a purist, at least, that's what mattered. What mattered even more was the indignity one felt at being infantilised by the country's censors, the sense that one was having one's moral compass calibrated on one's behalf. The determination lớn rid sex & death from the country's popular consciousness when both are everywhere visible everyday on the streets - sex in the form of the prostitutes & ladyboys who populate the backpacker district, & death in the form of the country's absurd road toll, the heads crushed beneath truck tyres, the children getting hit by unthinking motorcyclists - seemed in any case doomed lớn failure.

We ultimately found ourselves in the same situation we had found ourselves in a year earlier. If we weren't waiting a lifetime for an episode to lớn tải về in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, we nevertheless found ourselves waiting a month for HBO's schedule to lớn catch up with the leak. We were once again snookered by location and circumstance, not lớn mention, perhaps even more so, by our fandom, và what increasingly feels lượt thích the thievery that inevitably & always attends it.

Matthew Clayfield is a freelance foreign correspondent who recently covered the war against Islamic State from Iraqi Kurdistung.