The Game of Thrones TV show is arguably the most culturally important and influential fantasy series of all time.  If you include streaming, DVR recordings and repeat showings, Game of Thrones averages a whopping 23 million viewers per episode.

Even if fantasy isn’t your cup of tea, Game of Thrones is worth a try.  The story does contain classic fantasy tropes, but the Game of Thrones world does not revolve around magic.  At its heart, Game of Thrones is a drama about people, politics, power and intrigue.

If you’re already a fan and you’ve been using torrents or streams to watch Game of Thrones episodes, here’s some good news: there is a better alternative available.  Read on to find out about a totally legal and free way to watch Game of Thrones online live, from anywhere in the world.



Unique and influential

After the success of Game of Thrones, a slew of copycat sword-and-sorcery fueled stories made their way to movie and TV screens.  But Game of Thrones’ imitators haven’t seen much success.  The huge flop that was 2017’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword proves that there is something special about Game of Thrones that isn’t easy to emulate.

Blood, guts, swords and magic (with a twist)

The decision to take a chance on an expensive, violent fantasy drama was considered to be a risky move back in 2011.  But HBO struck gold when they took a chance on Game of Thrones.

George R.R. Martin’s long, bleak story about a group of vicious and ambitious royal families turned out to be the perfect tale to stretch out into a long-running TV show series.  Major characters die off on a regular basis, which makes for excellent cliffhangers and unexpected plot twists and turns.  And the show’s award-winning visual effects provide yet another reason for the audience to keep their eyeballs glued to their screens.

Get 4 live, free Game of Thrones episodes

HBO is now offering a 30 day free trial of HBONow.  HBONow is similar to Netflix and other streaming sites, but with one key difference: it allows you to watch live TV show broadcasts.

Watch the season 7 premier live, for free

The HBONow trial period gives you a way to watch the Game of Thrones premier live as soon as it drops on July 16th.  After that, you’ll be able to watch 3 additional live episodes before you hit the paywall.

After your trial period is up, you’ll have to pay $14.99 per month if you want to continue on.  It’s a pricey monthly fee compared to Netflix, but it’s still a much better deal compared to a standard cable subscription bundle.

Game of Thrones season 7 schedule

All Game of Thrones episodes air on Sundays, at 9PM EST.

  • July 16th, Episode 1: “Dragonstone”
  • July 23rd, Episode 2: “Stormborn”
  • July 30th, Episode 3: “The Queen’s Justice”
  • August 6th, Episode 4
  • August 13th, Episode 5
  • August 20th, Episode 6
  • August 27th, Episode 7

How to “geo-hop” into HBONow from outside the USA

If you don’t know about the workaround described below and you try to sign up for a free trial of HBONow from a computer located outside the US, you’ll run into this annoying error message:

Fortunately, there’s an easy workaround available that allows anyone in the world to sign up with a free trial of HBONow.  All that you have to do to overcome HBO’s geo-block is to “geo-hop” into the United States via a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Virtual Private Networks in a nutshell

A VPN acts as a anonymity shield while you browse the web.  Normally, everything you do online is public.  Internet Service Providers and government authorities use server logs to monitor every web page you open and every file you download.  But if you use a VPN to surf the web, nobody can identify where you are located, who you are or what you do online.

Some VPNs even allow you to “geo-hop” your way into sites that are normally blocked due to licensing restrictions.  However, not all VPNs are willing to help geo-hoppers access blocked content.

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The best VPN for geo-hopping

After testing out several different VPN services, we’ve found that the best VPN service for geo-hopping is StrongVPN.   StrongVPN stands out because it has a feature designed specifically for geo-hopping that most other VPN services lack: obfuscation mode.  Without obfuscation mode on, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to geo-hop because the HBO website.

Step #1: Sign up with a “geo-hop friendly” VPN service

Click the image below to sign up for a 5 day free trial of StrongVPN.  After you register, you’ll receive your StrongVPN account info via email.

Step #2: Download and install the StrongVPN software

After you log in to the member’s section of the StrongVPN site, you’ll reach a screen that looks like the one depicted below.  Click the section labeled “StrongVPN Client” to jump to the software download page.

How to Watch American Netflix in the UK
A screenshot of StrongVPN’s member’s only area

After you pick the operating system that corresponds to the one you’re using, you’ll be able to download the StrongVPN installer to your desktop.  From there, just follow the wizard’s instructions to complete the installation process.

Step #3:  Open the StrongVPN client and login

The first time you open StrongVPN, you’ll need to type in (or copy-and-paste in) your login information and password.

Tip: If you opt to allow StrongVPN to save your credentials, the next time you open StrongVPN you’ll be able to login with a single mouse click.

StrongVPN
StrongVPN’s server selection menu

Step #4: Select any United States server from the server list

Once you’ve connected to a StrongVPN server, you should see an American flag appear in the left corner of the screen.  You should also see the VPN STATUS: CONNECTED message to the right of the flag.

How to watch american netflix in the UK STrongVPN
The American flag on the left indicates that you’re connected to an American VPN server

Step #5: Activate scramble mode

As mentioned above, StrongVPNs scramble mode adds an additional layer of anonymity when you surf the web.  With obfuscation mode on, you’ll seem like just another normal American website visitor when you land on the HBONow site.

Navigate to the “Advanced” and click the menu entitled “Scramble.”  Then, choose the “Obfuscate” option from the list.

StrongVPN scramble
Obfuscate mode is a special feature that makes it hard for websites to determine that you’re using a VPN

Step #6: Sign up for a free trial of HBONow

Now that you’re logged into an American StrongVPN server, you have an American IP address.  This will allow you access to all internet content only Americans are ordinarily able to get to, including the HBONow free trial signup page.

Bonus tip: Use StrongVPN to login to the American version of Netflix

Did you know that Netflix subscribers living outside the USA only have access to a small portion of the full Netflix catalog?  Complicated licensing restrictions have forced Netflix to block many of its international users from accessing many of its movies and shows.  If you already have a Netflix account, just login to StrongVPN following the steps listed above and then open up Netflix.  You’ll notice that you’ll be able to access a lot more content than you ordinarily would be able to view without StrongVPN.  Additionally, you can also use StrongVPN to access Hulu from outside the US borders.

Further reading:

Why you shouldn’t pirate Game of Thrones

Here are 3 compelling reasons to watch Game of Thrones via its official, authorized source instead of via torrents and streams.

Reason #1: You can tune in live

If you torrent or stream Game of Thrones, you’ll have to wait at least a few hours after the episode airs to get your fix.

You may not care about having to wait a bit to find out what has happened if you’re just a casual fan.  But if you want to be among the first to find out what goes on in the show, HBONow provides you with a good way of tuning in live that doesn’t involve purchasing a pricey cable subscription.

Reason #2: You’ll help support the show’s actors and creators

Many people torrent or stream because they believe that cable companies are greedy. Unreasonable prices have driven many consumers toward the torrent world.  However, if you sign up with HBO’s streaming service, you can cut cable companies out of the picture altogether.

If you opt to stay on with HBONow after your trial period is over, you’ll be giving your money directly to HBO and all the artists involved in the creation of Game of Thrones.

The Game of Thrones cast members at ComicCon 2012. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Reason #3: You’ll avoid malware exposure

In April of 2017, a group called the Shadow Brokers leaked a NSA hacking tool onto the web called EternalBlue.  The months following the leak have seen a big increase in EternalBlue related malware attacks.  “Ransomware” viruses that lock up your computer and try to force you to cough up a ransom fee are particularly dangerous.  And according to CNET, the global ransomware epidemic is just getting started.

Ransomware viruses often use advertisements on torrent sites to spread from computer to computer. Even though big torrent sites like The Pirate Bay rely on a team of moderators to keep their ads relatively clean, torrenting can still be a dangerous game no matter what site you use.

In 2016, security experts spotted a dangerous ad on The Pirate Bay that contained the Cerber ransomware virus.  Many people who clicked on the ad lost access to files on their computer.  Smaller torrent sites that don’t moderate their ads or content at all are even riskier.

Of course anti-virus software and security patch downloads can mitigate the risk of torrenting.  However, the best way to avoid malware infection is to get your content via official streaming services like HBONow and Netflix.

Reason #4: HBONow has an excellent catalog of content

There’s more to HBONow than Game of Thrones.  Generally, people think of heavy dramas like The Sopranos when they think about HBO TV shows.  However, HBO also has a ton of great comedy content to enjoy.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

In many ways, Curb Your Enthusiasm altered the comedy TV landscape just as much as Game of Thrones changed the way we think about fantasy television.  Shows like Broad City, Girls, Silicon Valley, Louie, The Office all owe a huge debt to Curb.  They are all part of the “cringe comedy” revolution that comedic genius Larry David pioneered with Seinfeld and then took to a whole new level with Curb Your Enthusiasm.

After a 6 year hiatus, Curb will be coming back to HBO on the 1st of October.

True Detective

True Detective is a crime drama series that stars a number of A-list movie actors including Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Collin Farrell and Vince Vaughn.  The first season received nearly universal praise from television critics, several of whom named it the best television drama of the year in 2014.  HBO still hasn’t announced the third season of True Detective officially.  However, Oscar award winning actor and Wu-Tang mastermind Mahershala Ali (aka RZA) will be starring in a lead role.

Stand-up galore

Before Netflix became the leading producer of comedy specials, HBO was the stand-up king.  Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, dozens of legendary comedians used their HBO stand-up specials to break through the noise and get noticed.  Stand-up specials available through HBONow include classic shows from Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, Ellen DeGeneres, Louie C.K., David Cross and more.

Summary

The Game of Thrones season 7 premier comes out on July 16th and if you sign up for a trial of HBONow, you can watch it live for free.  And if you enjoy Game of Thrones, you should support its creators and remain an HBONow subscriber.