Spoilers!

The trick to this whole NaBloPoMo (or so I’m finding) is a little planning and mapping out of the things I want to talk about. Because then it comes clear there’s, at least somewhat, and order in which I should talk about them. Otherwise, I risk the dreaded: Spoiler!

Which is actually the point of this particular post, in that, I’ve actually never been adverse to spoilers. It was somewhere in the midst of the Harry Potter craze that it came clear to me why.

I loved the Harry Potter books when they first came out. Read 1-3 multiple times…and then I hit 4. Goblet of Fire, on its own, wasn’t that much of a showstopper. It was a somewhat enjoyable read, if longer than it needed to be. But then time passed and book 5 came along. And while I knew books 1-3 really well, I felt that, before reading book 5, I should go back and re-familiarize myself with Book 4.

Never happened.

Then Book 6 came out, which left me needing to read 4, 5, AND 6. Then Book 7. Suffice it to say, I stopped reading the books when (as evidence seems to suggest) J.K. Rowling’s editors did.

While I was still somewhat curious to know what happened, I wasn’t willing to slog through her overly long telling of it. So I turned to the Internet and actually actively sought out spoilers…at a time when most of Potter fans were avoiding them at all costs.

That’s when I found an article that (though I can’t find it now…Google-fu skills have failed me) still sticks with me today. It was about the spoiler fear in Harry Potter fandom, but also the concept of spoilers as a whole. Basically it boiled down to “If knowing the end can ‘spoil’ the book/movie/show, then the book/movie/show isn’t all that great to begin with, as the journey should matter more than the destination.”

And that’s what it was…in the early Harry Potter books, I was enjoying the journey. But once they become overly long and unedited, my enjoyment of the journey faded and I just wanted to know what happened.

“Are we there yet?”

Compare that to my recent experience with Doctor Who. I knew the fairly massive spoiler of the mid-season cliffhanger* but when I got there…and I clearly knew where we were going…I was still excited and as into the story as if it had been a total surprise. Knowing the spoiler spoiled nothing.

In fact, there’s been recent research showing that, in some cases, spoilers actually enhance one’s enjoyment of a tale.

I don’t always seek out a spoiler, but I’m also not actively avoiding them. And, of course, for the rest of my live, any time I think of them it will be in River Song’s sing-song voice: Spoilers!

*While I don’t mind spoilers, I fully acknowledge that others do…and I’m not quite sure of the statute of limitations on them so, as to not spoil anyone, I’m not going into details.

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4 thoughts on “Spoilers!

  1. For me, reading a book (or watching a movie/TV series) incorporates two profoundly different experiences: the journey of discovery on the first read, and the appreciation for the whole work and all its puzzle pieces, including the ending, that happens on the second read.

    Being spoiled definitely doesn’t ruin a book for me, but it does force me to skip that “discovery” phase. Sometimes I do really like those “WHAT!?!?!” moments, and I miss them. So while I’m not likely to throw a fit if I run into a spoiler, I definitely wouldn’t go looking for them, either!

    • I definitely don’t always seek them out, for just the reason you describe. There are just a few cases when I do…and then I also don’t actively avoid them, which I know some people are diligent about.

      With Harry Potter I started actively seeking them out because I realized that I was just done reading the books (which is a horrible realization for a bibliophile). Basically, I’d reached the point where I didn’t get enjoyment out of the discovery phase in reading the later books, because it was such a long slog. I know, I know, she has a HUGE fan base, but I sincerely feel they stopped editing her at a certain point (which is their right given the huge success of the books, but also leads to a book that’s been described to me as basically 600 pages of camping and 100 pages of plot). So for me, finding the spoilers on the internet was all the “discovery” I needed.

      With other things, I’m just not actively AVOIDING spoilers. Like with Doctor Who. I don’t have BBC America, so I know I’m not going to be able to see the episodes right when they come out. I could fanatically avoid anything online that might contain spoilers, but that would bar me from some of my favorite blogs/podcasts etc. So I just accept that yes, I might get “spoiled” on a plot point here or there, but there are still other great pieces to discover and the appreciation will never go away.

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