Re: Spoilers

1

Let's say there's a secret you don't care about, but you are tasked with the job of keeping it anyway. It's still something of an effort to remember that it's a secret, and not to blab it. This leads to resent, which leads to hate, which leads to the Dark Side, which leads to freeway-blogging spoilers.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
2

It's normal human showoffyness to enjoy knowing something that other people want to know but don't yet, and a satisfying way to prove that you're the one who knew it first is to be the person who breaks the news to them. I mean, it's a mean thing to do, but seems very understandable.

(I'm absolutely spoilerproof generally -- I can't think of a book where I gave a damn about how it came out in the sense that knowing would have made reading the book less interesting. But I recognize this makes me a weirdo.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
3

Where do the fake spoilers go?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
4

I'd have to read the book to spoil it, so I won't.

I in no way hate Harry Potter, but I'm astonished and baffled by the breadth and intensity of the series appeal. Madness of crowds.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
5

2: Total weirdo.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
6

It's one thing to slip up but I'm thinking more of the guy who YouTubed himself going to a bookstore at midnight, buying a copy, flipping through it in the parking lot until he found out who died, and then going back and screaming [Character] Dies!! to everyone still standing in line just to be a dick. Or the people who are inevitably going to put a spoiler in their Facebook status just to ruin it for people. With Star Wars, trolls put spoilers in their .sig on Slashdot so it was appended to every comment they made. That kind of stuff, which you know is going to happen.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
7

Some people are just dicks.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
8

Darth Vader is actually Luke's father. Haha.


Posted by: froz gobo | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
9

spoiler


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
10

ohmygod I have just realised that you lot are actually fans of harry potter books rather than just pretending to be for reasons of ironic cool. bubbye forever


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
11

that didn't work

real spoiler


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
12

Please, dsquared, the rest of us need you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
13

dsquared dies in book 8.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
14

I have never seen a movie or read a book that I thought was good that could have been spoiled by knowing what happens. I have even seen or read stuff that I thought had been spoiled, that I thought based on spoilers I would not like, and that I nevertheless enjoyed anyway when I got around to seeing or reading it. Clearly I'm insane.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
15

I recently re-watched the first 3 seasons of The Wire and thought it was a lot better knowing what happens later. I still haven't seen season 4.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
16

If it can be spoiled, it probably isn't worth bothering with in the first place. Holding the Olympics a half dozen or more time zones away is a real time saver, it turns out.


Posted by: rapoli | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
17

the guy who YouTubed himself going to a bookstore at midnight, buying a copy, flipping through it in the parking lot until he found out who died, and then going back and screaming [Character] Dies!! to everyone still standing in line

My God... the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure... If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 6:05 PM
horizontal rule
18

Well, I for one am glad to be rid of that Axiom-of-Choice-hating Welsh bastard. I am a little insulted to be called a Harry Potter fan, though.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
19

dsquared dies in comment 600000.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
20

14 and 16: you may be taking the word "spoil" a little too literally. Do you really see no value whatsoever to "surprise" in narrative? I find that if I've read/seen something once, unspoiled, I can retrieve that experience upon rereading/viewing, but if I've never had it all, I just get pissed off, wishing I had the surprised-me to re-experience.


Posted by: DonBoy | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
21

you may be taking the word "spoil" a little too literally

Not if it means:

I find that if I've read/seen something once, unspoiled, I can retrieve that experience upon rereading/viewing, but if I've never had it all, I just get pissed off, wishing I had the surprised-me to re-experience.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
22

Meant to add to 21:

I do see a value in surprise, but evidently not as high a value as others see; it's the pissed-off response to the lack thereof that I don't get.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
23

I should specify: I don't get pissed off at the whole work, necessarily, but am unhappy that I never experienced it "as the author intended it", so to speak.


Posted by: DonBoy | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
24

20: I'm not sure that contradicts the view I expressed. Sure, maybe I missed a minor moment of 'What ho,' but experience tells me that's all such surprises ever amount to, at best. Creeping hype fatigue, I guess.

23, on preview: I think that's not so much the author as the marketing department.


Posted by: rapoli | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
25

Rapoli, you're disregarding the whole concept of suspense and tension in storytelling.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 7:17 PM
horizontal rule
26

I don't want to have to hunt you down and cut you.

You're the second person I know to have made just this threat.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
27

The book I most regretted knowing the end of when I went into it was Clarissa. It was basically impossible to read the whole thing voluntarily without having some foreknowledge about its contours, but, man, the last two hundred or so pages was just grueling when I think it should have been rather suspenseful.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
28

I agree with the feeling in 20. I walked into a lounge where Shawshank Redemption was on (spoiler ahead) at the point where they discovered he had broken out of his cell, which was supposedly the most unthinkable thing ever and never hinted at the entire time. But any time I watch the whole movie, all I think is, "Oh, this is the movie where he breaks out later on."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
29

Madame Bovary poisons herself in the end and dies miserably.

Napoleon is defeated in War and Peace.

The Pequod is sunk by the White Whale.

Tess Darbeyfield is hanged by the neck until dead, as is Billy Budd.

There.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
30

(Er, I'd like to be all moderater-esque at Kidlit, but I haven't even written my first post for it yet. Probably on Dianna Wynne Jones, though)

I find that what I've enjoyed about the series is actually its series-ness, its openness, its lack of ending. In fact, I only really got into the books mid-way through once there was already this cultural sense of waiting about them, although I'd read them (my mother is a children's librarian) when they came out. The idea that Harry Potter and them are all sort of suspended in this state of potential, of adventure--that allows me to enjoy the books. I have the book reserved but I'm actually (and this surprises me) not sure that I want to read it.

It's not really that I don't want to know what happens (I've already looked at a couple of spoilers, because I wanted to be proved right about my predictions, and I was!) but that I don't want to internalize it with lots of detail.

When my father read me the Ring Trilogy (back when I was about eleven; strangely, he felt I was too young for Tolkien before that but read me David Copperfield, Oliver Twist and The Old Curiousity Shop) I asked him not to read me the last chapters, because I didn't want the sense of closure. I still skip those when I read the books now.

There are books whose endings I enjoy, but certain idealized types of Fantasy Adventure are enjoyable only as long as I can think of them as still going on.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
31

I really agree, about the feeling of openness, of possibility, that appeals to me in books.

With most novels I've really liked, about a month after I read it, I remember lots of details from the world, and moments of excitement or surprise in the plot, but not what happened at the end at the point the whole story was leading up to.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 8:10 PM
horizontal rule
32

Yes, for me it's particularly school stories, too. Once the characters are grown up and are like me, I have to think about them more seriously. When the characters of a Harry Potter-like, fairly lightweight book are children, it's easy to consciously and freely project my own nostalgia onto them. (A problematic pleasure). School stories really are fanfic in format; there's always a subtext of Mary-Sueism--even though I don't think to myself "Ooh, what would it be like to actually be at Hogwarts?" I find that my engagement with the books is sort of on that level. I take the setting with fannish, nostalgic seriousness.

That's one reason that I don't see the movies--I like the books when I can read them as representing nostalgia really for amid-century nostalgia itself for an earlier Britain, and I like it when I can read them with the kinds of concerns I would have had if I'd read them when actually a child. The movies are all ginned up with modern fashions and camp and irony, and once those come in I find that I can no longer ignore the problem politics and hence can no longer enjoy the books.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
33

i don't know if can remember a sader moment in early childhood than when my dad finished reading the Hobbit. It was OVER. Iwish i was a smart as littleFrowner.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
34

also why ending of angel>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>engind of buffy


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
35

29.----Emerson, the fourth of these revelations is what I'd call a mean spoiler.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
36

The Hobbit is a book I did not remember the ending of and read over and over. On the other hand, the end of the Hobbit ends in a similar situation to where it began, so you can read it over and over.

Example: Crime and Punishment. Errr...I remember so much about that...and I remember where Raskolnikov and Sonya wind up, because that was inevitable...but not how he finally got there. Let's see...no, I don't remember a single one of these events, except the suicide near the beginning.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
37

Frowner is a better person than me, though, and her DWJ post is sure to be awesome. One of the reasons I mentioned the site to you, LB, is in case you wanted a place to segregate spoilers. People should be aware that we're going to make a determined effort to keep spoilers off the front page but comments should be assumed to be spoiler-laden.

You know what I wish I could have experienced as a naive reader? Dracula.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 9:29 PM
horizontal rule
38

I vaguely recall an episode of The Daily Show a few years ago after the ending of Survivor had been leaked. Jon Stewart announced he was going to say the winners name so people should cover their ears, then showed the winner's name on the screen. Not that I mind ethics bending to the whim of comedy, but some of you might.


Posted by: Jimmy | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
39

I personally don't find that being "spoiled" affects my enjoyment of the book. I like surprises, but I also like knowing stuff as soon as possible, so it's more or less a wash. However, my wife won't tolerate me knowing things about HP in advance, so I must remain spoiler-sterile.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 10:35 PM
horizontal rule
40

you're disregarding the whole concept of suspense and tension in storytelling

Not at all. Just the opposite. The spoiler-susceptible story is, of course, more fun and exciting when it is still unspoiled. But I just find more and more that the big reveal is less and less what does it for me, especially in these overhyped, madness-of-crowds "events." Can't be arsed anymore and I find I'm none the poorer for it.

Now take a quiet little children's book like 'Comet in Moominland.' Yeah, it's fun wondering how it'll all be resolved, but it's more important that the characters don't know the outcome till it happens than the reader. The joy is in the journey and the characters. And a good story will have plenty of episodic suspense and tension on the way to the shocking conclusion anyway, else why bother?


Posted by: rapoli | Link to this comment | 07-20-07 10:57 PM
horizontal rule
41

Frowner said at 32: Once the characters are grown up and are like me, I have to think about them more seriously. When the characters of a Harry Potter-like, fairly lightweight book are children, it's easy to consciously and freely project my own nostalgia onto them.

You touch on, I think, what makes children's literature both enjoyable and challenging for me. The nostalgia is much of the enjoyment -- "Gosh, I remember when I was a bookish, socially awkward girl like Hermione in book 1..." The challenge is in resisting the urge to think that, because the characters are children, I can take them less seriously. I am quite sure I would have read HP very differently 10 years ago. But many a conversation with my little Hermione has rid me of any inkling that kids lack a serious, meaningful inner life.

The effort to really empathically imagine my way into the angst and struggles of growing up is, I find, a worthwhile challenge. I imagine it's also a big part of the challenge of writing stories about children -- it's not easy for an adult to write or read about children in a way that takes them seriously rather than reducing them to nostalgic caricatures.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-21-07 9:52 AM
horizontal rule