Ah, spoilers. That thing we all hate but sometimes secretly like. Something you could do without, but also can’t live without. We’re all guilty of spoilering someone, at some point in our lives. Even if it’s unintentional. If you love movies and/or books, there are so many (possible) spoilers in your life. Some, you must avoid at all costs. Others, you want to know so badly. It’s a crazy thing, those spoilers. Popculture fans around the world want to keep each other safe from them, but individually, we seek them out.
How long do you have to keep the secrets?
There’s no set rule on this. But, as time passes, more spoilers will surface one way or the other. It’s pretty much known universally that Darth Vader is Luke’s father, that there’s a head inside of the box in Se7en and that Bruce Willis is dead in The Sixth Sense. With films, things are pretty much considered a spoiler as long as the film in question is still in cinema’s. For instance, some people would probably kill me if I gave away substantial things for The Last Jedi here. But if I said that Han Solo dies in The Force Awakens, not much shit would be given at all. It’s a two year old movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, chances are, you never will.
With books though, things are different. For books that are adapted into films, see the above paragraph. There are hardly any secrets left about The Lord of the Rings (the One Ring is destroyed), The Hunger Games (Katniss picks Peeta) or Harry Potter (Snape and Dumbledore both die). Ofcourse, there are things that are different in the books, but the big plot is always the same. That’s why I like to read a book before the film comes out. Slighter risk of spoilers that way.
But, with un-adapted books, how long do you keep things spoilerfree? It’s hard to say. Pretty much forever? I mean, that’s why Goodreads has a spoilertag for reviews. Readers tend to hate it to get spoilered beforehand. For instance, I still don’t know how Catcher in the Rye ends (though I also don’t really care). There are far less book spoilers than film spoilers online, and in meme’s. Go readers for keeping things spoilerfree for your fellow booknerds!
How I personally handle spoilers
If there’s a film I want to see in the cinema, I avoid social media as much as I can. Certainly if it’s a highly anticipated film like Star Wars, since there will be plenty of secrets online. I managed to see The Last Jedi without being spoilered beforehand and I hope most people can achieve that. I went unspoilered into Captain America: Civil War except for one thing: I desperately wanted to know if my favorite character Bucky survived so I knew that he did before going into the theatre. But my rule is if I want to see a film in the cinema, I don’t want to be spoiled. The stupid exception to this was when I went to see The Sixth Sense. Ten minutes into the film I spoiled myself by figuring out Bruce Willis was dead.
If a film is out on DVD/Blu-Ray or is even older than that; it’s on me. I should have seen it sooner. Sometimes, I manage to go see a film unspoilered. Other times, not so much. And that’s OK. Because a film is about more than spoilers. It’s about the characters and the overall experience. There’s a reason we see so many films multiple times.
For television, it depends. My favorite shows, like American Gods, Game of Thrones, Modern Family and Legion, I want to see unspoiled. There are some shows I follow, where I don’t mind the occasional spoiler. I know what happened in the mid season finale of the latest Walking Dead, and I haven’t yet seen that episode. With Agents of SHIELD, I sometimes go on Twitter to see some screengrabs and gifs from the latest episode. This spoils some, but very little. If I don’t actively follow a series, I actually find spoilers online. On purpose. I like knowing what happens on some shows without having to see them.
For me, personally, spoilers for television shows are the least bad. I’m not saying spoil the crap out of everything, but it’s OK. I get it. Today’s television is tomorrow’s old news. We know Jon is a Targaryen.
And with books, it’s even different. If I know I will read a book in the not too distant future, I want no spoilers at all if possible. But, if I know I won’t read it anytime soon but am still interested in the plot, I actively seek out spoilers. I know, I’m crazy like that. And if I’m not quite sure about a book, some mild spoilers usually give me the final verdict about whether I will read it (in which case spoilers are banned again) or if I wil skip it (and will read the entire plot online).
Sometimes, I read a first book in a series but am not invested enough to read the rest of the series. This is also where spoilers come in hand. Though it’s hardly a spoiler if I won’t read it anyway, right?
People want to be spoilered
It’s true. Ofcourse, not everybody reads spoilers on purpose, but there are plenty that actually do. We Sassy people know this, because some of our most read articles contain very clear spoilers. For instance, a lot of people wanted to know who was the killer in One Of Us Is Lying. A lot of you wanted the inside scoop about the season 5 of Orange is the New Black. Or what’s good and what’s bad about King’s Cage. And who did it in 13 Minutes. And these articles were very clearly labelled with spoiler warnings.
Which brings me to a very important subject: ALWAYS, always, always, give out a spoilerwarning when on the internet. If I write an article or review on this site, I will always warn you. Sometimes in the title, like with this piece. Other times above a paragraph, if the rest of the article is spoiler-free. And if there is just a slight hint of a spoiler, I’ll give a shout-out in the sentence itself (something like ‘please don’t read any further since there are spoilers coming’). So please, be kind to your fellow geeks. Whether it’s a Facebook update, a Tweet, a Goodreads review or a long blog, let people make their own choices concerning spoilers.
And since so many of you (the numbers don’t lie) like spoilers, I might even create a new feature here. Something like Spoiler Sunday or the likes. With articles and reviews filled to the brim with spoilers. And if you want to read these blogs, that is totally up to you. Is there anything you’d like me to spoil for you?