I think we can all agree that un-wanted spoilers are no fun. We probably all have different levels of Spoiler Tolerance, and that no doubt changes based on what we’re reading. A spoiler for a one-shot romance novel is probably not so bad as the above spoiler for Harry Potter.
The point is, some people like spoilers and some people don’t, so it’s always best to error on the side of caution just in case.
…and then there’s me.
In my last post, I talked about how easy it is for me to get, shall we say, overly involved with my stories, to the point where I can have physical reactions to them. In some cases, it’s wonderful. I’m able to truly immerse myself in these beautiful worlds and experience them to the fullest. But when things get too tense, violent or simply death happy, I start to have problems. To combat this, if I think there’s a chance that I’ll have a more out-of-control reaction than I’d like, I’ll go ahead and “spoil” myself. This usually consists of going on Wikipedia to read the book summary, or asking someone who has already read the book to tell me about it. This way, I go into it with my eyes open, and I don’t have to worry about having a horrid headache after my favorite character takes a bullet to the brain.
The thing is, this process has become so common-place for me over the years that I don’t actually consider it to be spoiling me.
Yes, technically I know what’s coming, and that does take some of the surprise out of it. But suppose I knew what was going to happen when I picked up Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Other than being elated that one of my least-favorite characters got what was coming to him, I truly wouldn’t feel fully spoiled. Simply knowing the action occurs doesn’t tell me much. When does it happen? Why? How? What’s the scene, the motivation, the story leading up to it?
We’ve all heard that old cliche that the journey matters more than the destination. I think the same thing is true here. My knowing that certain people get hurt or kidnapped or killed doesn’t lessen my enjoyment out of the book, because those facts are just the finish line. The devil is really in the details. For a fully concrete example, I have yet to read Game of Thrones *gasp shock!* and I am aware of The Event toward the end, and that doesn’t bother me one bit! I have only the vaguest idea of when and how it happens, and I know nothing of why or what motivated it. That’s enough for me!
But I know this is a weird view. Even my husband, who understands probably better than anyone why I do this and even helps me when it comes to books he’s read, doesn’t see how I can still consider myself unspoiled. And it does make it harder for me to discuss books and movies and television with others, because I need to be extra careful. Information that I wouldn’t even remotely consider spoiler-worthy could send other people into spasms of fangirl agony, and no one wants that!
I know it sounds weird, but this is how I roll! And while I certainly don’t skip ahead in all my books, this process does allow me to read things I probably wouldn’t be comfortable in trying otherwise, and for me, that’s all that matters.