I’ve been wanting to start this series of opinion pieces on different fandom/nerdy topics, but couldn’t think of a snazzy name for it. That’s a silly reason to not start a post series, so I’ll just write some and if I come up with a snazzy name rename and tag accordingly later.
If you’ve spent even a second on the internet, I’m sure you’ve seen the word “spoiler” around. More specifically, you’ve probably seen “No spoilers!” which to me, is even more annoying to see. After all, if you don’t want spoilers you can not read or look up stuff about the topic, instead of yelling at the entire interwebs about sharing spoilers. This got me thinking: What do I think about getting spoilers? Scratch that, I already know the answer: I don’t care about seeing spoilers. But that got me thinking: why don’t I care about seeing spoilers?
The short answer is, I don’t think seeing a spoiler detracts from enjoying a story. When you look at the story structure of an anime, a book, a game, they all are very straight forward. Every story has a beginning, middle, and end, and getting spoilers for say, the end of a story will never spoil the journey I experience with the characters. A spoiler doesn’t ruin getting to know a character, cheering for them, crying with them, all in all bonding with them. And, let’s be real: unless you read a Wikipedia article, you’ll never get every spoiler from a story. If you’re reading a Wikipedia article, or looking at say, tumblr to see if you’ll like the story, you probably weren’t fully invested in experiencing the story in the first place, because if you were, you’d just hop straight into experiencing the story. So when I see a spoiler like someone dying, or the final plot twist, or a betrayal, I’m not really concerned because even though you know that spoiler occurs, you don’t know how the other characters react to that death, or plot twist, or betrayal. You don’t know how anything will effect the story moving forward from that point on, because you only really know that one specific event in time that happened, unless for some reason you read the synopses of the entire story (which I do often).
Still, after reading an entire synopses, I decide to watch or read the story anyways. Why? Like I said, there’s a huge difference in just reading what is essentially a plot blurb, and watching 25 episodes, of ups and downs with characters, seeing the inner workings of the world you’re setting takes place in, the side characters that aren’t mentioned in the synopses because they aren’t relevant enough to the central plot to be mentioned. There’s a lot of depth to every story, and knowing spoilers really doesn’t detract from that depth of story for me. If it’s just a bad story however, I really could care less about knowing what happens. It may peek my interest enough to wiki the plot, but I really don’t want to sit through 20+ hours of force feeding myself a boring story, when I’m more or less slightly curious to see how the story unfolded. A good example for me of this recently, is The Red Queen novels by Victoria Aveyard. If you read my review of the first book, you’ll know I couldn’t stand the characters or premise. However, the third book of the series came out last month, and I’ve heard that some things I wanted from the first book happened in the third. I wasn’t willing to read the second book, or buy the third, and that’s where simply looking at spoilers and synopses came in handy. In the end, there seem to be good concepts, but not enough for me to brave revisiting that series again.
A better question for me I suppose, is when do I not like spoilers? Usually when I’ve already started reading a book series, or watching an anime/TV show, and am enjoying the ride. Because of the speed I consume media at when I start…consuming it, stopping and looking for spoilers just isn’t my style. If something is driving me crazy that won’t be revealed for a while (like will a certain romantic pairing end up together, because authors like to drag that sort of thing out) I’ll go look up a spoiler so I’m not driven crazy while reading or watching. Sometimes that backfires, because it’s easy to read a piece of spoiler material you don’t want to know, but for some things it’s easy for me to forget what I didn’t want to know. Other than wanting to know tiny tid bits like that, if I’ve started a story and only know the basics about it before starting it, I won’t look up anything about it because I’ll finish it in a few days anyways, so what’s the point of looking up spoilers. I’m doing this with the Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron, because I’m really enjoying the ride and it’s an easy, light hearted read to get through (most of the time, it’s starting to get a bit dark). Even if I find a spoiler with this method of media consumption, it doesn’t bother me that much because still, it’s all about the journey, and why the events leading up to the spoiler made the spoiler happen, and how it effects the characters and plot.
So that’s my basic policy on spoilers! TL;DR They don’t bother me at all, and some people need to chill out about seeing them, or not engage in social media about them until they’re done enjoying the story. What’s your policy on spoilers?