Is it ever OK to spoil a book, play, TV series, or film? There has been a lot of discussion online about this lately, with the release of Avengers Endgame, and the final series of Game of Thrones.
Firstly and most obviously, people who deliberately troll those who want to remain unspoiled are, as far as I’m concerned, utterly reprehensible. Malicious spoiling – whether online or in person – is essentially a form of bullying, and I despise bullies with a passion. What I find particularly disgusting are people who do this that haven’t even seen or read the material themselves, but simply discovered spoilers for the purpose of angering those that passionately care about remaining unspoiled. Over the past few days I’ve read plenty of idiotic statements from these people, saying things to the effect of “No-one cares. People take this way too seriously” or “It’s just a film, it’s no big deal if it’s spoiled”. Perhaps not to these people, but it is to others. It astonishes me that these un-self-aware cretins have no concept of consideration. They are as bad as people who use mobile phones in cinemas.
Other people spoil things without being malicious, but do so accidentally. This is slightly more forgivable, but I do wish such people would learn to think before speaking (or posting), or to simply preface what they are saying or writing with an appropriate spoiler warning. I recently read an enthusiastic review for one of my novels (I won’t say which one) that without issuing appropriate warnings, spoiled a significant part of the plot. Needless to say, I felt rather enraged at this. I am probably one of the most spoiler-phobic people on the face of the earth, but again I do wish people would show proper consideration.
There seems to be a consensus of opinion that spoilers are more socially acceptable once a certain amount of time has elapsed – when a film has completed its run in cinemas, for example. However, there will still be people who haven’t seen it so caution should always be exercised. In fact, when it comes to classic films, books, and so on, new generations are discovering them all the time. I think such people deserve the chance to come to these stories cold, without them being spoiled. With my own children, I did everything I could to preserve the big surprises and twists of major works, and for the most part succeeded (despite the odd malicious playground nitwit wanting to ruin things to get attention).
Personally, I’ve taken to internet and social media blackouts when something is due for release that I really want to remain unspoiled on. Consequently I massively enjoyed the likes of recent Star Wars or Avengers films knowing nothing whatsoever about their plots beforehand (I didn’t even watch the trailers).
In conclusion, it seems we are doomed to walk with idiots who take pleasure in ruining things for others, but God help anyone who crosses my path that ruins any of my stories for someone else. If I ever heard someone maliciously spoil the twist ending of The Birds Began to Sing for another reader, things would get very “Old Testament” very quickly…