We all have traumatic formative experiences as children. If you don’t mind me getting personal here, sharing my pain and showing my (metaphorical) scars, then…then I will.
(I can feel the love of all the Risky readers buoying me up, giving me courage to go on.)
When I was a kid, I… (Hard to say, for the misery, the shame.) I — I learned all the secrets of The Empire Strikes Back before I saw the movie. All of them.
I still haven’t recovered from that. (As you can see.)
It really hurt my enjoyment of the film, too, because I kept waiting for this to happen, and that to happen, and then for So-and-So to dramatically intone those terrible words (which I already knew)…
Around the same time, I found a copy of Diana Wynne Jones’s Charmed Life in a lovely little shop, on a lovely little day.
It had one of the prettiest covers I’d ever seen. It was paperback, so I could afford to buy it. And it was by one of my favorite authors!
I bought it. I loved it.
Tragically, this very pretty American paperback edition gave away a major secret on the back cover. This was a piece of information which was not known to the main characters until near the end of the book — but I didn’t realize they didn’t know it!
Ever since then, I’ve been spoiler-averse. I’m not on the extreme edge — I watch most previews in movie theaters, for example (though sometimes I close my eyes and ears and hum) — but if I know I’m going to read a book, I never read the blurb on the back…and when I’m watching television and a voice says “Next time, on Lost,” I turn it off, or hit the mute button and look away.
So…how about you?
Do you read the blurb on a book’s back-cover, or on the inner flap? Do you peek at the ending, to see if it ends happily?
Do you watch a TV show’s scenes from next time? Do you hide your eyes during movie previews?
Do you seek out spoilers online?
All answers welcome!
Cara King, author of MY LADY GAMESTER, which has a back cover that gives away some but not all of the plot
I think I’m in the middle. I don’t want to know the BIG secret (Luke, I am your father!), but I don’t want to get to page 300 of a book and discover that the only way the author could get out of the corner he’d written himself into was to have aliens arrive (yes, I’m bagging on one of the “biggies”).
Looooooooove spoilers. Live for them. The only two shows that I watch that aren’t in reruns are Smallville and Guiding Light and I visit the sites for spoilers all the time. 🙂 Doesn’t mean I enjoy it any less.
There’s only one time I sort of wish I didn’t peek only to see if I could have figured the tiny plot line ahead of the time — I did look at the end of the book for The Rose in Winter. The whole two guy thing, wasn’t sure I was going to like that. But when I saw that little plot point, I simply couldn’t wait to see how they got there. So it didn’t keep me from totally enjoying it, but I wonder if I could have figured it out at all without peeking. 🙂
I love spoilers – they’re all part of the joy of anticipation for me. Plus I’m a really impatient reader, so I can sometimes savor a book a bit more if I have some idea what to expect.
This doesn’t mean I like big plot twists given away, but I have a bad memory, so even when friends let important details slip, I’ve sometimes forgotten by the time I actually see the movie or whatever. I even reread some of the same mysteries every couple of years because I can’t remember who the murderer was!
But I never flip to the end of the book – I don’t like to read things out of context.
Poor traumatized Cara! Who was the person who TOLD you all of the spoilers for The Empire Strikes Back? (My bets are on a big brother)
I think there is a difference between spoiler and previews. I love previews! I love being tantalized with what is coming…but I don’t want to know the ending. I don’t want to know the big secret. I want the book or TV show or movie to tease me into wanting more.
I NEVER look ahead in a book. I never search for my Christmas presents either.
Who was the person who TOLD you all of the spoilers for The Empire Strikes Back? (My bets are on a big brother)
You know, I kind of think it was my big brother. 🙂 But I didn’t stop him. I was Young and Foolish.
All I can think of is The Crying Game, where there was such a HUGE campain for people to “not spoil the surprise” . . . so I see the movie. We get to the end. I’m still clueless as to what the big secret was supposed to be. I say so. My friend laughs and replies that the secret was that Dil was a man. My jaw drops. That was supposed to be a “secret”? LOL! Maybe if you didn’t grow up in San Francisco, but if you did . . . that was so a man, baby.
Okay, I give. Who had aliens arrive at the end of what book? Color me clueless.
Perhaps said author was inspired by the auntie arriving in an aeroplane at the end of Cold Comfort Farm. I’ve always been a bit disappointed with that one, but not scarred or anything. I have yet to see the film. It’s on my daughter’s Netflix queue. I’m sure my son will join us as he’s a HUGE Kate Beckinsale fan.
Oh, and I resist spoilers. I do love to play “Guess the Plot.” My family hate for this.
No, to these:
1. Do you peek at the ending, to see if it ends happily?
2. Do you hide your eyes during movie previews?
3. Do you seek out spoilers online?
Point #1 is moot anyways for romance novels.
I answered “yes” to all your other questions. While I don’t want the story spoiled for me by reading all the plot and character details beforehand, I do want to ascertain whether the book or movie is going to worth my time and moolah. And there’s something to be said for building anticipation.
I’m like Kalen–in the middle. Although I was JUST talking about the “big secret” in Jane Eyre, and saying how I didn’t know what it was the first time I read it, which made the whole thing totally awesome.
I knew the secret in the Crying Game, too, Kalen–and I figured out the anagram in Angels and Insects long before the main hero-ish guy did because I do anagrams.
But that stuff doesn’t spoil the experience for me.
I also did not know the Jane Eyre secret the first time I read it, Megan! I was shocked–SHOCKED! Not shocked on the Crying Game, though. Admittedly, he was kind of a feminine looking man, but not THAT much. 🙂
My high school steady made a major tactical error. I asked him what happened to Spock in ST II. I had a feeling it wasn’t good. The BF told me he didn’t die. I came out of the theatre, went out to his car, and sobbed for 15 minutes. He doesn’t know it, but that was the official beginning of the end of our relationship. Yes, I’m familiar with foreshadowing, but I didn’t care. The point was… well, there you are.
Ever since then, I simply ask, “Does it end right?” (preferably happily-ever-after) Those who know me, know what the answer had better be if we go to see a movie or they give me a book to read. The only exception was Lord of the Rings, but I knew the ending all ready (having read it in jr high), so it wasn’t like I was surprised.
So, I don’t want to know everything, don’t need to know everything, but knowing doesn’t spoil the fun of watching it unfold in its entirety. But if it’s going to end “badly”, then I better be told so I don’t watch or read it!
I’m incorrigible when it comes to this. I end read books constantly (I peeked at the end of the Lymond Chronicles before I’d even start the series). I don’t like to know the solution to mysteries, but I will look to try to see if a couple gets together or certain characters come out all right without seeing who done it (this very often doesn’t work :-). I read spoilers for my favorite tv shows (which doesn’t stop me from playing Guess the Plot with a friend who also reads them; the spoilers just become integrated into the guessing game). I got up at something like 3:00 am to read the wildfeed summary of the season six finale of The X-Files. My mother, who I co-wrote with and who shared my taste in books and movies but never looked ahead, foudn all of this very strange
I think it is strange, too, Tracy!! (hee hee)
I guessed the “secret” in The Sixth Sense without even seeing the movie and not knowing very much about the story.
I’m not as spoiler-averse as Cara. In fact, when I was a kid I constantly read ahead to figure out if things were going to turn out OK. But now I try to restrain this impulse, in the vague belief that waiting until I’m meant to know something will make me a better person, or increase my enjoyment, or preserve the artistic goal, or something like that. Whatever.
Of course, I also think it makes me a better person to squeeze the toothpaste from the end of the tube, and to rotate through my wardrobe so all my clothes get worn out at the same rate. So maybe I’m just nuts.
I prefer to experience a book or movie without knowing much about it ahead of time. I’m open to all sorts of genres and settings so all I might want to know ahead of time is whether it is a light or dark story.
OTOH spoilers don’t ruin an experience for me. I’ll reread favorite books and watch favorite movies again and it’s the same with experiencing a story I’ve heard things about. There should always be more to savor than just a surprise plot twist.
There was a time when I would only read the last three pages of Harlequins. Because really, after you’ve read the front page and the back cover, it’s the only important part of the book- “I love you!” “I love you too!” “Let’s get married and live happily ever after!” “Okay!” I probably should add I was picking these up in the bathroom to read, because my mom read them in the tub in her “Me Time.” And books that didn’t fit that formula cheezed me off. (“The Masqueraders,” I’m talking to you). But then some of them were worth reading the whole book, like The Masqueraders.
I don’t like Spoilers. I was irritated when JK Rowling announced a character would die in her book, and when I learned Dumbledore would die. I wanted to find out in the book. I’ve been aggressively avoiding spoilers for the last book.
I’m not a fan of spoilers. One of my mother’s and my eternal conflicts is that she reads the last chapter of a book first and I would never commit such a travesty. 😉
I like teasers that give hints, but gosh darnit, I don’t want to know that Darthie is Luke’s dad until he utters those five little words. Little things, hints and such – no problem. Big plot twists or important pieces of knowledge – never.