Ah, spoilers. The cardinal sin of fiction. Telling someone what will happen in the future. It ruins the story!
Or, does it? Shouldn’t the story matter more? If a story is predicated on twists, doesn’t that take away from the writers ability to an extent? If the story is well told, does it matter if you know what’s going to happen? Does it really detract from your enjoyment?
Put it another way, how often do you find yourself rereading your favorite book? Does it make any difference that you know what’s going to happen? The quality of writing, of story telling, should lift any problems with knowing the plot beats, right? An epic confrontation, an intimate moment: these are no less diminished because you know the outcome. In fact, that can enhance the moment.
The Charge of the Light Brigade is not something less because you know the ultimate outcome. That only empowers it.
I get this a lot. For personal context, my father hates spoilers related to anything he may read or watch, even if it’s been out for years. On the other hand, my mother loves spoilers. She can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen next or lacking context.
What it comes down to, I think, is context. Do you want to know everything, as a sheet of facts, or do you chose to experience it in the context the author intended? Then, you must ask yourself, is that context strong enough to contain this thought, this idea, to have it stand on it’s own. If it’s not, then the story is based on twists and turns, the shock value of many NY TIMES best sellers, like the Sigma Force works. And you know what I thought of that.
None of this is to say I gallivant around, spoiling things for everyone. I. Do. Not! But, I don’t mind spoiling things for my self, especially when I’m certain that the outcome can’t possibly be derailed. The Star Trek – the Fall series I’m reviewing presents a great notion for this. I know the outcome, sometimes accidental. Other times, I just need to know a fact I can’t wait for in the books or the books didn’t clarify. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wholeheartedly enjoy the books, because they are books used to entertain.
An, in fact, for the Song of Ice and Fire series, I’m avoiding spoilers. Part of that is just that my initial exposure came through the 4th book and my friends reactions to that, so I sort of already knew where point A was headed to begin with.
I guess my position is this: SPOILERS shouldn’t matter. They don’t change the writing, they don’t change the story. They shouldn’t adversely effect the plot. If any of this is true, then the writing is buckling on it’s own weaknesses. I can’t think of stories I’ve enjoyed where knowing what happens next has ruined it for me.
That might make me a pariah but at least it’s honest. Tell me what you think? Am I off the deep end? Why? Why not? Maybe you’ll find some slack to wrangle me back in. Till next time. Oh I love this attempt at conversation.