Would this spoil things?

I belong to an on-line group of biblioholics and over the years we've talked about many books. One book we read was Judas Child by Carol O'Connell, a very dark mystery/thriller. I didn't usually read those, but boy was I glad I did! Since then, O'Connell's Mallory series has been a particular favorite of mine (and we know what happened when the newest was released).

A couple of us are discussing the book on the site and one person left me a private message with a few queries. One pertained to Winter House, the book before this one, while the others were about this new adventure. I didn't know how much to say, because some people don't like spoilers. I did ask why she hadn't posted these questions on the main thread. Her response? "I didn't post this on the regular thread because I don't like spoilers and if someone else hadn't read about the proposal yet, who was I to ruin it?" (OOPS! - Spoiler for Winter House!)

Here's the thing. In my mind, if you're not keeping up with the series, don't read any discussion of a new book or of the author. If you don't know that Dumbledore died at the end of Harry Potter 6, stay away from discussions of Book 7. Simple as that. If we're both reading Book 7, come July, then tell me that you're only up to page 50 and not to spoil things. But to have me keep quiet about past books? Somehow, that's not quite the same.

Other thoughts?


camillofan said...

Yes, I agree that it should be the responsibility of each member of a conversation to keep him- or herself from being spoiled. IMO, don't join the discussion if you really, really don't want to know (or aren't willing to find out by accident).

That said, I've been on some discussion lists where people who were "spoiled" got pretty peeved, especially when the offending spoilers were for books or films that fell outside the official topic of conversation. On the one hand, I saw the point of the complaints: one doesn't go to a Dorothy Sayers board, for instance, expecting to learn the solution to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd; or to a LOTR discussion list prepared to read that Dumbledore dies in the sixth Harry Potter book. On the other hand, it is very tiresome to have to censor oneself all the time, or to know when to draw the line. Say I'm telling people what a cry-baby I am, perhaps in an incidental comment on a board that's not particularly about film: does admitting that I wept when Rhett left Scarlett "spoil" GWTW for those who haven't seen it? Should I care?

Sherri said...

I am happily spoiler proof. There is no particular joy -- or lack thereof -- in not knowing ahead of time how something works out or what the result of an event is. The FACT of a plot point doesn't really matter so much as how it meshes together FOR ME in MY reading experience. In fact, I really prefer to have books (and movies in particular) "spoiled" before I spend money on them, so I can make some kind of judgement call.

I guess I read for more than "what happens". And I am cruely and hardheadedly without sympathy for people who cry about being "spoiled". For pete's sake, if you want to censor your own experience because you only read for the smallest portion of the book (or see the movie only to know who dies in the end), avoid all discussion of books and movies! I may toss out a warning if I'm going to delve deeply into something during a discussion, but that's about the only carrot I'll toss. If you cannot stop yourself from reading, that's your lack of self control and no fault of mine.

I am also able to watch movies repeatedly and enjoy something new in them every time. Oh, and I read books more than once, too. If something is so shallow that it can't bear a second look, I usually don't enjoy it much the first time.