Ding dong, the witch is dead, which old witch? SPOILERS!
So something happened in this week’s Game of Thrones that has everyone talking.
That could be said about pretty much every episode.
At this point, we need to ask ourselves, what exactly is a spoiler?
Wait, no we don’t. That’s because everybody knows what a spoiler is. It’s giving away a significant plot point to people who haven’t yet seen the show. Anyone who says, “What exactly is a spoiler?” and honestly means it, is an arrogant asshole who takes pleasure in making other people miserable. I’m standing firm on this, I really have very little respect for you if you deliberately ruin shows for others.
(By the way, this post contains spoilers for last Sunday’s Game of Thrones)
Once upon a time, spoilers didn’t really exist because you either watched a show when it aired, or you missed it entirely. There was no way to catch up later so you simply had to ask someone else what happened. ie. you had to ask for spoilers.
So with the internet, is it even possible to avoid spoilers? Yes, yes it is. I avoided spoilers to the Red Wedding for almost an entire year. When I finally did spoil the show for myself, it was my own fault for looking through Game of Thrones tumblrs. I should have known better.
The Purple Wedding, on the other hand, I found out about mere minutes after the episode finished airing just because I was responding to messages and it was right at the top of my feed. That made me angry. Really angry. Then, less than half an hour later, boom! Silicon Valley was spoiled too.
Everyone now knows to preface their social media conversations with “SPOILER ALERT” and mostly everyone does it. We’ve come to accept that it’s a simple common courtesy. You don’t shove people on your way to the bathroom, and you don’t post obvious spoilers that anyone can see IMMEDIATELY after the show finishes airing. Someone who had to pause to deal with a crying baby wouldn’t be able to finish watching before they knew what was going to happen. That’s not even fair.
Shut the hell up for a little bit.
Now here’s the thing: how do you have a live conversation about what you’re watching if you can’t spoil anything? Well, there’s a few options…
1.) You can NOT have the live conversation and just pay attention. I know tweeting about the show as you watch it is the new thing, and I do it too, so I’m not going to be harsh on you for doing this, but you could just be quiet for a little while and then talk about it afterward.
2.) You can use SPOILER ALERTS. That’s annoying though.
3.) You can keep your conversations private-er. If you’re on Twitter having a live conversation about Game of Thrones, chances are you’re not reeeeally paying attention to what other people are saying and just trying to come up with your own semi-clever drivel, or you’re watching the show anyways, so spoilers are happening in real time and it doesn’t really matter.
All of those options are fine choices.
But don’t go posting things in a public venue when others haven’t had a chance to watch the show.
Which brings me to my next topic.
What is the grace period for spoilers?
There must be one, after all, because we can’t hold back forever.
I’d say at least 24 hours before you start posting links and comments in a public venue. If you want to discuss something, that’s fine. I get it, I love talking about what happened after it happens, but there are so many more things to talk about than simple plot details. Talk about the craft, talk about the other moments in the story that made you happy/sad/angry/whatever. You don’t have to give away the big twist at the end.
But if people aren’t caught up within 24 hours, then they’re taking a risk on their own, and most of us understand that. Like I said, I avoided Red Wedding spoilers for almost an entire year. It’s possible.
Besides, after a week nobody will be talking about it anymore, so all one has to do is wait out a couple days and the Internet will return to being a relatively spoiler-free zone for last week’s episode.
But I have another point to raise.
Why do we hate spoilers anyway?
Why do we feel the need to avoid them so badly? Does it really take that much away from the experience to know what happens in the end? Are we so finale-driven that we can’t appreciate the middle acts? Have we somehow become so afraid of endings that we can no longer enjoy the ride?
I probably can’t count the number of movies I’ve watched where I already knew the ending. Did that ruin the experience for me? In some ways, yes, but in others, no. Yes, I knew what was going to happen and so the whole plot leading up to it felt a little more predictable, and the “twist” didn’t come as a surprise, but I still enjoyed the process of getting there, and I was able to enjoy the twist as a twist itself, even if the shock didn’t quite hit the same way.
I don’t know. Personally, I hate spoilers, and as I said, I have very little respect for people who post them unwarranted. You stand to gain precisely nothing from it other than pissing people off, making you by definition a troll.
At the same time, it’s not up to everyone else to avoid spoiling things for you. That’s your job. Stay away from spoiler-filled lands.
Heck, use it as a good opportunity to get off the Internet for a while. It will probably do you a world of good.
Or better yet, go read the book first and then laugh at all your friends when they tell you how they “didn’t see it coming!”
So Joffrey is dead. Oops, Spoilers…