I came across this article in The Atlantic today. On a side note, you may have noticed that I post frequently from The Atlantic. Sorry. This is one of the only periodicals I frequent on a daily basis…and they just have great stuff. Expect to see more in the future.
Anyhow. I saw the article about how story spoilers don’t really spoil stories and laughed, and for my part I mostly agree. Confession time: I am one of those people who really doesn’t have a problem reading the end of the book first. It’s not that I just can’t wait, per se, to know what happens. For me (and here’s another confession) I just feel no obligation to finish…or start for that matter…a book that isn’t worth my time.
So, occasionally, I will skim through the book to get a feel for whether or not I’m going to want to invest in this particular story. Is the character I like still around in the end, or does she die? Are things going to be wrapped up somewhat satisfactorily? Are they finally going to kiss or what? These are the questions I might like to have answered before I read something. Then, once these burning questions are out of the way, I can sit back and enjoy the story (or put it back on the shelf as the case may be).
I admit there have been times when I have been disappointed at a spoiled ending. Due to the fact that I am always a little behind the viewing curve when it comes to TV, and thanks to the wonderful world of social media, I learned of Matthew Crawley’s death in Downton Abbey long before I ever started watching season three. And while I was momentarily disappointed at the spoiler, I don’t think knowing the end made watching the season any less enjoyable.
I won’t deny that there can be something pretty great about being surprised by a twist or turn, but at the same time, I can’t help but think that if the book/film/tv program is really any good it will be worth watching regardless of whether or not the final outcome is clear.
What do you think? Does a spoiler really spoil the story?