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Better Ghost 2016/06/24 08:45:46

Discussion of spoilers. (Contains, erm, spoilers.)
 
Rosebud is Charles Foster Kane’s sled. Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Norman Bates kills Marion Crane less than an hour through the film and his mother is his alternate personality. Tyler Durden is the narrator’s split personality. Bruce Willis’ character in The Sixth Sense was dead all along. Snape kills Dumbledore. Aerith dies. Soylent Green is people. The Planet of the Apes was Earth. Spike dies (or does he? It's deliberately left ambiguous).

All of these are well-known plot twists that by this point are so well known that they don’t really qualify as spoilers. People still watch the media they come from, and people still enjoy them. I used to absolutely hate being told what happened ahead of time, except under rare circumstances.

I’ve softened on that quite a bit. I don’t have HBO right now, as I’ve alluded to elsewhere, and I haven’t bothered pirating the new Game of Thrones episodes yet (I may end up getting HBO Now). I’ve read plot summaries instead. There was a time when I wouldn’t have even remotely considered doing this. These days, I don’t think I’d even remotely consider not reading plot summaries whilst not having an HBO subscription.

Every once in awhile I’ll get a spoiler that still pisses me off. I found out a rather crucial plot detail about The Malazan Book of the Fallen (a series I’m roughly 45% of the way through reading) long before I was supposed to know it. When I found it out, I was pissed, since it ruined a tremendous plot twist and completely changed my view of one of the central characters. (Only open this if you don’t care about Malazan spoilers, since this one’s a doozy.) I mean it. Namely that the Crippled God is the narrator of the whole series, wrote it to commemorate the efforts of the people who sacrificed their lives to free him (hence the title Malazan Book of the Fallen), and saves the world from a plot by the Forkrul Assail after being freed. Knowing this completely changes the reader’s perception of the character, and puts this character’s actions in a much different context. (Again, don’t open this unless you mean it.) Srsly. In particular, this alongside the rather horrifying torment to which the character has been subjected for hundreds of thousands of years turns the Crippled God from a completely irredeemable monster to a rather sympathetic anti-villain who, of course, eventually becomes more or less heroic.

And then I got over it, and decided I didn’t care that much about spoilers for the series and read more of them. I’ve done this again and again. I think I may actually do this more with really long series that are likely to take me a long time to finish. I don’t even know when I’ll have time to finish The Wheel of Time but I suspect I know at least 50% of the major plot events in the last three books (which I haven’t yet read).

Sometimes if a series gets too grim or depressing I’ll do this too. I never finished Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy because it got so unrelentingly bleak and around halfway through the last book I suspected I was never going to finish it, so I read a plot summary of the rest of the story. I can’t say it was a particularly bad move; I kind of wish I had done the same thing with Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy now (another fantasy series with an unremittingly bleak ending. I’ve heard the Tawny Man trilogy mitigates this somewhat, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet). I got incredibly depressed after reading that series (although the fact that I was in the midst of a relationship that was currently disintegrating can’t have helped, especially since part of the reason Farseer is depressing is because a large part of it deals with a disintegrating relationship, so that part hit particularly close to home).

I used to think knowing in advance what happens ruined the suspense. These days, I generally find that if something is worth watching, it’ll still be suspenseful even if you already know what happens. In part, seeing how it happens is often the most interesting factor of watching (or reading) it, and knowing what happens actually enables you to look for conceptual clues you would have missed if you’d gone in unspoiled. It means you’ll have a different reaction to the work, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be less powerful or less honest.

Anyway, I still think spoilers should be marked, but I’m not nearly as bothered by them as I once was. Does knowing what happens in advance diminish your enjoyment of a story, or do you not mind?

Fidel Castro 2016/07/09 10:45:43

Quote:

Ⓐaron wrote: (Post 1609091)
Sometimes if a series gets too grim or depressing I’ll do this too.

Same here.


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