I finally got out to the movie theater today to see The Hunger Games. I found the book trilogy to be amazing and had been waiting patiently for the first movie in the franchise to come out. I was not disappointed.
My concern was, since the movie has been out for a couple of weeks, I have already been inundated with all of the movie hype in the media. I’ve seen write-ups and articles in almost every pop culture magazine, not to mention on many of the podcasts I listen to and blogs I read. I had been trying to stay away from all the coverage because I didn’t want to be spoiled. Obviously, I already know from reading the books what will happen, but I didn’t know how the events in the book, and what events, were going to be depicted and portrayed in the film.
Which made me wonder: Are spoilers good?
As a reader I feel that part of the reading process is discovering the plot and what happens to the characters along the way, as well as the anticipation of what is going to happen. When that is spoiled, this process is hindered. Wanting to know what happens next is what keeps me reading.
I do confess that sometimes I get impatient and I will read the end of a book just to see what happens to the characters, but I know this is my fault and I am responsible for reading the end and spoiling the conclusion for myself. On the other hand, there is nothing I hate more than when someone gives me an unsolicited spoiler. This often makes me feel cheated. I do recognize that if I spoil a book for myself it is different, perhaps because I chose to do the spoiling.
It is not that I am adverse to a spoiler, but that I am adverse to an unsolicited spoiler. Sometimes I do want the spoiler because, again, I get impatient and I want to know what happens. However, sometimes I want to be surprised. I want to take that journey that the characters are taking with them. I want to learn things as they learn them. I want to follow the clues and try to figure out the mystery myself and it is at those times when I hate to be spoiled.
I have found that when the story is spoiled, it creates an entire different reading experience. I don’t enjoy the story any less, but rather the spoiler creates a different enjoyment of the story. When I read without a spoiler, I read to find out what happened. When I read with a spoiler it is to find out why and how it happened. For instance, in the movie The Sixth Sense I had already heard about the ending by the time I watched the movie. Since I knew about the twist ending, I had an entire different movie watching experience than someone who didn’t know the reveal. The fact that I knew the spoiler didn’t make me enjoy the movie any less.
It is the same when I reread my favorite books. The fact that I know what happens in the book doesn’t make me enjoy the story any less than I did the first time I read it. It just creates a different reading experience and since I am not reading to discern the plot, I can focus on other parts of the story, such as secondary plots and other nuances that I may have missed the first time around.
Despite the fact that I generally do not like to be spoiled, I suppose spoilers can be good, depending on what you are looking for in your reading.