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True Confessions of a Spoiler Addict

by Kim on May 17, 2013 · 10 comments

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This post originally appeared on Book Riot

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones (all the series), the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games, so reader beware if you care about spoilers. Spoiler alert: I don’t.

I’ve never been the kind of person that gets too uptight about spoilers. If I’ve had the opportunity to read or watch something — the book is past the publishing date, the show has already played on television — then I don’t feel like I have much of a right to complain if I come across a spoiler. There’s nothing that makes me roll my eyes more than seeing a chorus of “Stop talking about X because I haven’t seen it yet!” come up on social media; if you’re worried about being spoiled, it’s your job to avoid it, not the rest of the world’s job to protect you.

It’s possible that I’ve adopted this attitude, however, because the person in my life most likely to “spoil” me is, well, me. My name is Kim, and I’m addicted to spoilers.

Looking back, I think I’ve always had a predilection for spoilers. I remember gobbling up any and all news I could find out about each new Harry Potter book as the series progressed. After J.K. Rowling announced a major death in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I semi-actively sought out news until I confirmed Dumbledore’s death (but not the circumstances surrounding it) before the book was officially released.

But this spoiler problem has gotten progressively worse. When I was reading Game of Thrones for the first time, I couldn’t remember who was who; Theon Greyjoy, for whatever reason, stumped me every time he showed up in a chapter. When I came across a character that I knew I should know but couldn’t place, I’d grab my phone and hop on Wikipedia to get a reminder.

But I would also skim over information I wasn’t looking for, unintentionally (at first, anyway) revealing plot points that would show up two, three or four books later. I knew Robb Stark would die at the Red Wedding before I even knew who Edmure Tully was (sob!). I knew Joffrey was going to marry (or almost marry?) and then die (joy!). I knew that Dany would get her dragons (huzzah!). At this point, I know what happens to my favorite characters in all five books although I’ve only read two of them.

Spoiling myself is both liberating and frustrating. There’s no plot question I hate more than “Will they or won’t they?” I think love triangles are boring, so any time I can hop online and and find out that yep, Peeta and Katinss end up together, it makes me feel calm and, I think, helps me pay attention to the book more carefully because I’m not rushing to have a single question answered.

But spoiling myself also keeps me from being surprised. Spoiling myself is a direct result of being an impatient reader, a reader more interested in the destination than the journey. And while sometimes that’s ok — especially if the book is one where I don’t really care about either (coughTwilightcough) — there are other books that earn the destination because of the journey. I almost looked up a summary of The Round House because I wanted to know who raped Geraldine, but I held off, making the conclusion all the richer.

I’m not sure what I should do about this spoiler addiction (or if I should do anything at all). I’m working to fight it when I think it matters, but my curiosity to know the ending often overrides any sense of propriety I have about remaining and unspoiled reader.

Hi. My name is Kim, and I’m addicted to spoilers.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa May 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Every once in a while, I don’t want to be spoiled (usually if I’m reading a mystery where the detection itself is a big part of the story), but most of the time, I don’t mind if I get “spoiled”. It’s probably because the journey is the important part to me, and I don’t worry that much about the destination.

And sometimes I too deliberately look for spoilers, typically because I’m too worried about the outcome to enjoy myself. I did that when I was watching MI5/Spooks. So many people on that show died that I couldn’t take it. I was a much happier viewer once I looked up who was going to go and when. Another time is when I want to give up on something but still care a little bit about the ending. Sometimes looking up the ending causes me to persevere because I want to know how they got there, and sometimes it answers my one question and liberates me from a book or show that I’m really not enjoying.

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Kim May 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Those are all reasons I like spoilers too — worry, answering questions, and giving up. I spoiled the end of the second Twilight book because I was just SO ANNOYED with it. Once I knew what happened, I didn’t care enough to bother reading a book I was hating anyway.

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Laurie C May 18, 2013 at 8:11 am

I’m the exact opposite and avoid spoilers to an extreme, so I can’t even read your whole post because of not having seen GoT3 yet. My dad, on the other hand, loves to spill the beans on the endings of books and movies to anyone who will listen or doesn’t stop him in time. He insists that if the plot is the only thing that makes something worth reading/watching than it’s not that good anyway. Aaaaacccck!

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Kim May 20, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Oh my gosh! That would be horrible. I don’t try to spoil other people since I know people can care, but I just can’t quite bring myself to be outraged :)

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Sheila (Book Journey) May 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

That’s hilarious that you searched out who was going to die in the Potter books… LOL… crazy… but funny!

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Kim May 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I could not deal with not knowing who the “major death” was going to be. I was so curious. A Facebook “friend” posted something about it and that’s how I managed to scratch that itch before I read the book.

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Courtney May 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Funny! I always read the first and last paragraphs of a book when I start reading a book because I just want to know. Then reading becomes more about figuring out how they end up at that point. I think it is part of the ritual of getting acquainted to a new book. B thinks I’m crazy.

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Kim May 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I think that’s funny! I don’t normally read the last paragraphs as a habit since there are some books I don’t spoil, but if I’m in a book and a question is nagging at me, I go find the answer if I can :)

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Jenny May 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm

>>Spoiling myself is a direct result of being an impatient reader, a reader more interested in the destination than the journey.

So this is what I don’t understand! I spoil myself for the reason that I’m more interested in the journey than the destination. Or actually that is a bad metaphor for why I like spoilers. I like them because I like seeing how the puzzle fits together. I like knowing the “what” and gradually learning what the “why” is. I like seeing how the author builds up to his/her conclusion, and all the groundwork s/he lays for what’s to come. That’s part of what’s so fascinating to me about knowing the end.

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Kim May 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I definitely get what you mean. I think the distinction, for me, is that I don’t go out of my way to spoil myself for all books/movies/shows. I only do it when I have specific kinds of questions (will they/won’t they, usually) or when I don’t actually care that much about the story. It seemed like they were often situations when the journey isn’t important, I just sort of want to know what happens (either so I can decided whether to bother to keep reading or to alleviate some tickling question so I can actually enjoy the journey). I have a complicated relationship with spoilers, I think :)

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