In the wake of Avengers: Endgame and that huge Game of Thrones episode, everyone is up in arms about spoilers. But are they really such a big deal?
There are no spoilers in this piece. Come on, guys.
Don Rowe, staff writer
Let me start by saying I’m glad Endgame was spoiled for people. The Avengers are lame and anything that brings the ending closer to the current moment is objectively good. The ending of Game of Thrones? Also sure to be lame, you’re not missing much there [this is incorrect – ed.].
Second: if you want to avoid spoilers, the onus is mostly on you. It’s GOING to be on social media. People WILL tweet about it.
If you’re so precious about the content you consume, learn a bit of self control and stay off your phone. And maybe spare a thought for sports fans, who get results actively pinged to their pockets by click-hungry news agencies. Nobody push notified the results of the Battle for Winterfell, stop your crying.
Alex Casey, senior staff writer
Here’s a tip: If you watch Game of Thrones, I hate to say this but you really have to unfollow or at least mute Leslie fucking Jones on Twitter. Yesterday afternoon I was scrolling my Twitter feed with one eye open, only to stumble upon Leslie Jones literally uploading CLIPS FROM HER PHONE of EVERY MAJOR MOMENT as it happened in REAL TIME on AUTOPLAY. Sure, I was wrong to even be on Twitter, but that really does feel like twisting the dagger a little too hard for me. As for Endgame, well, I just thought it was really wild when they all kissed.
Also, in recent years I have encountered a unique spoiler fear like no other: watching a movie or TV show inspired by real world events and not knowing the outcome of said real world events. Like sure, I knew the Titanic sunk going into it, but I didn’t know if OJ would go to prison in American Crime Story. I didn’t know if Gypsy Rose would go to jail in The Act. I didn’t know if the Gorillas would ever get out the mist. The next frontier: spoiler alerting all of human history. Just saying.
Sam Brooks, culture editor
I don’t care about spoilers one bit! I’m the guy who will look up the plot summary for a horror film, and then not attend that horror film because absolutely goddamned not.
It’s not that I enjoy being spoiled, but knowing what’s coming up in a TV show, a movie, or even a game doesn’t destroy my enjoyment of it. It’s not where I get my joy from, but I totally respect and understand that’s where joy comes from for some people.
Sometimes, being spoiled actually enhances the experience. It lets me, as someone who wants to write all of those things above, see how a narrative is constructed. It also lets me as a fan appreciate that construction, and the brilliance that sometimes goes into it.
Take Jane the Virgin, for example. One part telenovela, one part heartfelt family comedy, one part family drama, and one part the best goddamned show on television. I’ve known almost all of the major plot twists because it’s taken me a few years to get around to it, and I generally read recaps alongside watching the show. Knowing what’s going to happen lets me appreciate the show more, love it better, know it a bit better. It doesn’t take away any of the appreciation I have for the amazing performances, the intelligent writing, and the way that the show tackles grief, class, race, gender and sexuality. All of that means I’m actually not angry at one of my coworkers, part of this groupthink, for accidentally revealing a significant season five plot point. It’s a very calming way to live!
In saying that, nobody has the right to ruin somebody else’s enjoyment of any piece of art or to dictate the terms of engagement for anybody else. If you intentionally spoil something for someone, whether it’s for joy, spite, or lack of care, you’re a dick.
But also, take responsibility of your own engagement! If you know that part of what makes you enjoy something is the surprise, the twist, and the narrative, then take steps to make sure you’re not spoiled. If you really don’t want to be spoiled, watch whatever it is as soon as you can and stay away from platforms or people that will spoil you.
Especially for something like Game of Thrones, if you go on Twitter where people have been tweeting reactions live in the moment for the near decade that show has been on, that’s on you. That’s like walking onto Eden Park during a rugby game and being upset that you got hit by the ball. It’s a rugby pitch! There are going to be balls flying!
Take responsibility for your engagement, don’t be a dick to others, and consider what makes you enjoy art and do what you can to maximize that!
Jihee Junn, staff writer
My motto for all things in life: expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed.
Spoilers suck because you’re already expecting – expecting someone to die, expecting someone to be eliminated, expecting something to be the best thing you see/read/experience all year. Spoilers suck the suspense out of thrillers, the mystery out of crimes, and the surprise out of unexpected plot twists and turns. You end up sitting there waiting for something to happen. Where’s the fun in that?
That said, the internet is the internet and you have to get used to it. If it happens, just swear a little, mutter under your breath, and then move on. It’s not the end of the world – there’s plenty more content in the sea.
But also, if you are posting spoilers, don’t be a cunt about it.
Alex Braae, staff writer
When people generally think of spoilers, it’s about live sport or movies about superheroes heroically destroying urban infrastructure. I don’t. I think of politics. Press conferences from parliament are now almost always live streamed, and this year there has been one huge reveal worth tuning in for.
Picture the scene. There had been months of speculation about the government’s capital gains tax plans. A press conference was called, and the moment of truth was finally here. Which way would they go? Streams of the conference were set up all over the office, everyone eager to hear it live. But the one I was looking at failed at the crucial moment. As Jacinda Ardern strode to the podium, it froze and buffered. Frantically, I refreshed, but it was in vain – I had already heard the gasps and laughter of people realising that the most unexpected outcome had happened. The rejection of the capital gains tax, which I had been so keen to watch unfold live, had been spoiled. It was a crushing experience.
So please, to everyone who thinks they should write about political events, or tweet about them, or even talk about them generally: Please be aware that not everyone was able to see it first time around and might be waiting for a convenient time to catch up. You might want to reveal how much you know about politics by talking or writing about it, but be mindful – you’re probably spoiling it for someone else if you do.
Leonie Hayden, Ātea editor
I’ve had every winner of Drag Race spoiled for me since I started watching. I don’t think there should be rules about what you can and can’t tweet about after the finale of your favourite show or movie franchise, but there does seem to be a certain type of fan that has to be the first to blab everything that happened. It’s a poor substitute for an online personality imo. Saying that, I love having a portfolio of Game of Thrones memes ready to go the second I finish watching, I can’t lie.
This almost took me out. Cannot lie. pic.twitter.com/MyhtT0PkcG
— alice carstock (@targaryin) April 16, 2019
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I’ve developed a special squint for if you have to be on social media during a high risk spoiler period (I find most of my online spoilers come in image form). Just unfocus your eyes (going cross-eyed is good) and scroll really fast as soon as you see something spoiler-shaped.
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