Why we shouldn’t be afraid of spoilers

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We live in a society — one that is too afraid of getting spoiled for our favorite shows, movies and books. 

For the longest time, I thought getting spoiled was like being sucked into a tornado and getting dropped into shark-infested waters. When a Marvel movie came out, I avoided social media like the plague until I could experience the film in theaters. Even after watching it, I’d wait a week after the premiere to post any memes or content about it. This was my way of being considerate to others who wanted to watch it but hadn’t had the chance yet.

Generally, we associate spoilers with ruining our media consumption. Going into something blind puts you into the shoes of the characters, witnessing everything in real-time. Spoilers change that experience as you’re going to know a plot point ahead of time, which can take you out of a story.

However, I think that spoilers aren’t a big deal. It’s not the end of the world when you’re spoiled. In some cases, they can enhance the experience of consuming a show, film or book. This seems like a weird take because people put so much value on experiencing stories blindly. But it’ll give you advantages other viewers or readers don’t have.

For one, you’ll know something the characters don’t, creating dramatic irony and tension within the story. You can laugh at how oblivious a protagonist is for not realizing the murderer is their friend, or you can sit at the edge of your seat as it’s revealed that the hero and villain are related. It will also have you guessing when the spoiled event happens and how the characters are going to react to it. 

Another advantage is the ability to look for clues or foreshadowing to a spoiled plot point. Good writers will drop hints throughout the story so a twist or reveal doesn’t seem too arbitrary. People will wonder why a writer included this seemingly random thing, but you know the secret as you experience the story. You’ll be able to see how these clues culminate in an event and enjoy how writers or directors execute them. 

I’m not advocating for you to read the entire summary of a show on Wikipedia or to willingly seek out spoilers before reading a book. Instead, focus on not letting spoilers affect your life and media consumption. Stop being afraid of going on social media and tiptoeing around the internet. Use spoilers to your advantage to analyze media, and pretend that you’re keeping a secret from those characters.

Contact Nicholas Clark at [email protected].