I’ve been keeping up with plenty of movies and TV shows in the past few months, from the latest Star Wars to Captain America to Game of Thrones. For all of them there have been previews online, on TV and, at least for the movies, in other films. They’re designed to stimulate interest, highlighting the best points of the plot and tease people. Normally, they’re not going to give away anything major in the story or with characters. Thus, generally they are, as the saying goes, ‘spoiler free’. I normally don’t watch any of these previews or teasers. Not because I think they’ll spoil anything for me, but mostly because I don’t want to get too excited (or perhaps disappointed) in the show or movie.
It’s usually when reading reviews, talking to friends or going onto the internet that ‘spoilers’ pop up. Sometimes it could be as simple as a word or phrase that helps explain something, or as complicated as detailed explanation of the entire episode or film. I know many people who say they hate spoilers. Most of my friends will only talk about things they’ve seen with the other friends who have seen it, or the ones who have said they won’t see it. For example, I have no desire to see Batman Vs Superman, and don’t mind if they talk about the latest X-Men film even though I haven’t seen it. In general I don’t care about ‘spoilers’ ruining a show for me.
There’s actually a study from 2011 that says spoilers don’t actually ruin anything for people. Often times people will read the last page of a story just to see how it ends, for example. However, there have been other pieces about why spoilers are horrible, or that they can ruin the enjoyment of something.
So I was a little surprised when I saw the ‘Hold the Door’ posts from S6.E5 of Game of Thrones, ‘The Door’ and was somewhat annoyed. I didn’t get to see the episode the day it aired, yet saw references to it on social media the next day. Oblique references quite often, but references, and potential spoilers, all the same. Though I had an idea of what was going to happen in the episode, I still enjoyed it. I’m even enjoying the various ‘Hodor’-related products that have begun popping up since the episode aired. I’m especially fond of this meme that’s been floating around the internet.
I saw it before I even saw the episode and didn’t get the reference. Now I do and I find it quite funny. In a different sort of reaction, I’m glad that I don’t know exactly where GoT is going anymore since it’s gone beyond its source material, thereby allowing me to be surprised like everyone else. Besides, with the show is it even a spoiler anymore that a beloved character dies?
For me spoilers don’t ruin a show. For others, they potentially can. Psychologists have researched the idea. I would still prefer that people who want to post spoilers mention that is what they are going to do. It’s just polite.