With the advent of the Internet and the ability to find the answer to every question you did or didn’t want to know with the click of a button, I thought I’d look at whether or not spoilers enhance the reading/watching experience or take something away from it. Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, and Prometheus spoilers after the jump.
The first time I can actually remember being spoiled was in sixth grade. I had just sat down to start reading Lord of the Flies when my older brother walked in. He yelled, “Have you gotten the part where Piggy dies?” Well, since I was on page four, I had not gotten to that part yet. I had, however, already developed a hatred for the annoying character Piggy, so knowing that he was going to die actually made the book more enjoyable. I just couldn’t wait for Piggy to die. I know that’s more than a little gruesome on my part, but it made my reading experience more enjoyable, which in the end is the only thing that matters.
However, I’m not usually the type of person who enjoys being spoiled. Rather, I enjoy being surprised by the events that take place in a story. For example, what if you had known Snape was truly a good guy before the end of the Deathly Hallows? Sure, there were people who had undying faith in the slimy potions professor, but the mystery behind Snape was such a huge plot point that if you had known Snape’s backstory from day one, it would not have been nearly as entertaining.
I think trigger warnings, while a form of spoilers, are not entirely the same thing, because trigger warnings prepare you for content you might otherwise not want to read/watch. Prometheus, for example, needed all of the trigger warnings in the world and it did not have them. I was not prepared to watch that movie and I probably would not have watched it at all if I had known there was going to be an alien C-section/attempted abortion on screen. Trigger warnings are warnings for a reason, and while they tell you what happens in a generic way, they don’t spoil the story.
So in the end, I think liking versus hating spoilers is personal taste. However, always warn before you spoil.