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Spoilers actually enhance stories, says science.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Anders Ämting, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. '+windowtitle+'

    So apparently a psychological study has concluded that if you have a story's ending or plot twist spoiled to you before you read it, it is actually more likely to enhance the experience than ruin it. The same, however, does not hold true for being spoiled somewhere in the middle of the story.

    Thoughs on this?
  2. Meyer

    Meyer Minstrel

    I think it makes sense somewhat as the focus shifts from trying to figure out where the story is going to evaluating the method it uses in getting there. I read a plot summary for all the ASoIAF novels prior to reading them and that didn't hurt my enjoyment of them at all. I lean heavily towards the "journey is the most important part of the story" side though, so my opinion will probably be much different than those who focus on the resolution.
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I've always felt that way, actually, until I read ASOIAF. Knowing that certain things were going to happen ruined those moments for me. Big.

    But in general, what bugs me more is someone saying, "That movie was SO GOOD!" It makes me wait for the "so good" part, and be unable to enjoy it when it happens. "No, really, don't tell me it was so good. Just tell me what happened."
  4. Alexandra

    Alexandra Closed Account

    I've always mistrusted science.
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Soft sciences, anyway :)
  6. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

    I don't read chronologically anymore. I haven't for years - I tend to go through a book and read bits and pieces, sometimes the ending, sometimes close to it, usually the middle of it. If the book is worth my while, if the journey and outcome is worth it, I'll invest time in the book (or TV series).

    Perhaps I am too often disappointed by the end or the way the story has been handled, and have lost patience!

    On saying that, when my uncle in England started telling me what had happened in season 3 of Downton Abbey, I was a little upset :p He assumed I had seen it. I get TV series later than most people because I wait for the entire series or at least half to be available before I bother watching it. But sometimes I still go online and check out what happens to what characters.

    I'll also note that if the end disappoints me I probably won't bother reading it - unless I think the journey is completely worth the end result.
  7. Nihal

    Nihal Vala

    I agree and disagree. A small spoiler might really spark more interest, but not true spoilers, those simply ruin plot twists.

    What is a synopsis after all if not a "small" spoiler?
  8. MadMadys

    MadMadys Troubadour

    New title for a book: "The Bad Guy Dies and the Hero Gets the Girl".

    I'll make millions...
    Jess A likes this.
  9. He, I'd read it.

    I actually tend to deliberately spoil myself if I suspect a story might have an unhappy ending or if someone important dies. I know by experience that those things can really mar an otherwise good story for me, and knowing about it ahead of time lets me distance myself emotionally.
  10. Kit

    Kit Maester

    We had a discussion (and informal little poll) about this on another list, and I was very surprised to see how many people actually *liked* spoilers.
  11. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

    This. I dislike overly unpleasant surprises.
  12. soulless

    soulless Troubadour

    I dislike major "shock" spoilers, definitely dampen my enthusiasm for books/film/tv/etc one first reading/viewing, however I will enjoy something as much a second or third time even though I know what's coming as long as I wasn't overly spoiled the first time/
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Don't like them. I don't even read blurbs on the back of books.
  14. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

    Then how will you know what the book is about? Or whether you like it?
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I like all genres, if the book is well written, so that doesn't pose much of a problem. I flip through books, usually read part of the first chapter. If it captures my interest, I'll buy it. I'd rather find out what it is about as I'm reading it.
  16. teacup

    teacup Auror

    I agree with Steerpike.
    I can't even read the blurb of any ASOIAF books because then I know that such a person survives up until then.
  17. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    wow... I like spoilers. Haha. Sometimes I just consider the spoiler to see whether I even care enough to read/ watch. That being said, however, isn't straight across the board. I didn't read or listen to any reviews of The Hobbit before I saw it. I know, hard to do, right? But I did it. So I got to watch it with no preformed opinions in my head (except the cartoon and the book my dad read to me a long time ago).

    If however, it's something less important, like a novel that's a big commitment, I sometimes find myself getting bored in the first few chapters and flip to the end. Gives me something to look forward too before I lose interest entirely.

    Actually, there's something to be said about a spoiler. If it gets out that someone dies.. an important character, it might lessen the blow for sensitive people who would be upset about it. Something to think about ... maybe certain people read spoilers on purpose so they can be prepared and enjoy the book/ movie when they would otherwise dislike it because they felt betrayed a character died.
  18. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

    There are advantages to both. If I don't know how a book ends, I'm liable to tear through just to find out what happens and probably miss a lot. If I do know, I read to find out HOW it happens. I lose the shock factor but I can appreciate the subtlety. Mostly I prefer not to know, but with ASOIAF, I found it so traumatic I couldn't read it without knowing ahead of time the life expectancies of at least the major characters. Dance With Dragons was the first one I read totally blind.

    On the other hand, with TV and movies I usually prefer not to know. Sixth Sense, anyone? Or THAT moment in the Carrie movie? Unforgettable. And Lost was totally built around those WHOA! moments. Although even there, I found it was better to know about the deaths ahead of time. My daughter and I avoided spoilers like the plague, but if we found out about a death we always warned each other :)
  19. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

    I'm like Anders and Mindfire here.
    I very often tend to look at the ending of a book on purpose when I grow attached to a certain character or suspect a turn that dissatisfies me. To me, the ending of the book isn't the most importat part anyway, it usually fits one of the usual formulas anyway. How the characters are getting there and what's happening along the way is much more interesting. I often read and enjoy books I know much about beforehand.
    I know that there are people who feel completely differently and are really upset by spoilers though. It's a matter of taste really. I don't trust in this kind of study too much though.

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