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On Spoilers

weather: sunny
outside: 18.9°C
mood: bleh
If a book is well written and well crafted, knowing exactly what happens will not ruin a thing. Knowing exactly what happens and why, complete with timelines, Gantt charts and Venn diagrams does not take the brilliance away from it.


He dies.

It was him.

We still don't know.

If that's all there is to it, if its thunder can be stolen by a simple re-telling (within 100x100 pixels, even!!), then it couldn't have been very good to begin with.

If I can read reviews and descriptions with spoilers, ratings, plot synopses, Coles Notes, essays and analyses and yet still feel like I'm getting more from reading the original text, then it truly is an excellent book.

But for many books, like most movies, the best parts are in the teasers and the actual product doesn't offer you much more.

[Update - October 21, 2005]

YEAH. WHAT HE SAID.

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
ugly_boy
Jul. 20th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
I do agree that a truly excelleng book is still good if you know the end, but there are a lot of pretty good books, especially mysteries, that would be ruined, well, maybe not ruined, but not as fun to read knowing the end.
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bride
Jul. 20th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
Classics are told, read, retold and reread over and over again without loss of appeal.
ducks
Jul. 20th, 2005 09:30 pm (UTC)
You are exactly right. I was spoiled by an LJ icon and it didn't take away from the book at all. And I always find that a book is better the second time around.
bride
Jul. 20th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
With a good book, you discover new things you didn't notice every time you read it. =)
easter
Jul. 20th, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
I agree with you one hundred per cent. However, people have been so damn touchy about all of this that I wanted to avoid a flame war in weddingplans; seen it happen in three other comms this week.

As for me, I turned to the last page first. Heh.
bride
Jul. 20th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC)
You definitely did the right thing. That was just nutty. =P
(Deleted comment)
cat_irix
Jul. 21st, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
Well said, shiningmoon !

I also want to add that some books depend on the sense of mystery more than other books, for example, detective stories. I perceive detective/mystery stories as elaborately set-up puzzles, and always try to "solve" them before the author presents the solution - much more fun than solving math puzzles or crosswords ! While really good detective stories can be perfectly enjoyable on the second and subsequent readings (and it's fun to watch the author cleverly sneaking the clues !), the puzzle-solving experience is not possible if the solution is known in advance. (Of course some people don't consider detective stories as literature :)
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audrea
Jul. 21st, 2005 12:11 pm (UTC)
Very well said. Perhaps, the next time I'm rebuked by my hubby for reading the end of the story first- I can use this logic... :)
bride
Jul. 21st, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC)
Heh, the jury's split on this one, as you can see. How we like to enjoy the stories told to us, is a very personal thing =)
(Anonymous)
Jul. 22nd, 2005 03:15 am (UTC)
Technorati visiting...
Hi Bride, just dropped by investigating you claim. We think we have it fixed... sorry for the trouble.

Cheers,
Richard
bride
Jul. 22nd, 2005 03:27 am (UTC)
Re: Technorati visiting...
Thank you so much! That was kinda bizarre =D
ntang
Jul. 22nd, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
I don't actually agree with you - there's definitely something to be said for the enjoyment of discovering the secret, whatever it is, for yourself, the way the author intended it. There's definitely a thrill to suspense, even if it's not the scary sort.

However, having said that? HP fans are some of the whiniest bitches I've ever heard. Jesus Christ, it's a f'ing children's novel and frankly if it's anything like the first one, not a particularly great one. For this, out of everything, they freak out like their first born was killed in front of their eyes? Get some perspective, people, it is such a minor thing.
fazia
Jul. 24th, 2005 01:39 am (UTC)
I disagree. The experience of not knowing what happens and being carried along on an suspenseful roller coaster until the surprise is revealed is _entirely_ _different_ from knowing and still enjoying it. They are not the same experience.

True, you can still experience a sense of enjoyment in a familiar tale well-told over and over again, but you can NEVER experience what you would have experienced had you not known what would happen. That comes only once and never again. Spoilers steal away that you-experience-it-only-once chance. Watching the movie "The Sixth Sense" or "The Crying Game" after knowing the "secrets" are still enjoyable, but _different_ from the experience I had when I didn't know.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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