The Terror of Spoilers

Connie and I came to Game of Thrones a little later than some other friends of ours. We were lent the box set of Season 1 from Hayley and over a few nights we blasted through it, being sceptical at first. I really struggled to follow the storylines in the first season, whereas Connie who had been the most sceptical off them all, had been able to follow the plots and many many many characters easily. I sat with the family tree that came inside the box pointing out who folk were and which house was which. It was a tricky thing to follow. The ending, a great twist which I won’t spoil, had an impact for us both that was surprising and shocking. Since then, Game of Thrones has delivered maybe six of those moments for Connie and I, non-book readers. For me, however, avoiding those spoilers was pretty difficult. I am invested in the series and the impact of spoilers dulls my enjoyment. I didn’t know of most of the twists, and that was thanks to my ability to avoid internet places where discussion takes place about the spoilers and having a keen eye for avoiding them on Twitter and such. 

Spoilers are a recent problem that has reached critical mass. With the advent of delayed-binge watching, like Connie and I and Game of Thrones, spoilers can be spoilers before you know they are. My family is heavily into Fargo on FX and Connie and I were avoided by my father and sister who wanted to talk at length about the series but didn’t want to do it in front of us to preserve the spoilers. We tried the first episode and didn’t enjoy it, which might be like the time I realised that I couldn’t enjoy Breaking Bad – I don’t watch good television because it’s good television, I watch it because I enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy Breaking Bad for loads of reasons. It is also why I begrudglingly enjoy tat like Vampire Diaries/Kisses and other silly populist shows that Connie watches but don’t get into “proper” TV, like Breaking Bad or Boardwalk Empire.

I am basically the opposite of my own self in television terms when you compare me to the person I am with music.

Motion pictures, however, are a very different thing indeed. I can avoid Game of Thrones well, because many people understand that there are folk out there who do not want to be spoiled and that TV isn’t the cultural thing that a film release is. Compare the coverage of an episode of even Game of Thrones compared to say the recent Star Wars movie. Star Wars is perennially known as the purveyor of The All-time Twist, with such an impact that it is like the ending of The Planet of the Apes, and is forever spoiled. With a new series of films with the shroud of unknown direction giving us back the fun and intrigue that we missed in the prequel series spoilers are vociferous online already, and friends already having bemoaned reading one or two tweets here and there that might spoil even the slightest thing.

And I am not being overly precious about something – I understand it’s just a film. But spoilers and reveals have been managed in such a way with The Force Awakens that it makes them actually mean something. Compare it’s trailers to that of the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, which not only spoils the “v” part of the title, but shows the moments a) Lex Luthor introduced Superman and Batman b) the moment Luthor makes Doomsday from c) General Zod’s body, d) Wonder Woman’s arrival and e) reveal to Batman and Superman and f) probably features scenes from the ending battle amongst other small reveals. Connie remarked afterwards in her usual succinct direct appraisal “Well, we don’t need to see that film anymore”. She’s right you know. Man of Steel was rubbish, and this doesn’t sell me any more on the future of DC’s connected film series.

Such as my fear with Spoilers over Star Wars each day I leave it not seen the more likely I am to be spoiled as more folk see it and more folk want to talk about it. I am going to have to see it sooner rather than later, maybe on my own, to preserve the movie experience I want, or completely detach from the internet, Twitter and other media, to avoid all the spoilers.

In fact, you might say that is what cinema is moving towards. The Force Awakens is a stand-apart film for it’s marketing style. It hasn’t shown anything like the amount of footage other films have done (one thing I saw was it has shown across all trailers and tv adverts 6 minutes of the movie compared to other films and their usual 12 to 13 minutes). The big thing is that not only is this a complete anomaly, Star Wars might be the only series that can afford such an approach, as it is Star Wars!