On What Constitutes Spoilers

Two years ago, in the weeks leading up to the release of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, it surprised me how many people I knew didn’t already know how the story ended. One friend was seriously pateeved that in describing my curiosity as to how the confrontation between Frodo and Gollum in the Cracks of Doom would be staged I had given away the manner in which the One Ring was destroyed.

Huh? The book had been available for fifty years. The animated film was nearly twenty-five years old. It’s not like The Return of the King film was a new story.

So, when I see something like this:

I don’t understand…are you saying there’s no message in Aslan sacrificing himself like Christ on the stone table for Edward?

Fuck, I can’t even type this shit without screaming allegory.

And the reply:

You think you could tear yourself away from your rant for two seconds to use some spoiler code? Huh? Do you?

‘Cause not everyone has read these books. I’m one of those people who plans to read it in the coming weeks before seeing the film.

There’s only one possible response–have you spent your whole life living in a fucking cave? The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has been out there for fifty years. There have been previous film adaptations–animated and not. The front page of the USA Today last week asked the question, Is Aslan Jesus? The principle idea animating the series isn’t exactly new.

There’s a statute of limitations on this stuff. Titanic? The boat sinks. King Kong? The big hairy ape dies. Soylent Green? People. Get over it, people. What passes for an education today, the things people just don’t know….

4 thoughts on “On What Constitutes Spoilers

  1. *raises hand* Actually, I’ve never read any of the Narnia books. For that matter, I never read LOTR either.

    That being said… I take full responsibility for my own failure to read these books in the first 38 years of my life, and have no expectation that the world at large will refrain from discussing them in my presence.

    And if I’m actually trolling SF/F sites that exist solely for the discussion of such topics? Even less expectation.

  2. Someone I know said in email that they had accidentally been spoilered for the end of the adaptation of Dickens’ Bleak House (currently running in serial form). I’m sorry, but the book is over 100 years old: if you cared that much, go read it!

    I thought the same about people trying to avoid Return of the King spoilers, and you should have seen my contempt for people buying the video of the Ely/Firth Pride & Prejudice as it was released before the last episode was broadcast and they “wanted to know how it would end”.

    That said, I still feel faintly bad if I accidentally reveal the identity of Rosebud in Citizen Kane.

  3. When talking about Babylon 5, JMS once let slip that the good guys would eventually be winning. Fans complained that this was a spoiler.

    Okay, everybody who thought I was going to have our heroes fight a war for two whole years or so, and then *lose it*…a major dramatic disappointment to say the least…raise your hands.

    He also drew similar comments from an episode that revealed, in detail, a character’s future, but not how he got there.

    What happens with the future… is what you see. Course, how they got there is the meat of the story.

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