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Caution: Spoilers!

Darragh O’Connor writes an article on spoilers – but that’s absolutely all we’re telling you..

Is there anything more ridiculous? A few weeks ago, healing I accidentally ‘spoiled’ the ending of Breaking Bad as I tried to engage a discussion about the laziness of the final episode. This produced a difficult series of reactions from people. A few claimed that they could “no longer watch the show as I had ruined it for them.” This puzzled me. Can you really not watch a show if you know what will happen? I believe that you can and, viagra in fact, it can actually help you enjoy it more.

Calm down and let me explain: Have you ever gone to see a Batman film? Did you like the Titanic film? If the answer is yes, well then you can still watch a film/TV show etc while knowing what will happen. The answer is very simple; if you know what will happen you watch the show in a new light and without the distraction of the plot. The focus is moved towards something more important, the overall journey that the narrative takes: the sets, characters, story arc etc. These are things that you’d notice upon a second or third viewing.

The critical eye is sharpened when it is ‘spoiled.’  I read a detailed recap of the Dark Knight Rises prior to viewing it and I was able to understand the deep and gawping flaws of that film almost as it was happening. Rather than being distracted by the reveal of Talia al Ghul’s machinations; I could stew on the fact that Bruce Wayne stops being Batman! Now there is something to be annoyed about.

The plot is important but it is the vehicle to the overall experience of the tale. Comics are the best example of this. You enter the world of any superhero knowing the basics. Heck, you will probably know what will happen and who the villains are and that the hero will win. That is not the point, it will be very boring if it was. To allow you to overcome falling into these traps, comics may even tell you the end of the story in the title: Death of Gwen Stacy, Death of Captain America, Birth of Venom etc.
Comics also understand that you know how they work and create an experience and play off the ground rules of storytelling as laid down by Joseph Campbell in the 1940’s. Toying with or omitting from this structure while arriving at the end point of the hero winning is the fun. I know that Spider-Man will beat Dr. Ock but how did he do it? What did the fight look like? And how did it make him feel and develop him as a character? A spoiler does nothing to ruin any of this for me.

Campbell outlined that almost every story will follow the same story, in one way or another, so stop thinking the point of a film, TV show or a game is to be surprised by the ending. You will miss the point and allow writers to be lazy with their work. TV series’ will always end with a death, a marriage, a baby, a combination of the three, or a set for a spin-off. Films will always play it safe and reality TV will never end. These media are a vehicle to share something with you, the point is the journey not the end. We know the Odysseus gets home but the point of Odyssey is his journey.
Before you consider something ‘spoiled,’ watch it anyway and see if it did anything for the character, the show/game or if it was even well written. The ends may justify the means, but you still need to know what those means actually are.

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