Is it getting harder to avoid spoilers?

I’ve previously posted about having the plots of television shows and films being spoiled, and then in doing so may have spoiled every film both Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt have and ever will be in. Apologies again for that.

I think everyone that is bothered by spoilers now know to avoid social media if they know that they are going to miss a show, or won’t be able to see a film on its day of release. They’ll know too to not read reviews of either shows or films that they want to see. Now I know that last one does seem a little obvious, but reviews did not use to give a way entire plots. A lot of them now appear to serve as plot summaries. Now on the whole, they will tend to warn the reader not to read beyond a certain point. However, when that article is then displayed in the main body of the website it’s on, or on news readers*, they are more often that not formatted in a way that the highlight of the article that you can see has been the spoiler. Whilst writing this I have tried to find a review of Game Of Thrones from a year ago on The Guardian website that had really bugged me. – Now I will preface this by stating that I have only watched the first five episodes or so of GOT, but I do at some point want to watch it. So the chances of any of it being spoiled are very high, I know this, please don’t feel sorry for me. – But whilst I can easily find the review, I cannot find the way it was originally displayed on the site. Originally the snippet of the review, which I was trying to scroll past, strongly implied that a big character had died. And whilst it didn’t name anyone, was immediately above a photo of a character (the review currently shows the character forlorn and weary, where as my memory of it is of the same character on the ground with their eyes closed), which in turn was above The Guardians spoiler warning. Winner, they’re dead then. Even now, looking at the full article and the way it is now shown, it is hard not to take away from everything above the warning that that character is dead. Just in case you didn’t put two and two together they had an article a week or so later with the title; Game of Thrones algorithm finds ******************* should not have died. Incidentally, I’m not sure I agree with The Guardians reviews of GOT anyway, in that it is essentially a UK news website and yet they put the up the morning after the programmes HBO airing, which is the morning before it’s aired in the UK.

The Radio Times are also not very good with spoilers. At the time of writing I still haven’t seen a huge film from late last year as the highlight of something that I was trying to scroll past gave away a big reveal in the film. The snippet appeared to be falling over itself not to say something, again above a photo that then gave it way, again above the spoiler warning. This bummed me out so much, I then didn’t rush to the cinema to see it. John, this is why. About a week later, knowing what the spoiler was I went and read the article anyway… and it spoiled something else.

News websites in particular seem to take great glee in spoiling plots and revealing things that should come as a surprise. Years ago, I went to the cinema with some friends and one of them kept asking their partner throughout the film questions; “Who is that?” “What are they doing that for?” “What’s going to happen next?” Their partner, far, far, more patient than I would answer some questions but not others. They would however try and reassure them those questions would be answered by the film itself. “But I’d feel happier knowing now.” It’s maybe for these people that the spoilers exist. People who don’t like surprises… or suspense, or drama. I’m certain there must be more people that don’t like spoilers than do though, right?

Spoilers should be put aside somewhere on each website so that can’t accidentally be seen. I know sites have to do everything they can for SEO, to get people to visit in the first place, but they should be more careful. Ruiners. There are much more important things to be concerned about, granted, but if stories are meant to help you escape those things why spoil them?

*incidentally, just to clarify; I do mean articles displayed on news reader apps and RSS feeds, and not displayed on the likes of Krishnan Guru-Murthy.


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