There are few worse feelings in our modern, always-online age than scrolling through your news feed on Facebook or Twitter and accidentally stumbling upon someone’s hot take on the latest episode of that show you’ve been watching before you’ve had the chance to watch it for yourself.
‘OMG, I can’t believe they killed *blank*’
Well, great. Show ruined.
It’s happened to me. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have HBO during the last season of Game of Thrones, a show which has exploded in popularity and is dominating office water-cooler conversations around the country.
I was scrolling through Twitter, as I often do, and I saw someone exclaim that they couldn’t believe a character’s actual backstory, a major plot point I won’t reveal here - just in case.
I was shocked, dumbfounded and, most of all, furious. I was trying so hard to avoid stumbling upon spoilers, but somebody decided to just put it out there for all to see.
I was waiting for the boxset to come out, how I’ve watched the previous seasons up to this point, but my grand plans of watching it without a clue about what would be revealed were dashed.
I had read all of the books at this point as well, but the show has now drifted well beyond that territory, so every little detail was potentially damaging to my experience.
The big reveal, something I speculated about and pondered for years, just barfed out in a tweet I read. Gee, thanks.
What’s so great and compelling about the show is the diverse and fascinating characters and how they all interact. Their origins and personal struggles are often the most compelling aspect of the whole thing, epic battles and dragons aside.
So having one of the show’s primary joys ruined really stung, especially after several seasons of buildup.
My wife and I caved and subscribed to Crave plus the HBO add-on for a whopping $20 a month (What cable cutting?), and one of the primary reasons was to watch each episode as they air, the night they come out.
Avoiding spoilers at all costs being one of our main motivations for signing up. A relatively high price to pay.
We were also extremely excited to get back into the show, this being its final season after a year-long hiatus.
But I’ve taken that experience of being spoiled and have endeavoured to make sure that I don’t follow in those footsteps.
I mean, I get it, you’ve just seen something really interesting, touching or shocking about your favourite show. It’s natural to reach for your phone and spew out your thoughts for all to see.
But – don’t. Because not everyone on your social media feed of choice has seen it, and even spilling a small clue, even saying one character is actually still around, is a potential spoiler.
Saying where someone is, or isn’t, can lead the reader down a rabbit hole. Or even just saying that you’re happy that so-and-so has made it this far proves to the person reading your post that they are indeed still alive – which, given the series’ penchant for killing off main characters, is a spoiler in and of itself.
Just don’t do it.
This general rule of thumb will especially apply for this week, and not just for Game of Thrones, the biggest show on TV right now, but also for the mega-hit Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, which has all been leading to the latest feature - Avengers: Endgame, which releases on April 26.
Fans of the Marvel series have been waiting for this big moment for over a decade, with more than 20 films leading up to a final confrontation with the big bad.
It's likely that some characters might not make it to the other side.
Again, my wife and I have gotten ahead of things and bought tickets with our friends for opening night. Avoiding spoilers, once again, is a major motivation for that.
Before you post a status update or a tweet about your thoughts, take a breath and think, how would you feel if you read that before seeing it yourself?