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What role should spoilers play in fan communities? Check out the poll results:

Spoilers are a controversial topic among fans, particularly when they’re as intense as fans of Game of Thrones. Last week, we asked you what role spoilers should play in the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire fandom, or in general. You had quite a lot to say on the subject, but first, let’s look at the poll results.

An overwhelming majority of voters believe spoilers are acceptable as long as fans wishing to avoid them can. A sensible approach. Reader I💜lemoncakes, who we assume is a Sansa fan, summed it up:

The only way to find spoilers is to purposely search for them on the Internet.

It’s simple, if you don’t want to know spoilers don’t look for them lol.

If you found them, chances are you were looking in the first place.

Monz agreed:

Ditto. So, so easy to avoid. It’s only during the actual screening season I find it difficult. For God’s sake people-use some simple self control and stop complaining! Certainly don’t agree that spoilers are shoved dowm my throat, that’s for sure.

Sansa Stark Official

But not everyone saw it that way. What about people who find out involuntarily though social media, where it’s harder to screen things? That can particularly a problem when the show is airing, as our own Sarah Weymes discussed:

Last year, I found out that ‘The Door’ had leaked early when I opened Twitter and saw spoilers all over my timeline and even tweeted to me several hours before the episode aired, so unfortunately they’re not always easy to avoid.

That’s rather a horror story. Griz, on the other hand, argues that “if you are on social media you should be aware of possible spoilers coming out of nowhere.” Tweeter beware?

It’s true that those who want to completely avoid spoilers should probably avoid social media while episodes are airing, as many fans tend to not worry about spoilers when posting instant reactions. Salty breaks the problem down further.

For fan-sites (like WiC) as long as an article or post is identified as having “spoilers” then I think that is all the fan-site should be required to do. Because if you’re a fan and you’re visiting a fan site, and the site provides fair warning about spoiler information, then at that point it is totally up to the fan to decide what to do next.

As for the production companies (like HBO), while I can understand their frustrations with spoiler information being leaked, I think it is up to them to determine how much time, effort, or money they want to spend in order to protect their work.

The only place I draw the line is on bootleg/pirated episodes because in many cases the bootleg/pirated material is just a way for someone to make money off of other people’s work, and that’s not right.

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NOT SPOILERS!

The next biggest block of voters agreed with WiC writer Dan that spoilers aren’t as important as how the show executes the plot. Take it away, lily-of-the-vale:

Spoilers never ruined anything for me on GOT. Knowing what happens doesn’t stop countless people from watching historical dramas like the recent Victoria or The Crown. For me its all about the execution.

Personally, I think spoilers can even build anticipation, as we wait to see whether the show can pull off the plot twists we’ve heard about. We aren’t often disappointed in the show’s execution.

Buffy had a particularly interesting take, pointing out that, back when the show hadn’t run out of books to adapt, vast swaths of the viewing audience already knew what was coming, and no one seemed to mind.

For GOT, just reading the books was spoilers…………so what is the difference now? Nothing really. I think HBO worries about it too much because of the ratings, normally networks think their ratings will go down if there are spoilers. I say: if the show is great u have nothing to worry about!

Moving on, roughly 14% of our readers believe, as I do, that spoilers can inspire interesting conversations. Large portions of the season 7 plot have apparently leaked online, leading to endless speculation on our part. It’s sort of like an appetizer before the main course. Those southwest chicken egg rolls don’t ruin your steak, and they’re pretty tasty.

Photo Credit: HBO

Surprisingly, only 8% of our readers were of the opinion that spoilers have no place in fan communities. Before the votes were tallied by our hard-working minions, I assumed it would be more evenly split. Sam succinctly articulated this stance.

Spoilers have no place here. They should be avoided all the time.

Here’s an interesting question: at what point do spoilers become plain plot details that can be discussed? A57se wonders about the statute of limitations on this stuff:

I chat with fellow football fans on a site and we talk about all sorts of things but one thing that I find very annoying is the idea that once a show is broadcast, you still can’t talk about it because some people are waiting for whenever to binge watch it and we can’t spoil them. I’ve respected this despite being ticked by it especially months after something has aired.

Our own David Harris has a rule for that:

I try to adhere to the 48 hour rule when dealing with popular tv shows. I’m in social media all the time and I get complaints when people don’t want to be spoiled and I accidentally say something about a show. My thing is, if you are trying not to be spoiled on a show, then stay from Twitter or FB for a couple of days. Not everyone agrees with me, but it’s what I do when I’m trying to avoid spoilers (which is rare) 😂

Razor’s rule: 48-hour plot moratorium after an episode airs.


 

One last comment, from DarkStark: is it possible that reactions to spoilers could change as the story goes on?

I have a love/hate relationship with spoilers. The books were spoilers for the first few seasons except where D&D made major changes. And I”ve read the leaks for S6 and 7. But for some reason I don’t want spoilers for S8 because it’s final. And in broad outline, that final outcome will theoretically apply to the books as well. I feel so invested in certain story lines and characters that at this stage I dread learning the final outcome until it happens. None of this would stop me from reading it after the show ends–the journey is everything. But as the ultimate DESTINATION looms into view I crave as much surprise and pleasure as can wrung from it.

However you feel about it, this topic likely won’t go away any time soon. For those wishing to find the spoilers, you may. For those wishing to avoid them, we wish good fortune in the wars to come.

16 Comments

  • I’m a little shocked there was a lot of people who said that spoilers don’t deminish the show.
    The red wedding wasnt nearly as good for me as it was to others as I read the books. If there were no books and I found out what was going to happen by a spoiler, I’d be super angry. And imagine if episode 9 was ruined completely by spoiler. That would have sucked for most of us. Even now I regret seeing the leaked script for season 7. If I knew it was true, I wouldn’t have read it. I’m not nearly as pumped for season 7 now. And yes, I did it to myself, lol. Damn myself!

    • Lol me too. I wish I could stay away from spoilers, but I am not that strong. But tbh, knowing the plot of s7 hasn’t made any difference IMO. For example, wall coming down was going to happen eventually.

  • I noticed only 358 votes on this topic, which means either people weren’t interested enough to vote, it’s the offseason, couldn’t decide, only voted once this time, or a combination. Isn’t the number usually 4 times that amount? There are usually a twenty to forty regular commenters on this site, maybe some of them changing names frequently. Now about 6 to 10 truly loyal ones are left. If season 7 is as insane as we are hearing, I bet those numbers will increase drastically around the end of June!

  • I was the first person to mention the Reddit leak on this site, I think it was mid October. The first person to comment asked me for a link, which I supplied.
    I wanted the reactions of intelligent people, because the possibility of it being tin foil was enormous. Maybe 60% of it was true. But something about it always seemed it really could be Dan and Daves fan fiction interpretation of an outline GRRM gave them years ago.
    Quite a few of the earliest comments were dismissive, so was the next Take the Black podcast addressing it.
    Now, 5 months later, I’m still thinking it was an early draft that has undergone many changes before it airs, but still hugely accurate.
    But please, no D+J or his real name.

    • Agreed on no D+J AND his real name.

      Regardless of what Jon’s real name turns out to be, I hope he keeps Jon Snow and refuses to take on the surnames of either of his parents. He has achieved amazing things as Jon Snow, and as Tyrion advised him when they first met, learned to wear his status as a bastard as armour. He doesn’t need a fancy name to be special. I think it would be a great way for him to change attitudes towards bastards in Westeros.

      • Totally agree, Sarah! Daenerys is the one who rightfully should wear and have pride in the Targaryan colors and motto, not Jon. Bastards need a unique, prideful saying all to themselves! (Something better than Brothers from Other Mothers, Sisters from Other Misters, or We Wonder and Wander).
        As a side note, my grammar and sentence structure in that comment above was lacking. I was married to an English teacher. WAS!

  • I didn’t read or participate because I thought the post had spoilers. I never read anything that says SPOILERS in the title.

  • Shakespeare supplied a possible motto, in the words of Edmund in King Lear:
    ‘Now, gods, stand up for bastards!’
    It’s part of quite a good soliloquy that Jon would likely find relatable.

  • Thanks for the shout out:)

    Lot’s of opinions on this issue for sure. I will add, the show spoilers do not bother me in any way. The books are cannon. There are things I have liked and haven’t liked on the TV show – since it’s not cannon, I try not to care to much (some stories just make me angry; like Sansa or the snakes and the warnings were appreciated), The story lines on TV may never happen and haven’t happened. Book spoilers…….I wouldn’t want those.

    Whatever the writers do on the TV show will not be as good as the books. With a couple exceptions: the Hound’s chicken and Tormund Giantsbane fun with Brienne of Tarth’s :)

  • If a great artist paints something extraordinary that you haven’t seen yet, but somebody tells you it’s of a windmill with a monkey on a flaming donkey running past it, you still get angry at him for spoiling it for you? It only slightly diminishes it for me, because I know the windmill, donkey, monkey, and horse will not end up like I pictured. I appreciate art more for the way it’s executed.

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