Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spoiler Alert

Is there a statute of limitations on spoilers?  After a certain amount of time, is it okay to openly discuss endings of popular tv shows, books, movies?  Am I allowed to announce "Bruce Willis was dead the whole time?"  (If you don't know what that refers to, I won't say, since it would obviously spoil it.  Whatever it is.)

I'm thinking right now about Harry Potter.  I decided to reread the 7th book (okay, relisten, actually) for my class next semester.  We could pick any HP book, and the Deathly Hallows is the only one I've only read once.  I knew how it ended, knew who died and who lived, so I wasn't in for any surprises.  The surprise ended up being just how emotional I got about a book I've read before.  I was listening while grocery shopping on Friday and Dobby died just as I got to the dairy aisle.  There I was, tossing Yoplait into my cart, with tears dripping down my face.  I tried to be surreptitious about it, holding back the full-on sobs and dabbing at my eyes and nose, trying to prevent the mascara streaks that are a dead giveaway of public crying.  I'm evaluating the price of pork chops while Harry is digging Dobby's grave with his own hands - it was all I could do not to just head to the checkout.  What's the point of living, if Dobby's dead?  But no, Harry was tougher than that and I could be, too.  I did throw in a bag of Donettes, to ease the pain a little.

My first instinct when I got home was to share my pain, or at least, the spectacle I made of myself.  I mean, who cries in the grocery store?  That's funny, right?  (Actually, this wouldn't be my first grocery store crying incident - I also cried in Wal-Mart while waiting for an anti-nausea prescription to be filled.  Ah, pregnancy.  Please let me do THAT again.)  So I tried to phrase the scene for Facebook:

Emily Mudgett Simmons broke down in the dairy aisle today, listening to Harry Potter.  Not Dobby!  Take me instead!

And then I realized that I couldn't post that without a spoiler alert, which would, of course, ruin the flow and pacing of my carefully crafted status.  Then I thought, wait a second - who hasn't read the final Harry Potter book that actually intends to do so?  The only people that haven't read it either a) aren't readers, b) don't care for fantasy/YA books in general, or c) are one of those people that are avoiding reading HP because the books are "too popular" or have "too much hype."  I suppose there are people who were too young to have read this book when it came out three years ago, but I'm not friends with many nine-year-olds on Facebook.  Or people that have only recently moved here from another country and are learning English by reading great literature - those would be the only people for whom I'd feel bad about ruining the ending.  The people in a) and b) won't care if it's ruined.  And I almost WANT to ruin for the people in group c) because I take it personally when someone refuses to read one of my favorite books for what I consider to be a not very good reason.  (I don't know why this is, why HP turns me into a raving, judgmental lunatic.)  In the end, though, I am so conditioned against spoilers that I couldn't do it.  I had to let that status go.

So what do you think is the statute of limitations on spoilers?  Is it too soon to talk about Harry Potter?  And does anyone else cry in the grocery store?


Michaelbrent said...

As always, Em, you have a great way with words. I'm "liking" this.

Emily said...

Well, then, I'm "thanking" you. :)

Ryan said...

Best line from this post: "Dobby died just as I got to the dairy aisle". I'm picturing Dobby with you as you grocery shop, and droping to the ground as you round the corner into the dairy aisle!

Dad said...

To borrow some baseball analogy's... It looks like you've got your stuff back, got some real mustard on the ball or your heater is really workin'. In other words I liked it.

Dad said...

Or a Star War's analogy's:
Luke has found the force, or Princess Leaha's hair bun's are firmly in place (though truth be told I loved them when I first saw them), the evil emperor's voltage is at max!

Rachel said...

What?! Dobby dies?! ha ha
Really, if they haven't read it by now, they haven't read any of the books (because who would stop once they got into them?), and they have no idea who Dobby is and wouldn't remember his name anyway. I accidentally revealed the end of book six to someone before they read it - oops!(And this was weeks after the book came out - a little too soon!

I keep trying to convince Madeline that she should read them and she outright refuses. She likes all kinds of books - loved Percy Jackson, but is SURE she would be bored out of her mind reading about magic. Maybe I should tell her about Buckbeak and Fang - animals might entice her. And, I am kind of like you - it drives me crazy when people refuse to read them because they are popular, but that makes me a hypocrite because I was that way. I just jumped on the bandwagon at book 4 so I still got to anticipate the end for several years. And no matter what the people think who refuse to read them, I still think J.K. Rowling is a genius.

Kim said...

I was thinking about the question and you left one group out. Harry Potter just isn't for readers. Some people (I know one myself)have not read the books but have watched the movies. Sure they don't put the same amount of time into it but they still enjoy the story. I think the statute of limitations would be after the final movie is released.

That being said, back when I was a caseworker, I was going to work with a new family and sat crying in my car (making myself late mind you)after someone in one of the books died. So, in terms of HP books, I think you are 100% in the right, don't hide it be proud!

Luisa said...

I re-read this also (maybe last summer?) and was also amazed at how emotional I got. Of course I cried- but I'm a crier. I couldn't believe how anxious and involved I was considering I knew everything that was going to happen. I'm rubbing off on you! You'll cry at Darcey's kindergarten mother's day program with me!

Shaun said...

Best line: "Take me instead!" lol!