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No spoilers, ever, please

November 3, 2012

I know exactly when it was that I decided to give up spoilers. It was about a year before I actually gave them up, I guess. It was the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and some of the things that had sounded utterly ridiculous had come to pass. “Oh, that’s it,” I said. “This is messing with my ability to enjoy what’s going on.” And a year passed, during which spoilers were my temptress. I was weak. I gave in here and there, a little Gilmore Girls tidbit there. A little addition-as-magic bullshit there. But I gave them up the night I was going to watch a major character die on a show that I loved. My gasp of indignation at the beginning of the episode gave it away to my boyfriend at the time. And I found that, when it happened, I didn’t feel quite as bad as I had been expecting. Oh, I was upset, but if I hadn’t known, I would’ve been devastated. I had cheated myself out of feeling bad, and I had ruined something for someone else. This couldn’t keep on the way it was.

So I stopped. I’m sure I slipped at some point, maybe two or three times, but that was the beginning of the end. And then it started getting worse. I didn’t want to know any movie news anymore. I stopped reading SuperHeroHype. I didn’t know who was cast in what. I was excited about things again, surprised, delighted, and totally freakin’ heartbroken (Doctor Who). I loved it. I stopped watching movie previews outside of the first, incredibly short teaser trailers and whatever I saw in the theaters, which was growing ever more rare as I started to develop some sort of dizziness thing that the doctors never did figure out. I didn’t have broadcast TV after 200–? Wait, when did they start showing The Tribe Series 4 in America? Because we got it again for that, then gave it up again when it turned out the season sucked. And then I never had it again, although for a year I lived with someone who did, but I mostly holed myself up in my room and watched The L Word on DVD. Until I needed my roomie’s On Demand to finish the series.

Then I met my husband, and he too lived a life without television. It’s beautiful, really. I live not only spoiler-free, but mostly sexism- and commercialism-free. I’ve taken to, when I’m somewhere where a TV is on, yelling at the commercials like someone’s weird grandfather. And I’ve become almost completely phobic about spoilers.

I have been putting off talking about A Song of Ice and Fire because I’m not 100% caught up yet, and well-meaning friends have said things like “Oh, —? You mean the one who becomes —?” and I’m like “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!” Sometimes, people get shirty about spoilers. “You know Rosebud is (that thing that Rosebud is), right?”

I have always gone back to tag the top of my entries with a spoiler warning, if necessary. Sometimes I give away the end of children’s books, but usually when I have a complaint, but if I knew little kids were reading my blog? I totally would not.

So this is me, afraid to talk about books because someone might spoil me, purposely or accidentally. And yet I still prefer to live this way, because I love being surprised by things: books, TV shows, movies. You can never get that feeling again. I mean, part of it was also Shakespeare in Love too, seeing the way the audience responded to seeing Romeo & Juliet for the first time, knowing that no modern person could ever feel that way, because the play has seeped so far into our popular culture that even small children know how it ends. When I was ten or eleven, years before I read the play, we were discussing it in music class before and after watching West Side Story. You can’t get away from it. There are a lot of things like that, especially with the internet being so much more popular now than it was when I was reading spoilers. But I try, and I’d like to think I succeed most of the time.

So I’m only about a third of the way through A Dance with Dragons. Don’t ruin it for me, okay? I’m excited to find out what happens.

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