In defense of spoilers

I love spoilers. Spoilers let me focus on the effectiveness of the storytelling. They don’t diminish my enjoyment of a movie/book/game/etc., they only enhance it.

Think of it like this: spoilers are infrastructure. For me, they’re the anchor points that bolt the narrative down in structurally sound places. From there, I get to watch how far out the plot cantilever itself from its anchor points. For example, here are some spoilers for Rogue One (effectively making the rest of this post unreadable for some percentage of our 10 daily readers):

  • “Yeah, of course they kill the black guy about halfway through the movie.”
  • “The boss bad guy just says ‘fuck it’ and blows up the base.”
  • “Everybody dies in the end.” *

Okay, so now we know plot points A, B, and C. But what about the connections between A, B, and C? What about the path from A to B to C? That’s where the story really happens, right? Spoilers can’t tell you how emotionally connected you might get to the characters. Someone telling you about a twist in the movie can’t fully convey the surprise that comes when the twist happens.**  See, that’s what I’m interesting in.  That’s why I love spoilers. They allow me to focus more on the humanity (and non-humanity) of the characters as their world around them changes and they change in response. For me, giving people spoilers is doing them a service–a humanitarian service.

* This is my favorite thing to say to people regardless of the movie, because, really, in the end, everybody dies.

** Sure, you’ll see all the hints for the twist coming (if hints were given, and, if the story is properly constructed, there better be hints), but now you’ll be able to bask in how well constructed a story is (or isn’t). You can truly judge how clever a twist is.***

*** So maybe you can see that I don’t equate “clever” to “surprising” and that I actually prefer “clever” over “surprising.”


  1. Luigus

    So your ideal ending is “clever yet inevitable,” instead of “surprising yet inevitable?” (That was one of them Greeks, right?)

    This reply does nothing to open up a dialogue; it’s a self-serving observation that reminds me of obvious quotes I took away from my Screenwriting class. Good for me.

    1. dasfuller (Post author)

      Hmmm…maybe “clever” *is* “surprising.” I don’t know. Clearly I didn’t think this through all the way. I was in such a rush to write tomorrow’s post, but wanted to add a quick paragraph about how I like spoilers…and then that evolved into something I thought I could make a whole different post about.

      Also, because you didn’t move to Baltimore, you completely missed the “dialogue” that’s been going on for the past six months about spoilers. This post was meant to shut down that dialogue. Because I’m always right.*

      * Except for last night when I insisted to our trivia team that Halley’s Comet’s orbit was 86 years long.


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