I Heart Spoilers

This is how I normally read a book: I start at page one, finish the first chapter, flip to the end of the book, read the last five pages and then return to chapter two.

When I watch TV shows, I sit through the pilots then zip online to Wikipedia to skim what happens next before I move on. When I watch movies at home, I pause after 15 minutes to look up the ending.

Yes, I am a compulsive — and unrepentant — spoiler.

(And it is prudent that here I warn you there are spoilers ahead for many, many pieces of pop culture.)

My friends are all baffled by my proclivities. How can I enjoy anything if I go out of my way to find out exactly what happens? There’s never any surprise or shock.

I knew that Tyler Durden wasn’t real, and I knew that Rosebud was the sled. I knew that Katniss chooses Peeta, and also that Prim, Finnick and pretty much everyone else dies. Hell, I even knew that Kylo Ren kills his father, Han Solo.

(I did not know at the time, though, that Snape kills Dumbledore. That was a surprise.)

But what I also know is that knowing all this does not diminish my enjoyment of any of these experiences whatsoever.

As they say, it’s the journey that matters, not the ending. Following the linear events of the story is all well and good, but I find the greatest joy in tracking how and why we get there.

You see, once you know that Tyler Durden isn’t real, watching the movie to see all the clues that were left for you all along becomes a distinct pleasure of its own. Knowing that Snape kills Dumbledore causes you to reevaluate both characters and their motivations. Your understanding of the story shifts and changes as you learn more about it; you can analyze as well as experience.

Historical fiction, after all, relies on your pre-knowledge of the story’s events to derive your pleasure — whether in its accuracies or deviations. No one watches The Tudors thinking that Henry VIII is going to settle down for good with Anne Boleyn, and that’s half the fun of it.

In short, the joy of spoilers is that it helps you appreciate the construction of the story just as much as, well, the actual story.

Paige’s Pick of the Week:

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Captain America: White

A beautiful, nostalgic five-issue mini-series that harkens back to the Jack Kirby days of America’s most patriotic super-hero as he struggles to accept the death of his sidekick, Bucky. The story sputters a little towards the end, but the melancholy, regretful Steve Rogers shown here is one you don’t see too often in modern Marvel comics. (marvel.com)