I’m that friend everyone hates; the one who bursts out the ending of a long-awaited movie, or accidentally reveals a crucial plot point from a new book.
I don’t do this on purpose. It’s more like someone goes, “Have you read Half-Blood Prince yet?” and I respond, “OMG yes! I can’t believe Snape killed Dumbledore!”
It’s really not my fault – you can see from the exchange that it’s not clear that the person has not read the book yet. In fact, I would argue that it’s reasonable to assume they have read it, otherwise why would they ask? To see if it’s good? If you’ve gotten that far in Harry Potter, I would think you’re pretty committed to the series.
Clearly, therefore, I am blameless. But if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably already know this about me – pretty much every review I post has a decent chunk of spoilers, which I indicate for the unsuspecting reader’s convenience.
The thing about spoilers is: they don’t bother me. Yes, they make a joke less funny, or a death less sad (which actually is okay by me, I don’t like being sad). But when it comes to media consumption, I believe it’s all about the destination, not the journey.
Case in point: I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie, who is also called the Queen of Crime. This woman is a genius. No one can hold a candle to her, and I love me a good murder mystery.
(Side note: Has anyone here ever seen “Columbo?” Because O. M. G.)
Back on topic. Hercule Poirot is the best character in English canon, and Ariadne Oliver is ultimate self-insert parody character.
As a result of my undying passion for Christie and her writing, I have read her books repeatedly. They’ve already been spoiled: I know who was murdered, how, and by whom. But what I don’t remember is why it happened and how Poirot and/or Miss Marple figured it out.
(Yes, I have read other non-Poirot, non-Miss Marple Christie stories. They’re great too, but Poirot and Marple are gems without which the stories lack that certain je ne sais quoi.)
That’s the beauty of Christie’s writing. Watching the detective put the pieces together, watching the characters knowingly and unknowingly reveal the psychological intricacies that will inevitably lead to Poirot crying out, “Ah, but I have been such an imbecile!,” or Miss Marple launching into a parallel story based in St. Mary Mead. That moment, when you’re scrambling to catch up to their deduction, wracking your brain for that elusive clue that’s just blown the case wide open, and then sitting through the dramatic reveal. Even if you know who did it, the drama of the moment, the intersecting narratives, the details that were irrelevant and distracting, the ones that were crucial and revealing. Some of these details I remember. Some of them I begin to recall as the story moves along. Some I don’t remember at all. Some I discover with the second, third, and fourth read.
It’s an experience that’s never spoiled. Maybe it’s less dramatic, less tense, but it is no less exquisite for having been lived before.
So to all the friends I’ve spoiled over the years, sorry. Maybe lead with the fact that you haven’t read the book yet. Geez.