Monday, July 23, 2007

No spoilers allowed

Last week our local newspaper vowed not to print any Harry Potter spoilers, but I notice they have since rescinded on that promise. Big spoiler alerts covered the front page of the Sunday book section, although to give them credit they did print the spoiler article upside down, making it more difficult to inadvertently discover something you would rather not know just yet.

Because I like the anticipation. And I don't peek at my Christmas presents either.

Not like my mother-in-law.

We have had to adopt a just-in-time shipment policy when sending her gifts, because she will rip them open the second they fall in to her hands. And then, when we call her on her birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, Easter (insert other appropriate gifting occasions here) she will be all depressed because she has no gifts to open that day.

She is the exact opposite of my mother, who will not even unpack the lovingly wrapped parcels from the big ugly Canada Post box, but instead will display that proudly until forced to open her gifts. I can hardly wait to drive Eva's future mate nuts when I get old(er) and crotchety(er).

I remember the first Christmas I spent with Jerry's family. I watched in stunned disbelief as everybody tore into that pile of presents like a pack of starving wolves, ripping and tearing and shredding with abandon. I sat there in amazement, my first present still only partially opened on my lap. In our family, we had always been leisurely about our gift opening, one person at a time unwrapping a gift, while the others make appropriate noises of approval.

And then Jerry's mom piped in with a complaint: "What is this? What am I supposed to do with this?", and held up something that clearly was not intended for a 75-year-old woman. I was sitting next to her and was the only person who could hear her over the snarling of the pack, so I asked her who it was from. "I don't know, I can't read this" was her peeved response. So I took the decimated box out of her hands and peered at the partially ripped tag hanging off it.

It read "TO BARB".

I have two questions for you today:
Do you read spoilers?
Do you peak at your presents?


justacoolcat said...


Your family sounds more like mine and the outlaws. We all take turns and which allows for the proper "ooohhh ahhhhs" and thanking.

I could use the change of pace and chaos your outlaws provide. I swear sometimes when we finish it's almost time to start xmas shopping again.

Gotta fly, it's my turn.

John Mutford said...

I'll read a spoiler if it's in the context of a review. No, I'm not into reading the last page first or anything, but otherwise small spoilers don't bother me. Besides, usually I've found reviewers have been pretty polite and careful about it.

Will said...

I hate spoilers. I can be very into our fast paced digital culture. But my instant gratification stops at denying myself the pleasure of something because I'm impatient. I don't like listening to leaked albums and I certainly hate learning the resolution of some storyline before I've reached it myself. When endings or plot twists have been revealed to me, I can still enjoy something on an artistic label, but the beauty of surprise has disappeared. I've always loved plot twists and always trusted writers when they've chosen to kill characters ... I just want the complete experience.

Evelyne said...

I try not to read spoilers, sometimes it's hard but when the story is really good, I'll just try to read even more to avoid spoilers.

And we're more like your family for presents, we all take turns and comment on the present, so it takes a lot of time to open them, but it's the fun part.

mellowlee said...

LOL! I don't read spoilers, they really piss me off, but I have peaked at a present or two! I think my family is somewhere in between yours and Jerry's :O)

PS I am quite happy to report that I managed to read the entire book without anyone ruining it for me YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

Beth said...

Isn't it funny how different each family is when it comes to giving and opening presents?

I hate spoilers ... but there's some evilness deep inside me that will occasional peek. Yes, I'm an Impatient.

Beth said...

p.s. I tagged you.

JustRun said...

Ha! Nice! We have always been the leaisurely gift openers, as well. Especially my mother. We could start Christmas morning at 7:00 a.m. and by 10:30 she is still working on hers.

I don't read spoilers and haven't peeked at a gift since gradeschool. I've learned to appreciate surprises- I guess we get fewer as we get old(er), I don't want to waste them.

Danny Tagalog said...

We were disucssing this in class - spoilers - I would do it. But not for anything I *really* wanted to read

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Whoa, what's the rush there, Just A? The others haven't finished admiring your dad's new tie yet. I like to believe that somewhere in the world, there's a family that strikes a happy medium. Someday I hope to meet this legendary family.

Little spoilers are okay with me, John, in fact sometimes they add to the experience, but if it's something that I am really looking forward to reading, I can't take any chances.

And that's what it boils down to, Will - being deprived of the full experience. And learning the plot twists does reduce the impact of the writing itself, not just the surprise.

I guess that's one of the reasons that the diehard HP fans all had the book finished within a day or two, Evelyne, to avoid being told spoilers. I'd prefer to take my time reading it, so that I can digest it as I go along (sort of like opening presents).

You have one of those middle-ground families that the legends speak of, Mel! You are one of the chosen!
And well done getting the book finished, unsullied!

You are only hurting yourself, Beth. But admitting it is the first step.
Oooooh, I am excited about the tagation and am heading over to your place!

7:00-10:30 - that's stretching things out a wee bit long, Justrun. I guess that's why we put Baileys in our coffee on Christmas mornings.
And you're right, we DO get fewer surprises as we get older, and the lean more and more to the nasty ones.

If I'm not certain I will read the book, I'll read a spoiler too, Danny. But if it's something I am really looking forward to enjoying the whole experience of reading, I will stay clear. And it's hard for me not to read the whole newspaper!

phlegmfatale said...

I do read spoilers but I don't steal glimpses of gifties. I WILL open something early if the giver wants me too, or simply doesn't care, but I will respect the wishes of the person who gave me the gift.

My family, pretty much everyone sits and watches each individual open their stuff - it's more a group-fun thing that way, in my opinion.

Now, if you'd just jumped in there and grabbed your gift away from her granny clutches, no one woulda noticed. Mania!

mellowlee said...

I just caught my type-o haha "peaked" *giggling* So have you finished the book? :O)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I do enjoy watching people open their presents, PF, that's why I am more a fan of the slow and painful methid. But yeah, I shoulda grabbed my gift right back. I did get it back eventually.

I haven't even started the book yet, Mel! I'm still waiting for my turn.

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